Category: Poetry Reviews

A review of Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein

I’ve always found the term ‘experimental literature’ to be unsatisfactory, since it begs so many questions. For a start, what hypothesis is being tested? Then again, how would you know that the experiment – if such it is – has been successful? Only if the hypothesis has been confirmed? Yet what if the experiment had done its job, by providing a rigorous trial?

A review of Selected Poems of Dorothy Hewett edited by Kate Lilley

By the time the work gets to “Days of Violence days of Rages”, the extended poem becomes an incantation of pain moving Alice through an entire lifetime of sex, communism, childbirth, betrayal, loneliness, illness and death. It’s both intensely powerful and at the same time, self-indulgent and bitter.

A review of Whose Cries Are Not Music by Linda Benninghoff

I especially liked when she reaches a moment of spirituality in “Dream” that has a happy, feel to it “… Your eyes quivering in the light / Where is God / But in a dream where / the light between us, always yellow …” hints that there is something more one can obtain beyond our life.

A review of Injuring Eternity
 by Millicent Borges Accardi

This is an unusual collection of insightful moments, people, relationships and life throughout the day into evening. Many will find something of value just by randomly opening the pages and selecting something new, including births, deaths, lovers, children, snooping, guns, the down side of Las Vegas, soap operas and birthdays.

A review of Reading Modernist Poetry by Michael H. Whitworth

Although the price is rather steep, even for a textbook, this isn’t a book you can just read through, put back on the shelf and forget. For those that want an insight, both as reader, and perhaps more valuably, as writer, into the techniques of poetry in general, and those specific to the giants of poetry that make up the ultra-influential modernist movement, this is a book that can be returned to regularly. It is well structured, well researched, clearly written, and full of innovative insights.

A review of Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Though Millay plays to the gallery a bit, mindful that she has a bit of a reputation to keep up (Byron did it too), she is a poet of substance. This fine, generous selection of her poetry includes also Aria da Capo, a one-act verse drama about xenophobia and the suspicion of the stranger.

A review of Into the Yell by Sarah James

jpg” align = “left”> Throughout the book, the imagery is always powerful – drawing from myth, fairy tales, a painter’s palette, Blake, medical terminology, the beautician’s rooms, the seaside, and above all, the natural world.

A review of Music’s Spell by Emily Fragos

You will find it difficult to decide on favourites herein. Close to the top must come David Wojahn’s poem about the meeting between Dylan and Woody Guthrie at the Brooklyn State Hospital. Then there is Tomas Transtromer’s poem about Haydn (‘Allegro’), which is quite sublime.