Category: BOOK REVIEWS

REVIEW: LOOK LOOK LOOK – CALLISTA BUCHEN (BLACK LAWRENCE PRESS)

REVIEW: LOOK LOOK LOOK – CALLISTA BUCHEN (BLACK LAWRENCE PRESS)

There’s a sense of absence in this first section as the mother’s body becomes a singular state once again, but there’s also a slip from autonomy.

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.

REVIEW: SELF-PORTRAIT AS A SINKING SHIP – ERICA ABBOTT (TOHO PUBLISHING)

REVIEW: SELF-PORTRAIT AS A SINKING SHIP – ERICA ABBOTT (TOHO PUBLISHING)

At times, certain stanzas feel like diary entries not meant for us to read– intimate glimpses into tormenting experiences: the illness of a parent, the paralysis of true friendship, the lure of self-harm, the temptation of suicide. –

#TPQ5: JADE HURTER

#TPQ5: JADE HURTER
What will Jade Hurter include in today’s #TPQ5? Find out inside!

REVIEW: WORN – ADRIENNE CHRISTIAN (SANTA FE WRITERS PROJECT)

Review of Worn by Adrienne Christian (Santa Fe Writers Project, 2020)

And when she writes of family, it’s of more exclusion – the striking disconnect from those with whom we are supposed to be connected.

REVIEW: YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE A FRIEND – ASHLEY ELIZABETH (NIGHTINGALE & SPARROW PRESS)

REVIEW: YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE A FRIEND – ASHLEY ELIZABETH (NIGHTINGALE & SPARROW PRESS)

…Dear John letter, ending with the words, “you are hurting me. i am letting you. i do not want to.” There it is, cut and dry: a breakup. Except it’s not.

“AN EXERCISE IN LEARNING TO SURRENDER.” TALK TO ME: JONATHAN KOVEN

“AN EXERCISE IN LEARNING TO SURRENDER.” TALK TO ME: JONATHAN KOVEN

I think there’s a level of trusting that people will empathize with my story, and if not my story, then the music of my words.

WORKING ANIMALS – LIAM BATES (BROKEN SLEEP BOOKS)

WORKING ANIMALS – LIAM BATES (BROKEN SLEEP BOOKS)

After reading this body of work, I discuss its topics and subject matter with a respect that I did not expect to have when starting it.

REVIEW: THE SAMURAI – LINDA M. CRATE (YELLOW ARROW PUBLISHING)

REVIEW: THE SAMURAI – LINDA M. CRATE (YELLOW ARROW PUBLISHING)

Or perhaps she felt this unfamiliarity with her body all along and only made sense of the reason why after her discovery of the reincarnation. – Robin D. Hendricks

REVIEW: I’LL FLY AWAY – RUDY FRANCISCO (BUTTON POETRY)

REVIEW: I’LL FLY AWAY – RUDY FRANCISCO (BUTTON POETRY)

What Rudy Francisco has done in I’ll Fly Away (Button Poetry) is to build a language where one did not exist. Place letters in front of letters to create new emotions, new meanings. It’s guterall. These are new words needed in these new times to help somehow coalesce these ancient feelings.

REVIEW: SENTIMENTAL VIOLENCE — GABRIELLE HOGAN (GHOST CITY PRESS)

REVIEW: SENTIMENTAL VIOLENCE — GABRIELLE HOGAN (GHOST CITY PRESS)

As we all know, though, joy does not exist without violence — not for Tonya, and not for any of us.

YELLOW JOURNALISM: THANK YOU FOR THE CONTENT – REGGIE JOHNSON (RAD PRESS BOOKS)

YELLOW JOURNALISM: THANK YOU FOR THE CONTENT – REGGIE JOHNSON (RAD PRESS BOOKS)

One of my favorite wordplay moments, in this collection, can be seen in the confidence exuded in lines like “Reciprocation at its simplicity, You was the one taking shots, And now you stay missing me” (I Love Me).

REVIEW: GHOST FACE – GREG SANTOS (DC BOOKS)

REVIEW: GHOST FACE – GREG SANTOS (DC BOOKS)
But if who we are is a combination of our past and present, environmental and biological, how can we really know ourselves if we don’t look?

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: MOTH FUNERALS – GAIA RAJAN (GLASS POETRY PRESS)

REVIEW: MOTH FUNERALS – GAIA RAJAN (GLASS POETRY PRESS)

It’s innocence in a sense because while we all have to grow up, but it’s still okay and sad and happy and other adjectives. But to be Blackbird, or a lonely doll in a fancy dollhouse, or be “ball-gowned, butcher knifed” would be a story to be told.

