Author: Ronnie K. Stephens

Ronnie K. Stephens is a full-time English teacher and the father of identical twins. His poems often explore vulnerability in its many facets. His first collection, Universe in the Key of Matryoshka, was published by Timber Mouse Publishing in 2014. Individual poems have previously appeared in Rattle, Paper Darts, Weave Magazine, DASH, and PANK, among others. http://www.ronniekstephens.com

REVIEW: POSTCOLONIAL LOVE POEM – NATALIE DIAZ (GRAYWOLF PRESS)

REVIEW: POSTCOLONIAL LOVE POEM – NATALIE DIAZ (GRAYWOLF PRESS)

I have never encountered a writer more capable of balancing softness and strength. These poems are quiet and technical and precise, yet the speaker never feels weak or timid. Rather, there is an everpresent sense that the rage lingering just beneath the lines may bare its teeth.

REVIEW: HOMIE – DANEZ SMITH (GRAYWOLF PRESS)

REVIEW: HOMIE – DANEZ SMITH (GRAYWOLF PRESS)

These poems are beautiful and messy and surprising and honest; they are everything a storied friendship is.

REVIEW: BOAT BURNED – KELLY GRACE THOMAS (YESYES BOOKS)

REVIEW: BOAT BURNED – KELLY GRACE THOMAS (YESYES BOOKS)
I found myself walking away from it often, not out of discontent but out of a need to process the full brunt of the emotions laid bare by the author.

REVIEW: A CHOIR OF HONEST KILLERS – BUDDY WAKEFIELD (WRITE BLOODY PUBLISHING)

It is not just a book of confessions, but of acceptance that we can be beautiful and flawed and problematic and good, that the only thing we ought to require of ourselves is the permission to be fully human. Buddy no longer apologizes for fucking things up.

REVIEW: I SHIMMER SOMETIMES, TOO – PORSHA OLAYIWOLA (BUTTON POETRY)

These poems make clear that Olayiwola, current poet laureate of Boston, is just beginning what is sure to be a long and much-lauded tenure in American poetics.

#TPQ5: RONNIE K. STEPHENS

#TPQ5: RONNIE K. STEPHENS

What will Ronnie K. Stephens, a poet, novelist, and essayist with five kids and a pregnant wife, include in today’s #TPQ5? FInd out inside!

REVIEW: ODES TO LITHIUM – SHIRA ERLICHMAN (ALICE JAMES BOOKS)

This book is, quite simply, indispensable. My only lament is that it does not fit in my pocket, as it is the kind of collection one wishes to have with them at all times, the sort that reminds one how to live with equal parts grief and grace.

REVIEW: HELP IN THE DARK SEASON – JACQUELINE SUSKIN (WRITE BLOODY PUBLISHING)

he visceral memories echo Sharon Olds and Rachel McKibbens, taking on a confessional style that does not flinch at trauma but also makes space for complexity of loving one’s parents even as abuse continues.

REVIEW: SPACE STRUCK – PAIGE LEWIS (SARABANDE BOOKS)

REVIEW – SPACE STRUCK BY PAIGE LEWIS (SARABANDE BOOKS)
In a year of absolutely gorgeous verse, Paige Lewis sets themselves apart, at once informed by the masters of craft and entirely unique in their own right. This is a collection you won’t want to miss.

REVIEW: CAN I KICK IT? – IDRIS GOODWIN (HAYMARKET BOOKS)

REVIEW: CAN I KICK IT? – IDRIS GOODWIN (HAYMARKET BOOKS): The lines are sometimes swift, sometimes heavy, but there is always a discernible rhythm which propels the reader forward with deliberate, measured pace.

REVIEW – THE BOY IN THE LABYRINTH BY OLIVER DE LA PAZ (UNIVERSITY OF AKRON PRESS)

The writing is as vulnerable as it is nuanced, as arresting as it is confounding. Oliver de la Paz is not afraid to leave the reader reaching for meaning, in effect mimicking the very experiences that compelled the allegory in the first place.

REVIEW: A FORTUNE FOR YOUR DISASTER – HANIF ABDURRAQIB (TIN HOUSE BOOKS)

these poems are tender and honest and complex. The speaker turns a critical gaze on himself often, acknowledging his part in the distance that grew between himself and his lover.

REVIEW: SOFT SCIENCE – FRANNY CHOI (ALICE JAMES BOOKS)

Through poems predicated on the Turing Test structure, Choi introduces the reader to questions that test not just whether or not the respondent is sentient, but also seek to undermine the humanity of specific identities in daily life.

REVIEW: A CONSTELLATION OF HALF-LIVES – SEEMA REZA (WRITE BLOODY PUBLISHING)

In short, this book is a microcosm of identity politics, giving faces and names to those who must learn how to exist in various spaces simultaneously.

REVIEW: DEAF REPUBLIC – ILYA KAMINSKY (GRAYWOLF PRESS)

One thing that distinguishes Kaminsky from many poets writing in English is that his poems are never just rage, never just fear, never just joy or whimsy or lust. Instead, Kaminsky’s lines are fraught with the full, messy truth of humanity.