Paul Tran’s long-awaited debut collection, All the Flowers Kneeling, is a fierce reminder that Tran is one of the most talented and visceral poets writing in America today. – Ronnie K. Stephens
This shows Kahlo’s defiance as both lasting and as the catalyst for her own breaking point. Even when exploring Kahlo’s death, Horan stays true to the voice she has established for Kahlo. – Elisabeth Horan
Dear God. Dear Bones. Dear Yellow. is the divine feminine’s wrath with no apologies, and yes, you should say thank you. – Lyra Thomas
Perhaps we have all, as in the poem, lost someone and looked up, perceived heaven, and asked for a sign, a response, but were left only in our wonder. – Cait L. Young
These are poems that do not lend themselves to passive reading, but rather demand deep internal reflection and renewed engagement with the most basic, unanswerable questions of human existence. – Ronnie K. Stephens
Scheelk offers first-hand accounts of the effects of misdiagnosis, queer identity, and the intersections of these as an autistic person. – Caitie L. Young
The Body Myth (The Hunger Journal) by Hannah Land is beauty in words, harmonic sounds and striking imagery, all to narrate an all too familiar painful story. – Valentina Lindardi
Shutter is equally successful for its accessibility and relatability, centering poems that are at once concretely grounded in personal experience and immediately familiar to any reader who experiences self-doubt, heartbreak, and loneliness. – Ronnie K. Stephens
Get ready to submit your manuscripts! This year’s submissions are FREE; however, to make that happen we need your help!
Again and again, we see the speaker face the tension of negotiating and accepting who they are up against the self-limiting modes of the world they live in. – Steve Henn
Each poem is a subtle reminder that those who experience mental illness are not alone. – Caitie L. Young
His poems are full of the energy and playfulness and good humor of a poet who takes things thoughtfully but not too seriously. – Steve Henn
Mar brings us to a past world, painted as vividly as ours, made of pretty words and tragic events that leave us feeling wet and sticky, as if the algae of the lake refuse to let us free from it. – Valentina Linardi
With a hint of irony she reminds us of all the rules we’ve been exposed to growing up, of the smallest signs we have to use every day to express ourselves in front of the societal expectations. – Valentina Linardi
This collection of life-flowers reminds us that life may be ordinary, but this ordinary may just be lovely enough to convince us that we want to be in it. – Melissa Ferrer
[This collection takes a] hard look at the challenges of existing in exile, of growing accustomed to the comforts of America, and of conflicting feelings around claiming a home to which the speaker cannot return. – Ronnie K. Stephens
“Whether through trauma endured in war, drug use, or poor living environment, Uttich pulls the reader into a leaving with traces of those absences”. – Catie L. Young
Connotary is an incantation into remembrance. And an edification from where one has been and is always going. And still is also this gift, this display, of honor and renewal. – Melissa Ferrer
REVIEW: THE SCIENCE OF DEPARTURES – ADALBER SALAS HERNANDEZ / TRANS. BY ROBIN MYERS (KENNING EDITIONS)
“The Science of Departures is the product of a poet whose words double as his hands, and there is so much to read – so much to feel”. – Lyra Taylor
“We love our families as hard as we can. We push forward. We learn languages that don’t lead us to shame because sometimes we “live in a perpetual state of I don’t know”. – Chris Margolin
“I was once told by an editor that I “don’t write real poetry”. How is this any different from people saying that Bennett had a mediocre arm”? – Chris L. Butler
“Grown Ocean is a collection about love as much as it is a collection of disenchantment with the world”. – Chris L. Butler
“[The reader is left to] examine whether or not there really is a “better” existence; or if we are all destined to simply live the life we’ve been given, and nothing more”. – Chris Margolin
“[There is a] willingness to engage space as a living entity, something that is at once incomprehensible and animate”. – Ronnie K. Stephens
And we are most definitely not here to survive and die, but rather to survive within the noise, and then die. – Chris Margolin
“With life, there is loss. Yet it all feels wrong. One of the most jarring things about grief is not that the world moves on: it is that the world moves on so quickly and seamlessly”. – Whitney Hansen
These emotional trinkets become the void where sadness echoes. – Marisa Silva-Dunbar
KB recognizes the wound as equally capable of memorializing beautiful, if painful, memories. – Ronnie K. Stephens
“Together, the poems function a bit like a greatest hits album, showcasing the breadth of style and distinct humor for which Broder is known”. – Ronnie K. Stephens
“Because religion can be found inside a Walkman. Inside a radio song. A news segment. Because inside these personal stories and erasures of 2Pac lines, we find a refreshed and re-defined sense of The Word”. – Chris Margolin
“Stoked and Thrashing is a masterclass of sensory engagement in writing”. – Whitney Hansen
“By revisiting historical moments and paying respects to figures that came before her, the author shines light on the issues we still are dealing with today”. – Reggie Johnson
“Mai Der Vang masters contemporary poetic structures, grounds her verse in vivid and haunting imagery, and carries a central narrative throughout the collection”. – Ronnie K. Stephens
“It is a compelling masterpiece of a book that I recommend to all who love visual poetry and those willing to delve into something new.” – Kari Flickinger
“Each poem acts as a space that was once inhabited with the speaker or those they hold dear. Each poem holds a period of time”. – Whitney Hansen
“Antrobus includes several poems that recall experiences with incarcerated people, and alludes to his own arrest. These poems speak to the terrible relationship between disability and incarceration by humanizing their subjects.” – Ronnie K. Stephens
“Davis invites the readers to join and spark change in the infrastructure of the country to bring about a revolution”. – Reggie Johnson
“Pineda isn’t injecting a false sense of optimism into her collection, but rather the whole narrative arc is meticulously designed, starting with the positives before masterfully shifting into the reality”. – Joseph Edwin Haegar
Chris sits down with Todd Dillard, author of Ways We Vanish (Okay Donkey), to talk about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry.
