Author:

REVIEW: STRANGERS – ROB TAYLOR (BIBLIOASIS)

REVIEW: STRANGERS – ROB TAYLOR (BIBLIOASIS)

Even if it can be painful, love will not settle down into abstraction. It reaches its fingers into the world, pinches and pulls.

POETRY IN CINEMA: YOU DESERVE MUCH BETTER IN YOUR LIFE

POETRY IN CINEMA: YOU DESERVE MUCH BETTER IN YOUR LIFE

Animal ‘imprinting’ is hard wired, mechanical almost, just like Lorenz’s ducks, humans attach to anything in that critical period of childhood– whatever its shortcomings. 

REVIEW: WISCONSIN DEATH TRIP – JESSIE LYNN McMAINS (BONE & INK PRESS)

REVIEW: WISCONSIN DEATH TRIP – JESSIE LYNN McMAINS (BONE & INK PRESS)

They are unafraid to show the awfulness and bitterness, old beliefs and traditions, terrible acts inflicted by the people who inhabit the snowy state.

POETRY IN CINEMA: WE DON’T TRUST THE NATURE INSIDE US

POETRY IN CINEMA: WE DON’T TRUST THE NATURE INSIDE US

Spoken over the shots of a child spilling milk and a mother in tears, the poem reminds that we are made by moments that can not be undone. 

REVIEW: IF YOU DISCOVER A FIRE — SHAUN ROBINSON (BRICK BOOKS)

REVIEW: IF YOU DISCOVER A FIRE — SHAUN ROBINSON (BRICK BOOKS)

You start in one place—a forest on fire, a restaurant where you’re stacking individual creamers into a tower, falling in love wearing colorful pants—and by the end, you realize you’ve run into yourself.

REVIEW: RUSTED BELLS AND DAISY BASKETS – ANDREA PANZECA (FINISHING LINE PRESS)

REVIEW: RUSTED BELLS AND DAISY BASKETS – ANDREA PANZECA (FINISHING LINE PRESS)

… she shows the grittiness of her fighter self in her dreams, while simultaneously rejecting the idea of men as saviors.

REVIEW: THE TALES OF FLAXIE CHAR – ELIZABETH HORNER TURNER (DANCING GIRL PRESS)

REVIEW: THE TALES OF FLAXIE CHAR – ELIZABETH HORNER TURNER (DANCING GIRL PRESS)

“…explores the line between the fantastical and insanity in a woman pushed to the brink by tragedy…”

WOMEN WRITERS OVER 30: REVIEW: LARARIUM – RAY BALL (VARIANT LIT)

WOMEN WRITERS OVER 30: REVIEW: LARARIUM – RAY BALL (VARIANT LIT)

She says “snakes always my company” and just like Medusa she apparently has the power to elicit stoicism in her father. In this way, she is taking some of the power back from her father in their difficult relationship. However, also just like Medusa she is mortal, as seen in the line “cannot shed their skins.” 

WOMEN WRITERS OVER 30: TUNED: SELECTED POEMS – KYLA HOUBOLT (CCCP CHAPBOOKS) – NATALIE MARINO

WOMEN WRITERS OVER 30: TUNED: SELECTED POEMS – KYLA HOUBOLT (CCCP CHAPBOOKS)

“Ms. Houbolt’s solution to the horror of likely permanent and ever increasing climate change that is necessarily affecting us all, involves the continuing reverence for nature and not throwing away what we all desperately need.”

WOMEN WRITERS OVER 30: SARA LUPITA OLIVARES – NATALIE MARINO

WOMEN WRITERS OVER 30: SARA LUPITA OLIVARES – NATALIE MARINO

“…adapting to lives of constant movement and living between space and “unspace” has led to centuries of generational trauma.”

REVIEW: THE BOWER – CONNIE VOISINE (UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS)

REVIEW: THE BOWER – CONNIE VOISINE (UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS)
The daughter’s eyes are a wonderful vehicle fully exploited by the poet yet never to the point of exhaustion. That childish brio drinks in the wonders of flags and drums and studiously ignores the bottle of urine at a sectarian march.

REVIEW: INDIGENOUS – JENNIFER REESER (ABLE MUSE PRESS)

REVIEW: INDIGENOUS – JENNIFER REESER (ABLE MUSE PRESS)

In this work full of masterful lyricism, you will find a history once hidden, a story passed from one generation to the next, and traditions held in the hearts of Indigenous peoples.

