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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nothing But Light teems with characters such as Eve and Gaia, Judy Chicago and Hilma Klint woven into this tapestry of feminine wholeness, a wholeness that embraces rather than excludes. I love the power and playfulness of these poems that center the physical within the context of spiritual questing.
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?).
For its imagery, lyricism and thought “Absolute Pine,” a very human poem really, is a fitting conclusion to this collection that is serious and funny, fraught with gloom and light, and good lines in memorable poems about people, places and things. A collection of poems in the distinct voice of a poet at the height of his skills.
Scully’s The Fickle Pendulum is moody, joyous and dedicated to abstraction. It is an artist’s tome, a compendium for illustrating ideas or painting religious psalms and a reader’s banquet. As the title suggests, there is no route to follow in the inside pages because, like life, it is cyclic.