Anyone who thinks of poetry as a hermetic art form has not read Jennifer Maiden. A keen and articulate observer of current affairs and trends, Maiden’s work explores a political and sociological landscape through the lens of poetic vision. This analysis takes many forms, often in multi-genred pieces that transcend essay, fiction, biography and poetry. In spite of the mixed literary forms, there is a consistency in characters, themes, and in approaches across Maiden’s oeuvre that makes for an accumulative effect.
All poems are reflective of universal human experiences. The poems are short and uncomplicated. Mirsadeghi shares poems on self and eros love, friendship, sadness, longing, pain, heartbreak, and healing. Some of the poems are heart wrenching. I heard a desperate plea for love’s understanding and reciprocity. The reader is invited to share in this heartache and sadness.
It’s hard to think of Sakr as an emerging voice – his work seems to have been everywhere over the past few years. The work in These Wild Houses has such a strong sense of assurance. This is an impressive and very moving collection that not only explores the important terrains of both everyday and institutional racism, the migrant experience, identity politics, trauma and grief, but that also presents a deeply personal and moving story that very deliberately draws the reader in and invites collusion and connection.
Rich and sweeping, Coined words are coins, Everything has a glint to it—even sound is lush—I want to crawl in the poems, A review of them (the poems, the book) could only be a poem itself.
The flight motif is also apparent and points to the necessity of progress (as in becoming a better self). This advice at first glance is self-evident, something that we all, or most of us, already know. But there is depth to Pobo’s poetry and that is why it is worth subsequent glances.
Many of the poems in the collection challenge the identity of the object in question. A loaf of bread becomes spies wearing raincoats, soap becomes dirty, and maps become the very cause of being lost. The dichotomous nature of the writing allows one to ponder about how the identity of something changes as it finishes its assigned purpose.
Carol Smallwood has the talent of making scientific concepts artistic. Her previously published poetry collection In Hubble’s Shadow also deals with science and the mysteries of the universe. Her writing includes a unique combination of traditional poems along with contemporary creations.
Signs speak, horror rises through the floorboards, Hedge-Triffids surround the houses, and children poke sticks at dead possums. There is everywhere a clash between life and death; decay and renewal. Though Goodbye, Cruel explores painful places in a way that cuts deeply, ultimately the work is affirmative, moving back and forth into the particular and outwards into the universal. Smith does an exceptional job of bridging the gap between the absurd, the tragic and the domestic, turning it all into something tender and sublime.
There is something instinctual here, with freedom at the base. Perhaps this is why Cardona features animals in her poetry. They remind us that we too are instinctual and that this part of us can be in motion more often if less constrained by the mind. But we must not move away too quickly from the mind. Imagination lives there. This lesson, too, is in Cardona’s work, as the poet is “gardener of memories” (Ouranoupolis Pantoum 45).
Nuernberger’s unique understanding of her world illustrated in her work is a blend of the realistic and the fantastical in each of her characters and poems. It is Nuernberger’s outside-the-box perspective that is so striking and profound for a reader in The End of Pink.