REVIEW: LATE SUMMER FLOWERS – JULIAN DAY (ANSTRUTHER PRESS)

REVIEW: LATE SUMMER FLOWERS – JULIAN DAY (ANSTRUTHER PRESS)

Yes, it really is just a ravine, but Day shares the significance of the place, the things that happened there. Place of sport and suicide. Place of celebration.

REVIEW: FOEVERHAUS – KAILEY TEDESCO (WHITE STAG PUBLISHING)

REVIEW: FOEVERHAUS – KAILEY TEDESCO (WHITE STAG PUBLISHING) – review by Kristin Garth

There is a candy-coated communion of saints inside these poems that encapsulates the terror of treats of childhood.  A “peppermint Jesus” and “cinnamon virgin” cohabitate in these pages with the Bloody Mary.

REVIEW: WOUND FROM THE MOUTH OF A WOUND – TORRIN A. GREATHOUSE (MILKWEED EDITIONS)

REVIEW: WOUND FROM THE MOUTH OF A WOUND – TORRIN A. GREATHOUSE (MILKWEED EDITIONS)

it is of value, why try to fix the other parts, “…make them/more normal”? Would it be better to embrace the body in its natural state? – Martha Warren

REVIEW: IMPERMANENCE – COLIN BANCROFT (MAYTREE PRESS)

REVIEW: IMPERMANENCE – COLIN BANCROFT (MAYTREE PRESS)

When relationships end, or flowers wither, or family passes away, we hold onto whatever we feel will give us some type of permanence, but in the end, no matter how hard we try, everything dies. Everything ends. But if we accept the beauty of the process, we can carry each moment with us until we ourselves are no more.

REVIEW: WAYS WE VANISH – TODD DILLARD (OKAY DONKEY PRESS)

REVIEW: WAYS WE VANISH – TODD DILLARD (OKAY DONKEY PRESS)

We are the hopes and dreams of those who would not live to see us get there – because death, and not for any other reason; however, those times where new life beckons as old life waves goodbye can bring light enough to brighten the sky to an otherwise desolate moment.

REVIEW: ELECTRIC SARCASM – DIMITRA IOANNOU (UGLY DUCKLING PRESSE)

REVIEW: ELECTRIC SARCASM – DIMITRA IOANNOU (UGLY DUCKLING PRESSE)

Electric Sarcasm is an elegy faithful to the Greek root of the word; a lament for Greece, a country so important for its ancient ruins, facing financial ruin.

REVIEW: NEW DISEASE STREETS – DAVID O’NAN (SELF-PUBLISHED)

REVIEW: NEW DISEASE STREETS – DAVID O’NAN (SELF-PUBLISHED)

New Disease Streets isn’t going to calm your senses or negate your fears about the current state of the world, but it will remind you that even when all the stars are punched from the sky, there will continue to be a guiding light – even if it’s only peeking through holes in your quilt.

REVIEW: WOUND FROM THE MOUTH OF A WOUND – TORRIN A. GREATHOUSE (MILKWEED EDITIONS)

REVIEW: WOUND FROM THE MOUTH OF A WOUND – TORRIN A. GREATHOUSE (MILKWEED EDITIONS)

Her poems don’t just show the reader these issues, they pull the reader into them, making them wear them like a skin.

REVIEW: SPECTRUM OF FLIGHT – DAVID HANLON (ANIMAL HEART PRESS)

REVIEW: SPECTRUM OF FLIGHT – DAVID HANLON (ANIMAL HEART PRESS)

Utilizing the layout of text on the page, suggestive titles and clever wordplay, he creates an intricate narrative that enhances the reading experience.

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: AT FIRST & THEN – DANIELLE ROSE (BLACK LAWRENCE PRESS)

REVIEW: AT FIRST & THEN – DANIELLE ROSE (BLACK LAWRENCE PRESS)

if Rose decided to give a craft talk on titles alone, I would slam my fist, fanning with twenties, on the table and scream, “Here, take my money!” – Lannie Stabile

REVIEW: LIFE IN SPACE – GALINA RYMBU ( TR. JOAN BROOKS) (UGLY DUCKLING PRESSE/AFTER HOURS EDITIONS)

REVIEW: LIFE IN SPACE – GALINA RYMBU ( TR. JOAN BROOKS) (UGLY DUCKLING PRESSE/AFTER HOURS EDITIONS)

Sex is set against a backdrop of war and politics, so devoid of emotion and joy you can “count the bites and hickeys from dead lovers.” 

