Category: Poetry Reviews

A review of The Book of Falling by David McCooey

There is no question that McCooey is a creative and sophisticated poet. In this collection he turns questions and lists into poems. He also has included various narrations and short poems which are precise and concise with manicured lines. One of the poems, “Your Life as a Movie”, cleverly shows the many ways we find meaning in life against its illogicality and incongruity.

A review of Jack Skelley’s Interstellar Theme Park: New and Selected Writing

How Skelley is able to write lines that simultaneously describe, illuminate, juxtapose, and contradict is anyone’s guess. There is an intimacy, a voyeuristic quality to this work overall, as we turn each page, as if we’ve happened upon these poems, found them stashed away in a jean jacket pocket or borrowed them from a friend, like that treasured indie rock vinyl record. The lines are meant to be savored and shared. This is a collection that slows down time, forces the reader to stop and linger awhile.

A review of Refugee by Pamela Uschuk

As Uschuk probes the wounds of contemporary existence, we see how deeply she understands human suffering. Fortunately for readers, the author also brings abundant love for this difficult, complicated world that somehow keeps going. As “The Essential Shape” (100) reminds us, “Spinning, the earth begins” again, and “shapes itself with fingers of light.”

An Inner Habitat for Searching: a Review of Rewild by Meredith Stricker

I do not think Rewild suggests that love will save the human race. Rather, it brings us to consider that by participating in love we will save love, perhaps contributing to its existence and triumph in the cosmos—animism from an earlier human understanding of the world, wielded against indifference. We can infer the possibility of a universe without mankind.

A review of And to Ecstasy by Marion Mossammaparast

One of the poet’s salient concerns is life, the fragility of life, death as well the afterlife. I was fascinated about the metaphysical aspects of her works, works that are coloured by the brush of mythology, philosophy and religion. In this beautiful collection of poems she utilises many literary devices with extraordinary skills. Her voice is strong as a sirocco yet is gentle as a resting heartbeat.

A review of Moon Wrasse by Willo Drummond

All sorts of colours flicker through the book, but particularly blue, from the aqua shore to Iris’ that fall, blue as the rare blue moon, the blue of hope in an indigo night, the bluest carbon of our breath, Brisbane blue, a blue man suit, bluebottles, autumn blue, and of course the blue of the Moon Wrasse also known as the Blue Wrasse. Drummond’s blues are luminescent and rare shades, not normally the colour of a moon, a suit, or autumn, but nocturnally accurate, confounding tropes.  

A review of Like to the Lark by Stuart Barnes

The poems are sinuous and sensual, working within the many constrictions and still managing to feel so light and with the strict scansion so subtle and integrated into the rhythm that you have to look closely to realise, for example, that “Persian Love Cake” is a pantoum, its innate rhythms varying slightly, in a deliciously sensual piece of dried rosebuds, green pistachios, almond praline and lemon icing.

A review of No Angels by Mary Makofske

There is so much more to like here, too many wonderful poems to single out, but I have chosen “Nasreen’s Story” also from Part I to quote in full. It’s a masterful variation on the ghazal, the oldest poetic form still in use. It relies on a repeated word, which gives the form a hypnotic effect. The name imitates the sound of a dying wounded gazelle, and the form has roots in Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, and Hebrew.

Bulging Blooms, a review of Telling You Everything by Cindy Hochman

To read Telling You Everything is to come away refreshed and revitalized from Hochman’s,  original way of looking at the world and seeking her place in it. This is what poetry is, this is what it can be.  It comes out of a life fully lived. In Brooklyn. Where Hochman continuously learns something new from an old situation.