The poems are dense, lusty in the old sense of the word—in their intentness on the uniqueness of each contemplated experience. McCarthy’s metaphors are fresh and lovely; line-by-line, the writing is often astonishingly beautiful.
Eliana Gray’s latest poetry collection, Eager to Break, is assured, quiet, charming, and intense all at the same time. The work engages directly and openly with inherently distressing themes like sexual violence, mental illness, fear, PTSD and its many manifestations and loss, but always, and perhaps uniquely, with a muted joy – as if the opportunity to play with words this way, against such pain, were a gift.
Belief is an elaborate mosaic where the tiles are words; paradoxes, satire and the vernacular adorn the pages of this beautifully crafted book. Belief is divided into seven sections, each section opens a door to two worlds: one the writer’s imagination and psyche and the other opens to the external world.
There is an exuberance here; a delight in the word, in the construction of the self, the abnegation of the self, and in the sheer pain and joy of living, losing, and loving, that comes through each of the poems.
Sandra Yannone’s brave poems contribute to popular history of the time, flooding us with the arc, the ache, of family and lesbian relationships in her first full-length collection. Some poems live in heartbreak, some, in ecstatic joy. They are worthy of many rereads.
To understand the poetry of Robert McDowell, it is important to see him through the lens of the late, great poet Philip Levine, whom Robert McDowell recalls proclaiming, “Robert, he’s his own cat!” In a way that is prophetic and unique, Robert McDowell enters the circus of human stories, and tells them wryly, reminding us that humor exists even in some of our darkest and bleakest moments.
As with all of Maiden’s books, brookings: a noun is powerfully astute and thought-provoking, pulling together disparate ideas, deep emotion, and critical thinking and empathy in places where they’re often not found. Above all though, Maiden is a poet’s poet, with a rich lyrical ear.
Braziel’s lyrical, captivating voice will no doubt only get richer and stronger as she continues to write. Yet, the young voice she has now is so fine, lovely, true, and strong. Readers can only begin to imagine what might come next from this rising star of modern poetry.
Delightfully so, this turns out to have been an undertaking Libby Weber pulls off with grace and aplomb. The result of her bold experiment in poetry is a lovely, thick book of sonnets that vary in mood, topic, and with some variation in format.
Readers used to poetry collections or volumes where the prose knows if it is fiction or nonfiction might at first be perplexed by the way genre boundaries are transgressed or redrawn this time around. But my bet is that those who come with a spirit of adventure will be rewarded by the irreverence and innovation on almost every page. Visits and Other Passages provides enough threads of a motif that knits up a quest myth, patterns of loss and recovery, and the power of visitation.