Category: Poetry Reviews

A review of Curses and Wishes by Carl Adamshick

Regardless of topic, from war, oyster bars, junk yards, to fluency, the reader never finds a word out of place, over frilly phrases or rigid format. Instead, the poet offers clear language, with specificity of detail and style that meets the needs of the poem.

A review of Prayers waiting for God by David Barnes

The blurb on the back says it all: “This is David Barnes’ first and last book.” That David ever came to be a poet is a kind of miracle in itself. He’s an unlikely candidate. A ward of the state, placed in institutions and physically and sexually abused – there was little likelihood that he would become a functioning adult, let alone a loving one who could have a happy relationship, a much-loved son a self-deprecating sense of humour – or a writing career.

A review of Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein

I’ve always found the term ‘experimental literature’ to be unsatisfactory, since it begs so many questions. For a start, what hypothesis is being tested? Then again, how would you know that the experiment – if such it is – has been successful? Only if the hypothesis has been confirmed? Yet what if the experiment had done its job, by providing a rigorous trial?

A review of Selected Poems of Dorothy Hewett edited by Kate Lilley

By the time the work gets to “Days of Violence days of Rages”, the extended poem becomes an incantation of pain moving Alice through an entire lifetime of sex, communism, childbirth, betrayal, loneliness, illness and death. It’s both intensely powerful and at the same time, self-indulgent and bitter.

A review of Whose Cries Are Not Music by Linda Benninghoff

I especially liked when she reaches a moment of spirituality in “Dream” that has a happy, feel to it “… Your eyes quivering in the light / Where is God / But in a dream where / the light between us, always yellow …” hints that there is something more one can obtain beyond our life.

A review of Reading Modernist Poetry by Michael H. Whitworth

Although the price is rather steep, even for a textbook, this isn’t a book you can just read through, put back on the shelf and forget. For those that want an insight, both as reader, and perhaps more valuably, as writer, into the techniques of poetry in general, and those specific to the giants of poetry that make up the ultra-influential modernist movement, this is a book that can be returned to regularly. It is well structured, well researched, clearly written, and full of innovative insights.

A review of Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Though Millay plays to the gallery a bit, mindful that she has a bit of a reputation to keep up (Byron did it too), she is a poet of substance. This fine, generous selection of her poetry includes also Aria da Capo, a one-act verse drama about xenophobia and the suspicion of the stranger.

A review of Into the Yell by Sarah James

jpg” align = “left”> Throughout the book, the imagery is always powerful – drawing from myth, fairy tales, a painter’s palette, Blake, medical terminology, the beautician’s rooms, the seaside, and above all, the natural world.