REVIEW: THE RITUALS OF MUMMIFICATION – JOSEPH D. REICH (SAGGING MENISCUS PRESS)

REVIEW: THE RITUALS OF MUMMIFICATION – JOSEPH D. REICH (SAGGING MENISCUS PRESS)

Each piece almost feels a ritual, setting you firm in the notion that you are not alone in your experience, or your discontent.

REVIEW: BECOMING THE BRONZE IDOL – RITA MOOKERJEE (BONE & INK PRESS)

REVIEW: BECOMING THE BRONZE IDOL – RITA MOOKERJEE (BONE & INK PRESS)

This collection helps readjust the way we look at our world and showing that the first step in fixing something broken is to recognize that it needs to be fixed in the first place.

REVIEW: A LIVE THING, CLINGING WITH MANY TEETH – KOLLEEN CARNEY HOEPFNER (SPOOKY GIRLFRIEND PRESS)

REVIEW: A LIVE THING, CLINGING WITH MANY TEETH – KOLLEEN CARNEY HOEPFNER (SPOOKY GIRLFRIEND PRESS)

We’re shown a woman who has to come to terms with pain and discomfort being her new reality. And then the idea of change is more frightening than her continued torture.

REVIEW: INEVITABLE IGNITION – KAYT CHRISTENSEN (WIDE EYES PUBLISHING)

Reading each section becomes the experience of the burning fire; it builds and burns and, even as it goes out, smolders and lingers long after it’s gone. 

REVIEW: CALF CANYON – SARAH McCARTT-JACKSON (BRAIN MILL PRESS)

Trying to get away is understandable–hell, it’s even appealing to a certain degree–and it’s here that we can discover what’s so intriguing about McCartt-Jackson’s collection: your history doesn’t allow you to hide from it.

REVIEW: CHOSEN COMPANIONS OF THE GOBLIN – KATHRYN SMITH (OPEN COUNTRY PRESS)

from how people viewed them to how they viewed themselves, we’re given an intimate look at their effects on the world.

REVIEW: MADE AND UNMADE – EMILY PEREZ (MADHOUSE PRESS)

This collection is about taking stock of your life and how things have changed or remained the same. It is a look at how your perspective shifts over time and people inevitably view you differently as your circumstances transform.

REVIEW: ONE THING – THEN ANOTHER – CLAIRE KELLY (ECW PRESS)

Her work explores the sheer vastness of the Canadian landscape with a personal lens; experiences we cannot share are made beautiful and engaging.

Review: An Offering, Stewart Sanderson, Tapsalteerie Publishing House

Review: An Offering – Stewart Sanderson (Tapsalteerie Publishing House)

A small, majestic journey is what comes to mind while reading An Offering; the kind you take close to home in the fresh damp of morning’s first light.

Review: 99 Names of Exile, Kaveh Bassiri (Newfound Poetry)

Review: 99 Names of Exile, Kaveh Bassiri (Newfound Poetry)

This is a work of tender vulnerability, offering a glimpse of deeply personal stories through the abstraction of metaphor.

REVIEW: BULL – JAMES ROOME (RED CEILING PRESS)

Though a quick read, it’s unique and candid look at this relationship offers quippy anecdotes and humor.

REVIEW: EVE AND ALL THE WRONG MEN – AVIYA KUSHNER (DANCING GIRL PRESS)

REVIEW: EVE AND ALL THE WRONG MEN – AVIYA KUSHNER (DANCING GIRL PRESS)

Religions converse along with the characters as works of art come alive, translated into the text by the viewer’s keen eye.

REVIEW: UPTALK – KIMMY WALTERS (BOTTLECAP PRESS)

REVIEW: UPTALK – KIMMY WALTERS (BOTTLECAP PRESS)

The poems are pacy, well-timed vignettes where the protagonist tries to bottle steam from the shower to throw at a lover…

REVIEW: CROWD SURFING WITH GOD BY ADRIENNE NOVY (HALF MYSTIC PRESS)

But when someone nails it you can feel that sweet spot where they’ve balanced the raw emotion and nostalgia. Adrienne Novy hits this balance in Crowd Surfing with God.

REVIEW: LAST STOP TO SASKATOON – TONY NESCA (SCREAMING SKULL PRESS)

Review: Last Stop to Saskatoon, Tony Nesca (Screaming Skull Press):

It’s a world apart – both past and present, angry and sardonic; laughing to keep from crying.