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…”

REVIEW: THE TALE OF TURKISH CARPET – JACQUELINE SAPHRA (BAD BETTY PRESS)

REVIEW: THE TALE OF TURKISH CARPET – JACQUELINE SAPHRA (BAD BETTY PRESS)

The poem is a great tale of how we ‘interpret’ other people’s lives when we go to other’s cultures and yet might forget the constraints on our own, thinking them normal. Until – it all gets too much. 

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.” 

REVIEW: BODEGA NIGHT PIGEON RIOT – AMANDA DEUTCH (ABOVE/GROUND PRESS)

REVIEW: BODEGA NIGHT PIGEON RIOT – AMANDA DEUTCH (ABOVE/GROUND PRESS)​

Like riding in the car, riding the subway is a moment where many people wrestle with their thoughts. Sometimes these thoughts are a diagnosis of the self, other times they are external, a commentary on the troubles of the world around us.

REVIEW: TO FALL FABLE – ALICE WICKENDEN (VARIANT LIT)

REVIEW: TO FALL FABLE – ALICE WICKENDEN (VARIANT LIT)
It’s all the obstacles in the way of self-discovery. It’s the fantasy of the moment. It’s the newness of everything. It’s doing something that might change your life, and should. Just not sure how.

REVIEW: F LETTER – GALINA RYMBU, EUGENE OSTASHEVSKY, AINSLEY MORSE, EDS. (Isolarii)

REVIEW: F LETTER – GALINA RYMBU, EUGENE OSTASHEVSKY, AINSLEY MORSE, EDS. (Isolarii)

Am I a poet or a poetess? Do I need to embrace a male style of writing, of interest, of canon, or someone else’s definition of radical feminist poetry?

REVIEW: THE CANDLELIGHT MASTER – MICHAEL LONGLEY (WAKE FOREST PRESS)

REVIEW: THE CANDLELIGHT MASTER – MICHAEL LONGLEY (WAKE FOREST PRESS)

“This is a collection about the power of aging. He shows us how the lives of old poets companion us on our journey….” – Jessica Mookherjee

REVIEW: THE CARTOON DIARIES – DAVID O’NAN (SELF-PUBLISHED)

REVIEW: THE CARTOON DIARIES – DAVID O’NAN (SELF-PUBLISHED)
This collection acts as a roadmap through the never ending cacophony – the voices, the fears, the Gods, and the everlasting sense that if you were to slow down for one moment you may never start again.

REVIEW: THE GULL AND THE BELL TOWER – KARI FLICKINGER (FEMME SALVÈ BOOKS/ANIMAL HEART PRESS)

REVIEW: THE GULL AND THE BELL TOWER – KARI FLICKINGER (FEMME SALVÈ BOOKS/ANIMAL HEART PRESS)

We never really escape our own disasters. In fact, “owning them is an irredeemable trait”. It’s unsettling, it’s frightening, but it does turn glass to stone. It does, however, create beauty.

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: STORAGE UNIT FOR THE SPIRIT HOUSE – MAW SHEIN WIN (OMNIDAWN)

REVIEW: STORAGE UNIT FOR THE SPIRIT HOUSE – MAW SHEIN WIN (OMNIDAWN)

A storage unit is inevitably a reduction of life’s expansive possibilities. It is by nature a place of pause, a place of restrictions on the field of associations.

REVIEW: TRAVELOGUE – PAIGE MELIN (GHOST CITY PRESS)

REVIEW: TRAVELOGUE – PAIGE MELIN (GHOST CITY PRESS)
“….she recognizes that she no longer has complete agency, having surrendered to her travels: “nothing will pull me / from this trajectory”, she writes, “not even its own / destruction”.

REVIEW: SEEDLING – ALANA SALTZ (MAVERICK DUCK PRESS)

REVIEW: SEEDLING – ALANA SALTZ (MAVERICK DUCK PRESS)

So if our memories are selective, and somewhat inaccurate, how do we keep those we loved with us after they’re gone? 

REVIEW: AMNESIA – HAL Y. ZHANG (NEWFOUND)

REVIEW: AMNESIA – HAL Y. ZHANG (Newfound)

The pressures of assimilation run deep. To what extent do we forget our mother tongues when we immigrate to a new country? How much of ourselves, our culture, our language, can we retain?

