Breslin White’s poetry is matter-of-fact, yet the irony in “Whence” plays with this pragmatism. “With Mother,” the line, “Some of these shapes look suspicious” injects a contrary interpretation. And the poem “All Alert”? Readers, like the swans, are “placated with the transformation.”Read more.
It’s hard to match Samuel E. Cole’s lyricism. In “Instinct,” it’s the visualization of the child’s “heartbeat adrift/among the sounds of/cosmic collision”; the natural imagery as foreground in “Cherry Horses”; and the narrative of poverty wailing “multitude horrors” in “Epiglottis.”Read more.
Leigh Fisher shows how the art of poetic narration works in “Fairer Hands,” in which the poet tries “to scale a ladder that was never made to be climbed”; and in “Diploma for Daedalus,” where no labyrinth prevents her success “with this degree in hand.” In “Dotted or Solid” she learns “the goal/is obeying the road’s lines.”Read more.
Elizabeth Luchniski shows us how to see women as individuals in “12 Ways of Looking At a Woman,” just as she does two men who “share a laugh/Discuss the unknown” in “Skyless Sky.” And “A Poem Is” a poem “That you may need,/But only if/You can feel it.Read more.
Nostalgia has a significant influence on humanity, and the wistfulness in Maya Roe’s poetry is poignant. The three stanzas “In Land I Knew” illuminate the poet’s remembrances as if you the reader were experiencing the land itself; so too in “Tangles” and “1941/2017” as entrances to the inner heart of memory.Read more.
Take the alleged mundanity in “Trash-Burning”—“Out here it’s most weekends in the summer”; the personification of the “chair-back straight” tree in “Memory Tree”; and the Latin “vocat/aestus in umbra” in “National Bohemian Pastoral,” and you glimpse Mercer Bufter’s poetic philosophy.Read more.
E. Merrill Brouder’s poetry is not limited in style or meaning. See the poet professing his love on the Ferris wheel in “County Fair, Senior Year”; delivering an encomium to the natural world in “Hallelujah, Hallelujah”; and asking, “What will become/ of the MERRILL lot/now that everyone has left?” in Genealogy.Read more.
Unmistakable in Adam Que’s poetry is his down-to-earth perspective, as presented in the narrative of Reye’s syndrome in “The Leftovers”; the concrete image of “Chaco shredding the pollo” in “Tuesday”; and the rich irony between “real” nature and “a downloaded app” in “Simulation.”Read more.
Read Renoir Gaither’s poems out loud and catch the meaning collapsing into rhythmic meter, as in this tercet in “Morning Papers Waltz”: “Salutations to subway dreams and spearmint gum./Salutations to asphyxiating oil addition and asthmatic Raqqa streets./Salutations to corporate welfare recipients mewing at public troughs.” The same is true of “Envelope” and “Auction.”Read more.
Personification meets allegory in Luciana Erregue-Sacchi’s poem “My Apple”—“Eve,/Stands, unrepentant/Venus Pudica”; and metaphor meets personification in “Garden”—“my garden is a map of my brain/Cobalt, cadmium, coral, kidney shaped.” “Volcanoes In Antarctica?” Read the poem to see poetry as analysis.Read more.
There is a special resonance in Louis LoRe’s poems. In “Community College of Vermont, the Early Days,” you hear the girl think “with hopes of becoming.” In “When I Awake” you feel the fear as “he rises to his haunches” and escapes. And you realize the boy can no longer be innocent of the apocalypse of nuclear war in “Sunday Morning.”Read more.
A spiritual passion awakens in Ann Christine Tabaka’s poetry. The titles instruct: in “Cutting Through the Fog” the brume swallows the poet whole; in “Eternal Games” the story, like uroboros, eternally chases “its own tail”; and in “Brokenness” emptiness reaches out, “searching.”Read more.
An unambiguous pathos permeates Clara Burghelea’s poetry in, for example, this line: “I would have grown forgetful, had I stayed” in “My Own Key Slotted in Your Door.” Then, in “Survival” “love gave its sorrow a name/and drowned it.” And “how can I breathe breathless into the air of you?” in “On Life’s Meaningful Pauses.”Read more.
