A review of While Listening to the Enigma Variations by Diane Frank

As the title of Diane Frank’s stunning collection of new and selected poems suggests, with its reference to Edward Elgar’s exquisite orchestral suite, music is an important theme throughout her work. Dance, spirituality, dreams, and love are as well. They all add up to profound wisdom and convey a sense of joyfulness.

A review of Know Your Country by Kerri Shying

Shying never puts on airs, using words with absolute precision. The work has many themes and encompasses several, often competing realities. The most prevalent one pivots around the notion of identity. One’s country is not just the place you live or come from, but also its history, and what it has come to represent. It is not just nationhood, but the earth beneath your feet, the flora, and fauna, the space of the heart.

New giveaway!

We have a copy of All’s Fair And Other California Stories by Linda Feyder to give away!

To win, sign up for our Free Newsletter on the right hand side of the site and enter via the newsletter. Winner will be chosen by the end of August from subscribers who enter via the newsletter.   Good luck!

A review of Life in a Field by Katie Peterson

When I look at a donkey’s face (there are two in a photograph on the book’s cover), I see a vulnerability in the expression, coming from the slant of the eyes and the slight silliness in the largeness of the ears, suggesting a melancholy that leads me to suspect the animal might do better with a bit of attention or comforting. In a horse’s face, by contrast, I see something sturdy and handsome. The central image that drives this book is a child speaking softly into a donkey’s ear. The poignancy of this scene is never emphasized or exploited, which allows the emotion to expand in its own way, having a gradual effect on the reader.

A review of Mario Writes a Poem a Day for a Year, and So Can You by Mario Milosevic

Why write poetry? Milosevic says it sharpens your mind, encourages concise writing, helps you appreciate the world, and most of all is fun. He encourages aspiring poets to “take advantage of the long tradition of verse” by familiarizing themselves with the work of other poets. I was pleased with this, as aspiring poets who have asked my help too often displayed total ignorance of great works of the past. Milosevic also tells budding poets to trust their instincts, quoting Allen Ginsberg’s principle: “First thought, best thought.”

An Interview with Dennis “Mitch” Maley

Dennis “Mitch” Maley, a Bradenton, Florida journalist and author, delves into harsh historical events in his newest book, Burn Black Wall Street Burn (Punk Rock Publishing June 2021), and he does so with verve, talent, and force. Told through the eyes of several characters, the book is a riveting, up close and personal story of one of America’s ugliest moments. Written as historical fiction, or “dramatized history,” the book is accurate, but goes beyond the hard facts to vividly tell an intimate story of many lives at the center of a tragedy.

New giveaway!

We have a copy of Your Next Level Life: 7 Rules of Power, Confidence, and Opportunity for Black Women in America by Karen Arrington to give away!

To win, sign up for our Free Newsletter on the right hand side of the site and enter via the newsletter. Winner will be chosen by the first of August from subscribers who enter via the newsletter.   Good luck!

Lend Me Your Wings by Lillo Way

In this new collection by the accomplished Lillo Way, the reader is transported from earth to sky and beyond by lyrical and visionary poems. This work pulls against the gravity and mortality of life on planet earth. Within each unique tableau we learn secrets for transcendence: the importance of perspective, light and dark as an extended metaphor for wholeness, and the indomitable energy of music and dance.

A review of A Quilt for David by Steven Reigns

Like the AIDS Quilt itself to which the title alludes, A Quilt for David is a memorial to victims of the AIDS epidemic that swept up hundreds of thousands of lives in the last forty years, in the same scary way the COVID pandemic has killed so many people in 2020. Only, this memorial for David Acer memorializes more than the victims of the HIV virus. It also revisits the homophobic hysteria that drove so much of the narrative. “All of them emboldened by…a mute president,” as Reigns writes in one of the 79 untitled meditations (both poems and prose pieces) that make up this breathtaking collection.