REVIEW: LA BELLE AJAR – ERNESTO CEPEDA (CLASH BOOKS)

REVIEW: LA BELLE AJAR – ERNESTO CEPEDA (CLASH BOOKS)

A revitalized love story for an upended generation. Cepeda brings beauty to the parts of us we fear the most: desires, sex, love, guilt, self.

#TPQ5: BOLA C. KING-RUSHING

Ursula K. LeGuin I grew up immersed in sci-fi and fantasy, and I’ve seen all kinds of worlds; LeGuin’s have always been the most imaginative and engaging. Octavia Butler Butler makes *character* the central part of her characters. They are intensely personal, believable, and relatable. Piers Anthony As a youngster

REVIEW: VENUS IN PINK MARBLE – GAYNOR KANE (HEDGEHOG PRESS)

REVIEW: VENUS IN PINK MARBLE – GAYNOR KANE (HEDGEHOG PRESS)

This is a collection that moves around the themes of love, lust, futility and desire and the search for a self through these conflicts of empire and colonialism.

REVIEW: GRAVITY – LYNNE SCHMIDT (NIGHTINGALE & SPARROW)

REVIEW: GRAVITY – LYNNE SCHMIDT (NIGHTINGALE & SPARROW)

In that moment of vulnerability we are often not our best selves ultimately becoming lost. but sometimes we overcome these bad relationships, saving ourselves in the end.

Review by Chris L. Butler

REVIEW: ALCHEMY OF LOVE – SOPHIE FOUCHER (SELF-PUBLISHED)

REVIEW: ALCHEMY OF LOVE – SOPHIE FOUCHER (SELF-PUBLISHED):

In simple lines of pure feeling these ‘30 poems and dreams about love’ challenge us to leave our troubles behind and enter Foucher’s vision of equanimity. 

Review by Jane Berg

REVIEW: PITH – TRACY FUAD (NEWFOUND)

REVIEW: PITH – TRACY FUAD (NEWFOUND PRESS)

Day-after-day, emails – I get it. And for the rest of the day, I wondered where God fit into all this technologyand war of scorched earth?

Review by Martha Warren

REVIEW: NO SAINTS – KEANA AGUILA LABRA (LAZY ADVENTURER PUBLISHING)

REVIEW: NO SAINTS – KEANA AGUILA LABRA (LAZY ADVENTURER PUBLISHING):
Maybe the hard, unyielding material is not mankind’s intolerance of what is other, as we have always thought.

Review by Lannie Stabile.

REVIEW: LOST LAGOON/LOST IN THOUGHT – BETSY WARLAND (CAITLIN PRESS)

REVIEW: LOST LAGOON/LOST IN THOUGHT – BETSY WARLAND

Thoughtful and contemplative, the writing captures the seasons of nature, the sounds and rhythms of the lagoon, and I wonder whether especially now, in times of uncertainty and fear, more of us should make time to be quiet

Review by Martha Warren

REVIEW: LET’S PHOTOGRAPH GIRLS ENJOYING LIFE – JASMINE GRAY (BROKEN SLEEP BOOKS)

REVIEW: LET’S PHOTOGRAPH GIRLS ENJOYING LIFE – JASMINE GRAY (BROKEN SLEEP BOOKS)​

This small poetry collection hits hard, it makes us voyeur and complicit in the diminishment of what gender and sex are.

Rev by @jessmkrjy

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: CAPABLE MONSTERS – MARLIN M. JENKINS (BULL CITY PRESS)

REVIEW: CAPABLE MONSTERS – MARLIN M. JENKINS (BULL CITY PRESS)

What I’ve learned is that sometimes you need to crawl within your shell to gain the power to face the rest of the world, and sometimes you need a Mewtwo to get you there.

REVIEW: FORTY STITCHES SEWING A BODY AGAINST A RAMSHACKLE NIGHT – C.T. SALAZAR (ANIMAL HEART PRESS)

REVIEW: FORTY STITCHES SEWING A BODY AGAINST A RAMSHACKLE NIGHT – C.T. SALAZAR (ANIMAL HEART PRESS)

And when we catch up to ourselves, we find we are tingling toes, prayer birds, wolf cubs, and gravity collapsing around you. C.T. Salazar gives us both a story of love, but also of finding oneself amidst the distractions of, well, everything else.

REVIEW: RECKLESS PAPER BIRDS – JOHN McCULLOUGH (PENNED IN THE MARGINS)

REVIEW: RECKLESS PAPER BIRDS – JOHN McCULLOUGH (PENNED IN THE MARGINS)

The tone of communication is exuberant and rife with polysemic connotations, producing a psychedelic effect. A sad Lady Gaga prompts us to reflect on how “terrible” it is “to be a god and listen”….

