Last week, I had the privilege of interviewing Canadian poet Leah Horlick for my Fool’s Journey tarot column on Autostraddle.
Leah’s book of poems, For Your Own Good, tells the story of an abusive relationship between two queer women. As the victim and survivor of emotional, physical and sexual violence from an intimate partner, Leah’s narrator uses tarot cards to explore what’s going on during and after some of the most traumatic experiences of her life. In certain poems, the symbolism of tarot is used to describe feelings of betrayal, pain, freedom, the way the memory of the pain can linger, and tarot cards appear physically in these poems, too.
It’s heartbreaking, powerful, and a difficult read but, like so many tarot stories, it ends on note of transformation and liberation.
In the canon of contemporary feminist and lesbian poetry, For Your Own Good breaks silence. A fictionalized autobiography, the poems in this collection illustrate the narrator’s survival of a domestic and sexual violence in a lesbian relationship. There is magic in this work: the symbolism of the Tarot and the roots of Jewish heritage, but also the magic that is at the heart of transformation and survival.
After reading For Your Own Good, Leah and I discussed some of the appearances of specific tarot cards in her poems. It’s a fascinating interview, whether you’re into poetry, tarot or both.