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Reviews

 

 

 


Call it Rhapsodic:
The Collected Poems of Jared Smith, 1971-2011

The Collected Poems of Jared Smith, 1971-2011

The Collected Poems
of Jared Smith, 1971-2011
by Jared Smith

NYQ Books, 2012; 595 pages; Softcover, $27.95; Hardcover, $42.95
(Softcover) ISBN: 978-1-935520-51-1
(Hardcover) ISBN: 978-1-935520-70-2
http://www.nyqbooks.org

Reviewed by George Drew

"Let me be fell: force I must be brief," as Hopkins so memorably said: Jared Smith is a master poet. As such, his body of work runs the gamut from the epic (his two-book masterwork, Song of the Blood) to the lyric (especially his most recent collection, Grassroots), and everything in between. A national poet in every sense, with the kind of expansive vision one would expect, Smith is contemporary and historical, tender and satirically irate, rebellious, iconoclastic, despairing and irreverent, but never hopeless or fashionably nihilistic. He is, however, demanding.  Read Review


 

Seeds of Life — A Review of Shira Dentz's
black seeds on a white dish

black seeds on a white dish

black seeds on a white dish
by Shira Dentz

Shearsman Books; 2010; 90 pages; $15.00
ISBN: 978-1-84861-128-3, paper
http://www.shiradentz.com/?page_id=7

Reviewed by Laurel Kallen

In Shira Dentz's first book of poetry, black seeds on a white dish, the poet shows us how seeds contain life, how life often manifests as desire, and how the seeds of life already contain their future demise. Is it coincidence that the title image, "Black seeds on a white dish," occurs in "Poem for my mother who wishes she were a lily pad in a Monet painting"? (74) The poet explains that she and her mother "just don't come apart." In other words, the-mother-is-the-daughter-is-the-mother-is-the-daughter, ad infinitum. As for the unquenchable nature of desire, the reader has only to pause before the wish to become a lily pad in a painting! Two layers of impossibility amuse and trouble us here — first, the impossibility of becoming a lily pad and, second, the impossibility of becoming anything that exists only in a work of art.  Read Review



 

Serfs of Psychiatry
by Gil Fagiani

Serfs of Psychiatry by Gil Fagiani

Serfs of Psychiatry
by Gil Fagiani

Finishing Line Press, 2012; 27 pages; $12.00
ISBN: 1-59924-968-5, paper
http://www.finishinglinepress.com

Reviewed by Lynn McGee

Over three decades ago when poet Gil Fagiani asked a colleague about working conditions at Bronx Psychiatric Center, "…he warned me it could be rough," he says. "I had no idea what I was getting into."  Read Review



 

 

 

Horseplay
by Colette Inez

Horseplay

Horseplay
by Colette Inez

Word Press; 2011; 104 pages, $19.00
ISBN: 978-1936370566, paper
http://www.word-press.com/inez-horseplay.html

Reviewed by Kryssa Schemmerling

In Horseplay, Colette Inez's tenth book of poetry, the second poem, "Two-wheeler Spins," envisions a shape-shifting woman who takes the form of a rowboat and carries her own parents "red-faced/and exhausted after sex." By the end, these parents have retreated into the shadows to "live quietly in picture frames."  Read Review



 

 

The Ghost of Every Day and Other Poems
by Philip Miller

The Ghost of Every Day

The Ghost of Every Day
by Philip Miller

Spartan Press, 2011; 92 pages; $15.00
ISBN 978-0-9816711-6-1, paper
http://www.thesamepress.com/

Reviewed by Melinda Thomsen

At first, when presented with the opportunity to review The Ghost of Every Day, I was thrilled, but when I got down to write, I found it hard to begin. This was Phil Miller's last collection, and because of my addiction to his poems, the thought of reaching the end of my supply was devastating. Luckily, these poems, like all great literature, are so endlessly satisfying that I know I will be cuddling up with these "ghosts" until I leave my own, and I am extremely grateful to Nancy Eldredge, Phil's wife, for making sure I got my final fix.

In this collection of over 60 ghost poems, Miller moves the reader through the world of flesh and spirit in a couple of ways. The first one is chronologically, as the opening poems are set in the winter and are sequenced to finish in the autumn. This progression gives a physical layer of order while the poems simultaneously fluctuate between the physical and spiritual, surfacing through different perspectives. Sometimes the poems reflect the point of view of the ghost, as in "The Ghost of the Great Depression," where the ghost tells us the reason why he haunts the era he does. On the other hand, we see the ghost as the other or outside entity, as in "Late Night Drinking with Father," but Miller's other is the one that we all are, so ghosts are never entirely separate from the living but in fact blend into us.  Read Review



 

SOMETHING LIKE HAPPINESS, SOMETHING LIKE GRIEF:
Etcetera's Mistress Poems by Thom Ward

Etcetera's Mistress

Etcetera's Mistress
by Thom Ward

Accents Publishing, 2011; 57 pages : $10.00
ISBN: 978-1-936628-03-2, paper
http://www.accents-publishing.com/etceterasmistress.html

Reviewed by George Wallace

The prose poem is a favored genre of long standing, and when coupled with modernist philosophical tension, produces poetry not just of playful dalliance or incidental cleverness, but memorable flowers of evil grown in the horribly rich bed of existential soil.  Read Review