Category: Poetry Reviews

Robert McDowell’s Narratives in Quiet Money and The Diviners

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.

A review of brookings: the noun by Jennifer Maiden

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.

A review of Known by Salt by Tina Mozelle Braziel

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.

A review of Visits and Other Passages by Carol Smallwood

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.

A review of Circus By Deonte Osayande

It takes courage to decide to live and share ones most intimate and authentic self. Osayande’s poems are personal glimpses into his life. Collectively they are viewed by the author as bizarre, beautiful and tragic. Relationships, loving and life can be complex and present as a compilation of these.

Heartbreaking Gulfs: A Review of Contiguous States By Richard Levine

One distinguishing feature of this collection may not be noticed by the reader right away, and that is it is not a collection constructed linearly. Unlike so many poetry collections, it is not a series of poems building to a point. It is, rather, as its title suggests, a poetry of juxtaposed conditions or states.

A review of Where the Lost Things Go By Anne Casey

Where the Lost Things Go is a powerful book. The immediate accessibility of the poetry does not diminish the impact of the work, which moves through key moments in life, tracking grief, loss, ageing, parenting, and what it means to take a stance in a world where the need for compassion as a political gesture–deep-seated humanism–is greater than it has ever been.