A review of Milk cans & cornflowers by Ken Smith

The poems in Ken Smith’s collection, Milk cans & cornflowers, show a love of language that rises above workmanlike prose. The author lets readers experience walks along the St. Lawrence River; shares some of his past, points out striking objects or phenomena, and acknowledges the importance of family, including the “family” of great poets and writers of the past.

A review of Earlier by Sasha Frere-Jones

I also really wished that that was going to create a clearing in the critical discourse in which I could discuss the Situationists, among other Francophile souvenirs I’ve collected over the years.  Afterall, “Greil Marcus, Lipstick Traces” is the last bit of language on the back cover.  Possibility of a backdoor? 

A review of Strange Meadowlark by Michael Simms

The music of the poems is suffused by a nuance of idiosyncrasies that leaves one having to learn how to read them, stopping and starting occasionally. But these reveal themselves as integral to the themes. For instance, there’s a conspicuous absence of periods.

A review of Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth

As a protagonist, Lily is not easy to love. She isn’t down to earth and feisty like a Jane Austen heroine or destitute and virtuous like one of Thomas Hardy’s. She is vain, materialistic, and small-minded. She obsesses over clothes, incomes, and table settings, and is cruel to the friends whose modest means render them socially useless to her.

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A review of Bleedings by Gabriele Tinti

Poetry is this ability to transcend, to cross through the masks that feed the comedy, living bulimically on illusions; it is looking beyond what appears, entering the shadow, listening to the unspeakable until the original silence while keeping the wound always open because we need to be there, close to the blade,/ at the mercy of pain, letting that blood, which is life, flow. Hence, bleeding as an opening, as the only possibility of existence.

A review of Balmain Contemplations by Noel Jeffs

This system of imagery is woven with religious associations of annunciation or resurrection, but with an innocent freshness that removes too much knowingness or didactic artifice. The quote on the back cover is Proust’s observation that the real voyage of discovery is not travelling but seeing newly. One should observe at this point that to see something as if for the first time is not the same as seeing it once again differently, and that these two things have a separate poetic function.

A review of One River by Steve Armstrong

Haibun is the perfect form for these reflections, combining prose and poetry to create a work that is both descriptive/educational and deeply intimate. Armstrong has replaced the traditional Haiku of Haibun with the Korean Sijo which allows for double the line length and extra syllables, with a focus on the rich nature of the spaces he’s inhabiting. The result is quite beautiful, inviting the reader to join in both the descriptive amble and the poetic pauses of the Sijo creating a space for connection.