Category: Poetry Reviews

A review of ​Cubist States of Mind/Not the Cruelest Month​ by Marc Jampole

If anything is consistent throughout Jampole’s work, it is its semiotic density. ​Cubist States of Mind/Not the Cruelest Month​ can feel like a lightning-quick read from cover-to-cover-to-cover, but begs to be re-read. The moment one closes the book, one has the peculiar sensation of having read it years ago, its contents so intricately layered that memory alone can only render the broad strokes.

A review of Broken Ground by Steve Armstrong

Broken Ground is a wonderful collection, deeply rooted in the natural world: in stone, eucalypt, “mounds of spinifex”, and above all, in an exploration of how life is created though language, recollection, in the precision of our natural world, and above all in the connections that we build over the short space of our lives

A review of Rail by Kai Carlson-Wee

Kai Carlson-Wee’s debut book Rail embarks on a never-ending journey that montages places in his life, from a freight train to apartments to highways to skate parks to the rolling hills of the prairie to a dumpster. At the heart of the narrative, Carlson-Wee discusses life on the road, spiritual poverty, addiction, liminal spaces, and the erasure of America’s past.

A review of sing out when you want me by Kerri Shying

sing out when you want me is a powerful collection which reads easily but continues to reveal secrets and expand outward with each re-reading.  The mostly short poems stay with you, becoming little charms against all of our inevitable deteriorations. It is all about “keeping going” which, in the face of pain, poverty, confinement, medical visits, the poking and prodding of life itself, becomes a heroic, transcendent act

A review of Beatific Toast by Anna Forsyth

Beatific Toast is a poetry collection that is as rich with silence and music as it is with semantical meaning.  Though the book is only fifty nine pages long – chapbook size – there is a lot of ground covered, with poetry open enough to encourage and reward multiple re-readings. These are poems are charged by sound, by light, by colour and scent, inviting the reader to join in, to participate, not just by reading the work but by moving with it.

A review of How It Is: Selected Poems by Neil Shepard

And savored these poems should be. Shepard is an exceptional and emphatic writer, with a sharp eye for the telling detail, for landscapes both real and emotional, and for hearing the music in words, as well as in the sounds of the natural world. It’s not just the way his poems and his birds sing, but his poems can startle the senses of the reader with their rich scents as well.

A review of Brink by Jill Jones

The poems take us to the brink of who we are in many aspects: animal, alien, destroyers, inhabitants, lovers, indivudals and collectives. These are poems that make no concessions to humanity’s frailties. We’re about to reap what we’ve sown and all of these exquisite conceits may be illusions against time’s inevitable collapse: “but all these vapours will be unmade” (“The Woodland Chapel”), and yet there is something audaciously beautiful, subversive and permanent in the moment of our experience, in the placement and play of language and in the almost languid sensuality of touch.

A review of Green Point Bearings by Kathryn Fry

Though the poems in Green Point Bearings are grounded in the natural world and are rooted  in place, particularly Lake Macquarie, the Hunter and Northern Sydney, there is also something a bit magical in these poems.  There is a mystery in this natural world that is inexplicable, arising from the spaces in which the poems are contained, in the rock, the trees, the flowers and shrubs that are everywhere and still precious, always in motion and changing: “Everything here speaks of infinity”.

A review of Fig Tree in Winter by Anne Graue

While familiarity with and reverence for Plath’s work enhances the poems of Fig Tree in Winter, this collection is strong enough to stand on its own. Each poem is accessible and beautiful. The words and ideas are clear. The themes are relatable, and the thoughts which get explored are deep. Graue’s collection truly compliments Plath’s legacy.

A review of Domestic Interior by Fiona Wright

The observations are visceral, coming from within a strong sense of the body.  Thinness and its relationship to illness is a continual theme, though very different to the analytical approach of Small Acts of Disappearance.  In Domestic Interior the perceptions are simultaneously more delicate and more intense, drawing the reader directly into the deepest heart of pain. The body and its relationship to food informs nearly every perception.