REVIEW: FLOWERS I SHOULD HAVE THROWN AWAY YESTERDAY BY ELISA MATVEJEVA (MAIDA VALE PUBLISHING)

Matvejeva writes this rise and fall of love with stark honesty, making it hard to look away from. It’s arresting and engaging and makes the reader yearn to find a connection of their own that elicits such a strong and introspective emotions.

REVIEW: WHEN WE WERE FEARSOME BY JOANNA PENN COOPER

REVIEW: WHEN WE WERE FEARSOME BY JOANNA PENN COOPER

I generally have a pretty good idea what the point of living is—at least for myself—but there are these times when nothing seems to add up and I’m simply adrift in the sea of existence.

REVIEW: 10 POEMS ABOUT BEES (CANDLESTICK PRESS)

The poems here are grounded and quaint. They’re not necessarily trying to say anything larger than themselves, and that’s why I enjoyed them so much.

REVIEW: AMUSE GIRL – HANNAH RAYMOND-COX (BURNING EYE BOOKS)

REVIEW: AMUSE GIRL – HANNAH RAYMOND-COX (BURNING EYE BOOKS)

The reader finds themself met with images of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and cobblestone streets, sex scenes and outbreaks of disease.

REVIEW: EVERY BIRD IS A MIRACLE – TARA ROEDER & ARMAN SAFA (NEW MICHIGAN PRESS)

…an ode to the complexity of relationships and how often we may be hiding in order to sustain someone else

REVIEW: FORGET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME – JESSIE LYNN McMAINS (BONE AND INK PRESS)

If you want a quick dive into our collective punk-rock past, these poems will transport you back to being 15 again; old enough to sneak into the bar from backstage but young enough to still covet the drummer

REVIEW: SKELETON PARADE – MELA BLUST (APEP PUBLICATIONS)

Because of this she believes pain accrued is simply part of life and develops a calloused outlook on love and sex.

REVIEW: IF THE GIRL NEVER LEARNS – SUE WILLIAM SILVERMAN (BRICK MANTEL BOOKS)

While the poems can at times express hopelessness, rage and what feels like a long held grudge, there is a resilience in these words that very much feels like a reclamation of power – a reversal of every wrong done.

REVIEW: MOTHER MAY I? – JULIETTE van der MOLEN (ANIMAL HEART PRESS)

[This] is a haunting and eye opening collection which recounts heartbreaking personal experiences being both mother and mothered

REVIEW: THE PROTECTION OF GHOSTS – NATALIE LINH BOLDERSTON (V. PRESS)

These poems take the reader through generations and geographies a lens that feels deeply personal; the reader becomes a fly on the walls as these families are presented and personified. 

REVIEW: RADIANT SOULS – LENEE H. (SELF-PUBLISHED)

This is the poet, reflecting inwardly, recalling moments when ‘the sad trickles in like morning rays’ with the empowering and uplifting revelation: ’you can rise to face it’.

REVIEW: AND AFTER ALL – RHINA ESPAILLAT (ABLE MUSE PRESS)

And after All tackles the passage of time with snapshots of life that has me searching through my own for moments and memories that speak as musically as her words do. And as a fellow Latina poet, she’s an inspiration worth reading again.

REVIEW: BLACK JAM – MATTHEW HAIGH (BROKEN SLEEP BOOKS

breathtaking flights of fancy that will give you the bends before undercutting these mercurial moments with a healthy dose of dark humour. These balloons have anchors.

REVIEW: CARNIVOROUS – MOYRA DONALDSON (DOIRE PRESS)

She becomes the alpha and the omega, earth and firmament as we become willing travellers on her journey through the hills of Ireland and the drumlins of memory

REVIEW: BITE ME!: MUSINGS ON MONSTER AND MAYHEM – JOE ROSENBLATT (THE PORCUPINE’S QUILL)

Monsters are truly everywhere. Usually, though, they look just like us.

REVIEW: THE SAINT OF MILK AND FLAMES – KATE GARRETT (RHYTHM AND BONES PRESS)

Some ask us how many beats our hearts have left. Others just cut to the core of all our fears, to the ‘kelp-nest of wires’ as her fifth born slumbers ‘tiny and certain’

REVIEW: CHOKING BACK THE DEVIL – DONNA LYNCH (RAW DOG SCREAMING PRESS)

We can certainly watch The Shining as a movie about ghost leading a man down a path of madness, but isn’t it scarier to think the ghosts are figments of his imagination, and his madness’ provenance is in the anger he ignores and represses?

