An award-winning California poet, writer, and public school principal, Dr. Mary Langer Thompson was born in Illinois. She is active in the California Writer’s Club, High Desert Branch, and was California’s Senior Poet Laureate. She has given poetry and writing workshops and has authored poetry, nonfiction, and fiction and is the author of The Gull Who Thought He Was Dull, released by AnotherThinkComing Press in 2018.
Brandi’s prose is consistently beautiful, and the story itself remains compelling and fast paced. The rip metaphor is repeated like a refrain throughout the book, and creates a strong connection between the reader and the protagonist. The Rip is an intense, important read, shining a light on an area that has not been the subject of much art, and encouraging deep empathy, understanding and engagement.
There is also an inherent indeterminacy or multiplicity in the way the story unfolds, so that it is both a domestic story, with sumptuously described meals, personal care/tenderness, tea taking, and small acts of kindness that include buying teddies and dolls and supportive talk between friends, as well as being a story of international espionage involving great acts of big evil: arms dealing, drug dealing, government complicity, murder, and looming war.
The books really triumph, though, in creating a counter-history which fuses the technocratic mastery of the Nevermind agents with a tradition of anti-rationalism, spiritualism and exoticism that runs through the project of western modernity, a swampy seam of conspiracy theories, UFOs, Spiritualism, Theosophy, and pseudo-science.
Ryan Masters is a writer and poet from Santa Cruz, CA. He spent a decade on staff at the Santa Cruz Sentinel and The Monterey County Weekly. He is a frequent contributor to The Surfer’s Journal and former poet-in-residence for the City of Pacific Grove, CA. The author of a chapbook, below the low-water mark, his work has also appeared in publications such as The Iowa Review, Catamaran Literary Reader and Unlikely Stories. Above an Abyss: Two Novellas (Radial Books, 2018) is his first collection of fiction.
The author’s “personal take” is entirely approachable. Her style is conversational, colloquial, and elegant in the sense that the writing is easily understandable because the ideas and suggestions are stated clearly, logically, concisely with good sense and no clutter.
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.
Behind the profane – and sometimes mixed in and virtually indistinguishable – is the sacred, glimpsed in little experiential epiphanies, such as the unexpected response of a homeless man to the gift of a dead lover’s clothes: ‘Have a bleshed day, man.’ Sometimes the gift of happiness is hard to accept, as when Julian’s friend Peter looks love in the eye: ‘It feels like a mistake – this can’t be for me, it’s too good.’
As a backdrop, New York is portrayed not as a place to get lost, but to be found. In its ethnic bars and restaurants, he lets loose to enjoy himself and his mates in all their absurd glory, chanting medieval plainsong over heavy metal playing on the sound system. LaHines’ Someday Everything Will Make Sense is a comedy celebrating transformation that happens in its own due course.
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.