Lilley is a brilliant writer. She creates pictures with words. Each episode is a short gem with sprinkles of captivating humour. Page by page we enter Jeannie’s life, we read about her travelling with the astronaut in a space capsule, a yacht or a car, we read about her trying to constantly please her master, and forever hoping to get married to him.
A poetic journeyman and warrior whose work in writing and community throughout his life crisscrosses the globe. His beautiful new book Time Taken – New & Selected is a compendium of that life, full of treasures – wisdom, observations and raw evocations of the man himself.
There are poems in this collection that describes events which many of us experience like waking at 3.00 am and being unable to go back to sleep, or being super tired after looking after children or admiring a fancy car that we never could afford. Empathy, love, compassion and wishes are also themes in this collection.
Acevedo-Quiñones includes family trees and freely admits that some of her facts are speculation, sometimes pieced together from “drunken spill sessions,” hearsay, half-remembered conversations. “Secrets are our family members, too,” after all, as she wisely points out in the vignette, “Secreto.”
L.J. Sysko’s Daughter of Man is an exquisite dance in which form, function, image, and metaphor shape a discernible allegory of embodied personae. And while these speakers delight the reader with a variety of references to pop culture, they also serve as reminders of our shared historical narratives, ones we cannot let slip from our cultural memories.
Shoshonna Rockman’s debut poetry collection, take me for tame, is anything but tame. These are fierce poems, rooted in an exuberant defiance that works through oppression to find triumph.
Harél searches for joy with the recognition of how much we are up against in the world. His has a willingness to see sharply the challenges and obstacles that are often devastatingly difficult to understand—to admit joy through inquiry and truth. If we do not see clearly, we are victims of magical thinking, wholly unprepared for those inevitable struggles and painful circumstances that are unavoidable.
All in all, these poems are sensitive, moving, perceptive, and carefully crafted gems. Discouragement might lurk in the words, yet the balance is tilting toward hope. As expressed in the poem “A Close and Constant Rage,” the poet notes “my continuous rage colliding / with the natural world, … / surround me with a can-do moment of hope.”
Whitacre makes it clear from the start that this is family folklore handed down over generations at Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas celebrations and other family gatherings. Indeed, the second poem, “Jennie at Thanksgiving,” introduces us to the central figure, now a toothless old lady who is hard of hearing, her food “ground to mush” so that she’s able to eat. “She gums away fitfully.”
Ottaway explores the way that women are often taught to mask emotions which can make diagnosis difficult. The book is also deeply personal, putting the reader directly into the experience and incorporating a welter of complex emotions, sensations, and perspectives that are powerful. Poetry is the right medium, embracing the complexity through rhythm, structure, imagery, and an engagement in the senses that creates immediacy.