Review by Rodanthi Tzanelli

REVIEW: ALMS BASKET FOR YOUR HEART – MACKENZIE MOORE (VARIANT LIT)

REVIEW: ALMS BASKET FOR YOUR HEART – MACKENZIE MOORE (VARIANT LIT)

It is a tender little book and a reminder that, yes, not all dreams come true, but that doesn’t mean we should stop dreaming.

@mxkmoore @whatisaletter ‪@VariantLit ‬

REVIEW: A QUARTER LIFE- TYLER PUFPAFF (SELF-PUBLISHED)

REVIEW: A QUARTER LIFE- TYLER PUFPAFF (SELF-PUBLISHED)
We can put ourselves in these cracks and pops of a body learning how to be on its own. 

@tylerpufpaff @lanniestabile

REVIEW: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE CALLED? – KIRBY (ANSTRUTHER PRESS)

REVIEW: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE CALLED? – KIRBY (ANSTRUTHER PRESS)

Maybe the boy would look up from his gadget. Where no one cares if it’s a vulva or a penis. Where everyone has the sensibility of a 2-year-old. Because at two it’s really just a silly question. It’s not judgement.

REVIEW: LITTLE MASTICATED DARLINGS – LANNIE STABILE (WILD PRESSED BOOKS)

REVIEW: LITTLE MASTICATED DARLINGS – LANNIE STABILE (WILD PRESSED BOOKS)
It’s just a photograph. It’s just a reminder of a moment in time. That smile…the style of clothing, the wallpaper, the innocence, the murderer.

@LannieStabile
@Wildpressed

REVIEW: SUMMERTIME FINE – JASON B. CRAWFORD (VARIANT LITERATURE)

This is a scream that you are not tainted water. You are part of the moment, not the moment gone. You will not be discarded. Somewhere you remember “that joy of being alive”.

REVIEW: HOT WITH THE BAD THINGS – LUCIA LOTEMPIO (ALICE JAMES BOOKS)

REVIEW: HOT WITH THE BAD THINGS – LUCIA LOTEMPIO (ALICE JAMES BOOKS)
You tell yourself who you are – the good, the bad. You have opinions but wonder if they are yours. LoTempio challenges you to look for a life somewhere between love, abuse, and self.
@alicejamesbooks
‪@lucialo ‬

REVIEW: DISINTEGRATION – PAUL ROBERT MULLEN (ANIMAL HEART PRESS)

REVIEW: DISINTEGRATION – PAUL ROBERT MULLEN (ANIMAL HEART PRESS)

It’s the idea that maybe if one could be anything other than a poet – like maybe a bird – they should still be a poet. It’s the notebook of words you can’t remember or won’t dare to write down.

REVIEW: CUT TO BLOOM – ARHM CHOI WILD (WRITE BLOODY)

REVIEW: CUT TO BLOOM – ARHM CHOI WILD (WRITE BLOODY)

Wrong leads to cuts and bruises. Cuts and bruises lead to silence, lead to knives and stomaches, and the need to become “the fracture that makes the needle jump, land on anything but this”. But in the end, cuts and bruises can bloom and become anew.

REVIEW: DAWN’S FOOL – KYLA HOUBOLT (ICE FLOE PRESS)

REVIEW: DAWN’S FOOL – KYLA HOUBOLT (ICE FLOE PRESS)

If this is poetry of place, it is the pastoral idyll rendered uninhabitable by a human species.

‪@luaz_poet‬ ‪@IcefloeP ‬
Review by ‪@aliner ‬

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.

POWER OF POETRY #113: DIANA RADOVAN

POWER OF POETRY #113: DIANA RADOVAN

Our world is fractured, but it was already fractured before the pandemic. Free-form poetry and hybrid forms are simply reflective of our times.

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.

#TPQ5: JEAN ÒRE

#TPQ5: JEAN ÒRE

What will Jean Òre (Gianfranco Orecchioni), Italian songwriter and poet, include in today’s #TPQ5? Find out inside!

REVIEW: THE LIFE OF THE PARTY IS HARDER TO FIND UNTIL YOU’RE THE LAST ONE AROUND – ADRIAN SOBOL

REVIEW: THE LIFE OF THE PARTY- ADRIAN SOBOL

It’s in the checkout magazine’s interest to make you wait & consider options, the difference between content, contentment, & continent—which one, you think, is big enough for you?