“Parker is someone who immediately displays a deep understanding of the human condition. She’s also terrifyingly comfortable with vulnerability, unique for first collections”. – Ronnie K. Stephens
Courtney and Chris Margolin sit down with Danez Smith this week to discuss Passions, Process, Pitfalls, and Poetry!
“… the poems also work to remind readers about the oft-ignored moments of grace that surround difficult times”. – Ronnie K. Stephens
“When you’re an 8th grader with a blog where you write sad heartbreak lyrics, a lot of forehead acne, and long, swoopy bangs in hopes it covers it up, something’s gotta give. I had to own up to something, and the thing I took back was my smile.” – Alex Dang
Snapshots of a life lived with those small mundane moments that create someone’s very existence, only to shatter our hopes that it’d turn out differently…. – @Joseph Edwin Haeger
But what stands out most in You Better Be Lightning is grace, for themselves and, often, for those who have harmed them.
This book isn’t about what we wish we could have said. No, it’s a collection full of things we’re too afraid to talk about.
Butler uses a seamless combination of 90s pop culture and imagery with slick rhymes and beautiful sonic and tonal qualities. These are poems that demand to be performed on a stage and to be read studiously at your desk. The musicality he brings elevates the feeling of nostalgia into a full soundtrack; you can see the protagonist walking to their perfect theme song. – Alex Dang
“The reverence isn’t in the experiences, it’s in the powerful men. A woman is supposed to feel flattered when a man finds her irresistible. This book is a middle finger to that expectation”. – Lannie Stabile
There is a sense of independence and protest, a polite shake of the head at social norms that says, “Thanks, but no thanks. We have our own way of doing things”. – Lannie Stabile
Pilgrim Bell takes you to a different you, past, present, and future. Each poem twisted my reality in such a way that it didn’t fully twist back. A new flexibility.
When mother tongue is villain, are you person or correction? When God and mother are both concerned with safety, but neither with voice, does safety exist?
Bloodwarm has the ability to turn heads, create conversation, and lead you toward change.
Because it’s not easy to discover your voice or yourself inside a world that doesn’t love you – or at least doesn’t love you back.
In each poem, readers can feel the undeniable aspect that, like nearly all mixtapes, this chapbook is for somebody (at the very least, the amalgamation of “you” that exists in all of our longings).
Animals burn. Volcanos erupt. We aren’t told the story necessarily as it is; we are told how it feels to live and remember it.
REVIEW: COMB – SHADAB ZEEST HASHMI (SABLE BOOKS)
Migration challenges us to examine the “essence” of what makes us, us, and Hashmi duly documents the details.
REVIEW: GIRLS LIKE US – ELIZABETH HAZEN (ALAN SQUIRE PUBLISHING)
Hazen has an acute ability to make a reader feel many unwanted things. Like recollection. Like commiseration. Like retroactive fear.
REVIEW: GHOST IN A BLACK GIRL’S THROAT – KHALISA RAE (RED HEN PRESS)
This is a rally cry for self-hood. For respect. For dreams once had that can be had again. This is written to give voice to the timid, a path to the promise of never again escaping the you who you always thought you could be.
REVIEW: THE MATRIX – N.H. PRITCHARD (PRIMARY INFORMATION and UGLY DUCKLING PRESS)
The collection is ultra-visual, a singing arrangement of offerings that has eyes of its own, old eyes that gaze at us from source, unblinking, revealing nothing (and everything).
REVIEW: BY BUS – ERICA VAN HORN (UGLY DUCKLING PRESSE)
You find yourself next to the man licking the eczema on his arm, or next to the singing bus driver. Some of the people you meet on the bus will be lovely; others will be objectionable.
REVIEW: THE WORLD ISN’T THE SIZE OF OUR NEIGHBORHOOD ANYMORE – AUSTIN DAVIS (WEASEL PRESS)
It’s an age of transition, somewhere between childhood and adulthood, on the blurry path to independence.
REVIEW: LESBIAN FASHION STRUGGLES – CAROLINE EARLEYWINE (SIBLING RIVALRY PRESS)
What does it mean to live within a body that has been projected upon and harmed? What does it mean to want to be seen anyway?
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: 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
What will Jade Hurter include in today’s #TPQ5? Find out inside!
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.
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.