Rutkowski ruminates on so many of the little things that usually escape notice. Three poems are devoted to a pet turtle. Imagine that, a turtle, the very definition of a slow-moving, boring thing. Yet in poems like “Turtle’s Cold Day,” we see Rutkowski actually worrying about the animal because of subtle anomalies in her behavior. In “Head Scratching” he observes that he knows why she stretches her legs – “to cool off.” But he’s puzzled by the reason behind her scratching her head. Could it be a mosquito?
So many of these poems are littered with broken hearts and relationships gone sour, feelings of foreboding and loneliness and vulnerability. The second reference to “girls like us” comes in “Diagnosis III,” which highlights the incipient violence lurking everywhere. It begins: “Girls like you, he spat, / his breath laden with smoke / and Svedka….” It ends: “Girls like / you, he repeated, leaving me / a blank to fill.”
The writer ranges in subjects from friends long-dead to the pleasure of drinking tea, watching a sunset, or smelling your child’s hair. As Dougherty touches on these many subjects and themes, one is taken in by the compassion in his approach.
For anyone who thinks poetry needs to be experimental, difficult, overly-complex, or high-blown, Not What You Think is the antidote. Gormley’s poetry book is a pleasure to read and even more of a pleasure to read aloud. If you’re able to catch Gormley performing his work, that’s the ideal, as these are poems that are not only able to be sung, but work perfectly accompanied by acoustic guitar and a wry vernacular, but they also work beautifully on the page.
I like to say that Stanley Park kept me reading with enthusiasm and intrigue, not only because of the pristine imagery, the hint of mythology and fantasy, the veiled politics, the sad and happy remembrances, but also because I, being such a romantic, I wanted to know if the two women, like the cliché says: lived happy ever after Stanley Park is a book about love a book to be loved.
This book of poetry is part of Wesley’s mission to bear witness to the pain in her homeland. With her family’s good fortune to live in America, she writes of children in the poem, “This Is The Real Leaving,” that “They may never know / why I’m angry that there’s food in my fridge // while others starve.”
The 95 page book contains only three poems, but they are grand, long, and epic, taking up space and working across time. Each of the poems relates to one another and are connected through the act described in the title of the first poem:“Isn’t the act of placing flowers on a tomb a gesture of bringing a little life back to the dead?” Taken collectively, the work is an elegy; a meditation on death and time, inheritance and love.
Crozier sometimes finds nature in surprising things. She says, of “Key I”, “perhaps it is not a key but a long-thoraxed praying mantis about to grow legs and walk away.” Of Key II, she writes: “Is it called skeleton because it unlocks the mystery of bones?” Here “nature” is human nature, the human mind’s ability to free associate and make connections.
The photographs presented here also portray the multiple dimensions and complexity of life. Every photo has a unique message to convey which is picked up on by the poet as she explores the sensations, feelings, hopes and struggles reflected in the images. Urban Reflections is a unique collaboration – beautifully presented and deeply meaningful.
Many of Sarai’s lines have the declarative emphasis of aphorisms. “Easier to make an enemy than beef Wellington” begins the poem, “Call Me Sheena.” “Tenderness isn’t necessary but there it is / like a chemical we write to Congress about,” she writes in “Not Simple Is Joy nor Cosmology.” “Wedding planners are a food group,” she writes in “A Scarlet Moss,” “So is roast beef.”