POETRY IN THE NEW WORLD #1: ERNESTO CEPEDA

POETRY IN THE NEW WORLD #1: ERNESTO CEPEDA

Let us use poetry to be the spark that lights up others who are consumed by darkness. We will be the flames, the candles and the fire, keep writing, reading, submitting and posting our work.

REVIEW: ALCOHOLIC BETTY- ELISABETH HORAN (FLY ON THE WALL PRESS)

it’s the TKO after 12 rounds at the bar. But you’re looking up from the mattress wondering where Dr. Bottle and Nurse Amphetamine were to throw in the towel.

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: GHOSTS IN THE REFLECTION – LETTERS TO ERIN – JAMES F. MILLER (FLY ON THE WALL PRESS)

It’s the way society sees itself but refuses to remedy anything. There are no roses growing here. This is sidewalk chalk guiding readers through each crack in the concrete.

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: DISTANCE TRAVELED – MICHAEL CHIN (BENT WINDOW BOOKS)

The janitors clean up the mess left from cheers, jeers, and broken hearts. The lights go out. You say goodbye to the players, loved ones, enemies, and continue with the game of life. As long as the ball keeps bouncing, life will continue.

REVIEW: HOW MY CAT SAVED MY LIFE AND OTHER POEMS – JULIETTE SEBOCK (BOTTLECAP PRESS)

They are our pain. Our love. Our fight through relationships when we can’t do it ourselves. They need food and water and shelter but don’t always have that option – even if they’ve been there for years.

REVIEW: BEAUTIFUL & FULL OF MONSTERS – COURTNEY LeBLANC (VEGETARIAN ALCOHOLIC PRESS)

It’s who we are when least expected. It’s the big feelings we can’t explain. It’s the reason we cower in the dark. It’s the reason we raise our voices to those we are said to love. It’s the reason some loves end or begin or don’t.

REVIEW: LITTLE ENVELOPE OF EARTH CONDITIONS – CORI A. WINROCK (ALICE JAMES BOOKS)

Most of all, it’s about when body meets the inside of the body because the outside just doesn’t make sense anymore. It’s when space feels like a metaphor for a much larger universe, and you wish for a black hole within which to hide.

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: 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: THE WHIMSY OF DANK JU-JU – SASCHA AURORA AKHTAR

REVIEW: THE WHIMSY OF DANK JU-JU – SASCHA AURORA AKHTAR

Magic is broken unless we understand the trick or allow ourselves to suspend our disbelief and just know that everything is taken care of, and that we are okay.

REVIEW: EMPIRE OF DIRT – THOMAS STEWART (RED SQUIRREL PRESS)

This is not a guide toward love, light, and inspiration. This is not a tribute to finding God through death. This is looking at Death, and letting them know that while it might be a minute, you’ll leave a light on.

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: 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. 

#TPQ5: KAYLEIGH CAMPBELL

What will Kayleigh Campbell, winner of the Gloucestershire Poetry Competition 2019, include in today’s #TPQ5? Find out inside!

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.

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: FORGIVE YOURSELF THESE TINY ACTS OF SELF-DESTRUCTION – JARED SINGER (BUTTON POETRY)

FORGIVE YOURSELF THESE TINY ACTS OF SELF-DESTRUCTION – JARED SINGER @buttonpoetry
“…a manual for the last kid in the kickball line. It’s a must-read for those who can’t remember why they need to remember. It’s for those who sometimes forget they matter.”

REVIEW: MILES OF SKY ABOVE US, MILES OF EARTH BELOW – STEVE DENEHAN (CAJUN MUTT PRESS)

Denehan is sort of like Bukowski, if Bukowski wrote while drinking rather than drunk. It’s proof that poetry doesn’t need to be complicated to tell a damn good story.

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: REBOUND, RESTART, RENEW, REBUILD, REJOICE – TIMOTHY OTTE (LITHIC PRESS)

This is the past seen as scenes with edits. This is how family works and doesn’t and how people are more than just reflections of what came before.

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: 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: THE BOOK OF DANIEL – AARON SMITH (UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH PRESS)

It’s a headfirst take on being simply yourself in a sardonic world that wants to throw cancer and queer and God’s erect penis at you like they are insults.

#TPQ5: D.A. GRAY

#TPQ5: D.A. GRAY
What will D.A. Gray, author, Retired soldier and veteran, include in today’s #TPQ5? Find out inside!

#TPQ5: TJ NEER

#TPQ5: TJ NEER
What will TJ Neer, a bookseller at The Book Loft in Columbus, OH, include in today’s #TPQ5? Find out inside!

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: 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.