A review of The Writer Laid Bare by Lee Kofman

One of the key tenets of The Writer Laid Bare is the importance of paying attention. This almost obsessive focus is the writers’ stock-in-trade. Kofman calls it voyeurism, but in our attention-starved culture, being able to lock onto the details contained within a moment is more than just a tool to make our work more interesting (though Kofman makes a good case for that), it’s revolutionary.

A review of Witches, Woman and Words by Beatriz Copello

Throughout this collection the poet argues strongly for the rights of women while foregrounding their innate strengths.  She reflects on the way the social order, including the church has conspired to oppress the feminine but also finds solace in the natural world, which is seen as women’s true habitat where ‘Mother Earth embraces each and every one’.

A review of The Air in the Air Behind It by Brandon Rushton

In Rushton’s book, the theme of liminality sits squarely on the interface between the betwixt and between borders of human states and – for that reason – allows the reader to address some of the critical issues of our times, where the fluidity of identity is considered. In the decisive awareness to explore the possibilities that can emerge out of a willingness to stay with ambiguity, the author creates the opportunity to address some of these issues.

A review of Torohill by Donna Reis

In her new book of poems, Torohill, Reis revisits her past in a very human way that is intensely reflective, sometimes brutally stark, and often quite humorous. If comedy is just the other face of tragedy, then our catharsis lies within the synthesis of both. Reis knows this instinctively and expertly weaves both through her poems. It renders them remarkably touching but not in a saccharin or intentional manner. She allows feelings to vacillate and often startle and surprise us organically and authentically.

In The Tradition of Dutch Masters: an interview with Ben Rikken

Rikken feels it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact moment one decides to make art their life, but there is still a traceable, cumulative trajectory and the necessity to reflect upon history and past traditions. To define one’s unique art and expression, there comes an inevitable absorption then rejection of established theories that allows the artist to express their unique voice.

A review of Ecliptical By Hazel Smith

Ecliptical is a masterful book, full of smart details that will challenge and stretch the most dedicated of readers, but also dark, playful, often funny and always fun to read. The book is political and engaged with current affairs and events and very serious in the way it confronts violence, loss, inequities, and a wide array of impending ends, but it never takes itself too seriously.

Stronger Than Fear: Poems of Empowerment, Compassion, and Social Justice edited by Carol Alexander and Stephen Massimilla

As the title Stronger than Fear suggests, the book wishes to raise spirits for justice rather than fight it out on the streets or the courtrooms, which is where most, but not all, social justice works itself out. It’s a valiant effort to tilt at windmills. (How many times have poets reminded us that poetry does nothing?).