Some things feel personal and dear to the very person that I am. Crush is one of those things. This is a book that makes you want to love and when I say love I mean love as in synonymous to a California forest fire type of love. It's not cheesy in any format. It's not complicated either. From the very first line he starts creating this dream for you, it's his dream, we are just there to witness it yet there is an understanding that at any given point of time you can switch places with him. It is desperate and all consuming for the reader and the writer. This is what love looks like to him, this is what unrequited love did to him.
Ada Limón’s poetry collection The Carrying is a roadmap book for me and the poetry I want to write. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry in 2018, The Carrying shows that the personal, hyper-specific details of our lives can be portals into a shared, communal experience. Limón is a master of atmosphere and mood, and her colloquial poems center on mundane and common events in her life, while expanding into larger questions and concerns about being human. Many of the poems in this collection wrestle with Limón’s struggles with infertility, a subject that hasn’t much been explored in this medium. While crafting poems about this intimate, personal subject, Limón also captures the pervasive feeling in our culture at this moment, the dread of what’s happening to our planet, the concern about our collective future, and the fear that our culture has grown more destructive than creative. In the poem “Trying,” Limón opens with the image of her trellising tomatoes while her husband paints the basement, and she shouts to him, “I’d forgotten how much/I like to grow things” (9). She goes on to write
You know what was brilliant about the opening of this book? I feel like it needed a trigger warning. The narrator is so good at emulating that little voice of anxiety in my head; and if you don't have anxiety LIKE FUCKING ME, after this, you might. It's an excellent way to really set you off, and in this respect, set the mood.
I am usually attracted to the cover, the synopsis, or even the author's name, when I choose a book to read. Then there are other times, when I choose a book by reading the first three sentences on the first page. However, Amanda Lovelace's poetry collection's title was the one that did it this time. the princess saves herself in this one.
Since I’ve moved to California, I have had the good fortune of meeting Rich, who runs the Cholla Needles literary magazine out in Joshua Tree. He was one of the first people I met here. Kind with twinkling eyes, he sat with me awhile for coffee. We talked at length about the vibrant writing community in these parts.
Baseball has long been admonished for being too slow, too boring form of entertainment. Alan Harris proves those critiques to be wrong. He uses this sport has a vehicle to talk about life, death and the moments in between. His writing perfectly depicts those players and spectators who are quite ready to go home by the game's end and those who want to play just one more round of catch, just watch one more game. Harris' collection Fall Ball is chock full of a powerful somberness, a sardonic wit, mournful stanzas and the inevitability of death. In short, it is a beautiful work of poetry.
Robert A. Cozzi’s Kaleidoscope of Colors may shock readers when they feel its heft in their hands. It is quite a large assortment of poetry. Published by Beach Umbrella Publishing in 2019, Kaleidoscope of Colors is Cozzi’s fifth poetic work. As a poet, he is certainly loquacious—this collection in particular is three hundred and five pages long.
Growth, acceptance, vulnerability, and confusion are the plumage of this feathered little collection. As the readers flip open the yellow cover and make their way through the pages of Sweet Awakening, they will become most aware of the fledgling nature of Patricia Costanzo’s poetry. They will watch it peek out of its newly-cracked egg and tip it over the nest’s edge, embarking on its own sweet awakening. Costanzo’s poetic voice chirps a bit timidly, but it grows a bit bolder with every fresh attempt to cry out into the artistic universe. Unschooled, with no forms but free verse to guide her, this poet refuses to back down from her attempts at poetic flight.
The Luminary wastes no time in creating an appeal to prospective readers. Kimia Madani’s 2017 publication is adorned with an alluring cover; it is saturated with intense blues and blacks, which are interrupted by a blinding light shooting out through the darkness. Its design is uncharacteristically thrilling for a poetry collection. Readers could very well think they are picking up a thin book of suspense, or a fantastical novelette rather than a book of poems. Of course, the argument could be made that The Luminary is all those aspects of the literary world combined.
Stephen Page's tall tale inspired poetry is back with more dream like language and tension than ever in The Salty River Bleeds. It is full of descriptions of hard farm life, daydreams and countless moments of human failings. Although this most recent collection, which will be released later this year, is a continuation of Jonathan the rancher's story, the poetry also sows new characters into the readers' imaginations and harvests tantalizing, rich details about old familiar faces.
Bittersweet, complex energies wrestle through the verses of Marjorie Maddox's Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation. Published in 2004 through Wipf and Stock Publishers, this set of poetry is markedly different from her work in Local News from Somewhere Else. In the latter collection, Maddox's tone is more distraught and full of sympathy for its subjects, the happenings of the wider world, whereas in the aforementioned work Maddox focuses in a more factual matter on microcosms: the immediate family, personal faith, and the functions of the human body.
"Probably twilight makes the blackness dangerous"—Terrence Hayes