Category: Poetry Reviews

A review of Arsenal / Sin Documentos by Francesco Levato

Levato declutters (and de-bullshits) the pages with margin-to-margin mark-outs with a thick-ass Sharpie. His omissions reveal the national publications’ foundational intentions—to legally dehumanize and inflict harm on Latin American bodies in the name of the American state. This book is going to piss you off.

A review of Daddy by Michael Montlack

Beautifully written, these haunting poems pay tribute to brave men who were thrust into the AIDS crisis, and in the midst of fear and death, supported each other in hospitals across America. There are poems about first dates, Valentines, vacations, and break-ups. There is also a lot of humor in this section, through curious and endearing situations that are entertaining to readers of all sexual orientations.

A review of Catastroika by Charles Rammelkamp

If you, my reader, like history and poetry you will love Catastroika, a fascinating book in which the poet, in narrative form, covers a century on Russian history from the point of view of two characters: Maria Rasputin, the daughter of the much maligned Russian spiritualist Rasputin and Alexander Federmesser, a Jewish man who goes by the name of Sasha. 

A review of The Beating Heart by Denise O’Hagan

O’Hagan does a beautiful job of describing the Italy of her childhood—the buildings, fountains, news items, a walk with her parents, conversations, cobblestones, the loss of a friend, or a roadside drive. There’s a sense that every detail is both intensely private, and absolutely important—a universal artefact that must be shared with the reader

A review of The Minor Virtues by Lynn Levin

I don’t usually consider virtue amusing, but Lynn Levin’s new book of poetry The Minor Virtues had me laughing out loud. In a reading I attended, she called it her most cheerful book yet. She said she wanted to focus on not the big virtues like patience and temperance, but what she called the minor virtues that she elicited from paying attention to small moments and looking in deeply.

A review of Sea Glass Catastrophe by Quinn Rennerfeldt

There is music in Sea Glass Catastrophe words flow sometimes in a precipitous way, others with measured and a toned-down cadence with a sprinkle of sharp notes. In this chest of surprises we read poems that tell us of pain and hunger, joy and search, sinning and redemption. Some of the poems are mirrors with many faces, crystals that are coloured by Quinn’s creativity.

A review of Convenient Amnesia by Donald Vincent

This collection by Donald Vincent deserves to be read not just for his lyrical lines but because his poems bring emotional life to a cultural crisis. Books of poetry like Vincent’s convey social and personal histories that affirm and remind, that interrupt tendencies of convenient amnesia.