In each of Mart-Matteus Kampus’ poems visualization is key. In “Funabulism” a cat devours a mouse, “his red/whiskers/tightrope/walked/in the clear/morning air.” In “Click” the camera eye embraces all of what it sees—“sky,” shy moon,” “gentle summer.” And then there is “Chrysalis”—a feast of imagistic verse.Read more.
“The Greatest Scientist of of a Generation” is Scott Wilson’s satirical take on what is the serious problem, CCD, or colony collapse disorder. Scientists couldn’t agree on the source of honeybee deaths, a real problem because honeybees are the pollinators of fruits like blueberries, vegetables like broccoli, and nuts like almonds. Scientists, corporations, and the INTERNET are tagged here.Read more.
Sophia DuRose says it loud and clear in her essay “And.” She refuses to be labeled, having learned a lesson of discrimination against her Jewish faith when she was a teenager. Rather than taking the opinions of others at face value, she writes that we must “create our own opinions of worthiness and self-assurance.” Taking a line from Maya Angelou as her axiom, Sophia DuRose will, “like the air,” rise.Read more.
It’s a summer afternoon and Maya Roe can’t write. The “overdramatic and rambling” prose hitting the page isn’t working. So, she goes out intentionally looking and seeing and feeling. Nature is not symbolism or metaphor. It just is. Stream and Forest. Bees and Moss. Cattails and Blueberry trees. All of this an “inexplicable world” to love.Read more.
“I’m Not Asking” is excerpted from Elizabeth Richardson’s science fiction novel, SportHacked, A Game of Emotional Halloween, about a woman whose life has been destroyed after it’s been taken over by computer hacking and what she does to put her life back together. Rory Scott was an accredited counselor, but “after six months of daily sabotage, my life taken from me,…I am now ready to do something extreme.” And what Rory does is extreme, but what choice does she have?Read more.
Read the first chapter of Barry Potyondi’s novel Life Sentence before reading the preface. This is merely a suggestion, but it allows you to read Chapter 1 without presumption or judgment. Thus unfettered, you will be struck by the raw emotion that builds from the first sentence to the last, and, so engaged, anticipate the consequence of rejection and hardship in a combustible mix. Then, return to the preface. It will open your eyes to the eugenics movement during the 20th century in Alberta, Canada, that destroyed thousands of individual lives.Read more.
The third story in Michael Radcliff’s series Tadhg and the Seven Dragons takes us to the island of Hawaii where Tadhg must stop Duana, his young friend who has been possesed by the “Other”, and find Greatwing’s relatives. Braving molten lava, Merlin’s traps, and dark tunnels, Tadhg journeys into the depths of the volcano to face the unknown and save his friend.Read more.
Part 2, Chapter 1 of Daniel Talamantes’ novel With All Our Faults begins agreeably, with the nameless narrator indulging in a burrito while watching a World Cup match on his computer. Yet, Talamantes mixes up his observation of the game with his reflection about life—“somewhat like a burrito, the more you indulge, the more you unwrap, it is nearly impossible to recover”—leaving you in a state of unsuspected suspense: What is really happening here?Read more.
Vanessa Christie introduces us to her noir mystery novel, Strangers You Know, and what an introduction it is. The story opens forcefully as we are introduced to the criminal and the cop; the details of the crime; and what we anticipate will be an intricate and fast-paced plot. You anticipate these characters facing difficult decisions as they track each other down—and consequences that will upend both of their lives.Read more.
This excerpt from Banerjea’s debut novel begins with a gang arrest in a neighborhood in south London, but the focus of the chapter is the immigrant woman who reminisces about her happy childhood in pre-partition Bengal. She implores her professor father, her Baba, to allow her older brother, her dada, to take her to the cinema. The wish is granted, and she experiences for the first time the Mukul cinema, “its well-decorated marquee at the entrance and walls pasted with big posters announcing forthcoming features.” Along with other girls chaperoned by older brothers, she and her dada sit in the very front row and watch the giant gorilla carry Ann in his huge hand and disappear into the jungle, as the Mukul cinema is “filled with the shrieks and cries of children.”Read more.
Aunt Mathilda holds the snowflake charm in her hand; her sixth sense takes charge; she places it in a drawer. A woman visits her niece’s consignment store with check in hand and Mathilda puts two and two together. “Christmas Charm” is a story in the wonderful Mathilda series by Piper Templeton.Read more.
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