REVIEW: LADY SATURN – WANDA DEGLANE (RHYTHM & BONES)

Deglane successfully submerges us into the mind of a person troubled by depression, anxiety, trauma, and a Lexapro-fogged brain with an overarching story of hope.

REVIEW: BAD MOMMY STAY MOMMY – ELISABETH HORAN (FLY ON THE WALL PRESS)

“Postpartum depression is still surrounded by stigma and shame is often directed at mothers. Horan does not shy away from sharing this darker side of motherhood…”

REVIEW: NIGHT BECAME YEARS – JASON STEFANIK (COACH HOUSE BOOKS)

I kept thinking to myself about the idea that nature is—and will always be—in charge, and we’re destined to bend to its will

REVIEW: SURVIVE LIKE THE WATER – LYD HAVENS (RISING PHOENIX REVIEW)

Havens has a savage wit and open wound for you to see on every page. Their lyricism surpassed only by the abundant imagery, you can almost feel the poems being written for YOU.

REVIEW: EMMA – GABRIEL OLADIPO (GHOST CITY PRESS)

She’s taking understated moments from life and creating fantastic poems around them, bring a whole new meaning to day-to-day moments.

REVIEW: THIS IS WHERE I GET OFF – KIRBY (PERMANENT SLEEP PRESS)

Kirby’s poem had to be read twice and three times and more because it grips you by the throat and doesn’t let go.

REVIEW: I GAVE BIRTH TO ALL THE GHOSTS HERE – LYD HAVENS (NOSTROVIA! PRESS)

Reading Lyd Haven’s work makes me want them to win. Makes my real world seem to fade away, replaced with someone I want to see succeed despite and because of their troubles.

REVIEW: WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME IF I LOVE HER? – ELFIE (ELFIE IN BLOOM)

Elfie gives us a look at the daily struggle that can be experienced when fighting against these natures, and in the end, shows us the relief that comes with the recognition of our own personal truths.

REVIEW: WE, YOUNG OLD ONES – DOMINIK PARISIEN (FROG HOLLOW PRESS)

Dominik Parisien’s poems embody chronic pain, elevating the traumas, and illuminating the act of breathing being the most essential part of living. He uses body parts, the act of breathing, religion, and science, to illustrate the struggle and the pain that the poetic voice endures.

REVIEW: MOON CRUMBS – SHEILA DONG (BOTTLECAP PRESS)

Alongside beautiful imagery there is stark loneliness, the desire to curl up apart from what we might naturally think of home, a metaphor perhaps for the isolation death might bring, or the boundaries that come with having an earthly body.

REVIEW: THESE ARE NOT THE POTATOES OF MY YOUTH – MATTHEW WALSH (GOOSE LANE)

Written masterfully, in prose form, quotations italicized, Walsh’s stories embed the past and the present, while questioning religion and the hetero-normative masculinity.

REVIEW: Q&A – ADRIENNE GRUBER (BOOK*HUG PRESS)

These poems are moving, beautifully written, and fascinating, elaborating on the fears, the excitement, the trauma of pregnancy, and anything in between from the labor, and the everlasting relationship between Gruber and her daughter, Quintana.

“POETRY SPEAKS FOR ITSELF (EXCEPT IT CAN’T ACTUALLY SPEAK AT ALL)” – TAYLOR MALI

Poetry Speaks For Itself (except it can’t actually speak at all) —- Taylor Mali Deconstructing the difference between the message and the messenger. I sat on a panel at the Brooklyn Book Festival recently called something like Poetry in Performance. Four poets were asked to perform a poem and then

POWER OF POETRY #1: I’m Uncomfortable Too. – by Wil Gibson

  The first time I remember hearing the word “poetry” it came from a family member who was making fun of poets. How dumb they were for thinking their words mattered. How silly they talked. How lazy they must be to just sit around and write all day. “Why the

What Really Happens When Page Meets Stage? – Taylor Mali

Eight years ago, in November of 2005, I shared the stage at the old Bowery Poetry Club with my mentor Billy Collins. Because of Billy’s busy schedule, the event had been scheduled well over 18 months in advance during which time Bob Holman, the owner of the club, suggested that

POWER OF POETRY #1: THE REAL POETRY QUESTION – TAYLOR MALI

As my first contribution to this blog, I thought I should aim high and try to answer the biggest poetry question of all: What exactly is poetry? Haven’t people been asking that question and answering it—or trying to—for thousands of years? For as long as there has been poetry? Of