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A Journey Beyond the Baggage of Pronouns In the tradition of Hafez, Rumi and Al Arabi

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Wayfaring Book Cover Wayfaring
Tikuli
Poetry
Leaky Boot Press
November 20, 2017
Paperback
136
978-1909849549

You is the crucial word in this riverine collection of poems. In their often apostrophic poise they recall Louis Malle's Phantom India (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantom_India), the 1969 film that memorably traces the bloodstream of the subcontinent.

When a poet says the I word once too often poems become forests of girders, obstructing our vision. But the poet Tikuli uses the word to stir the elements of nostalgia, melancholy and fragility until all are ennobled. That is the role of the word I in her alchemical project.

 

We think of epic poems as recounting the past, But this epic is about what is happening now

in Book Reviews/Poetry by
The Valley of the Eight Book Cover The Valley of the Eight
Matt Bialer
Poetry
Leaky Boot Press
November 20, 2017
Paperback
230
978-1909849518

 

Brilliantly syncopated, wired with jazzy riffs, toe-tappingly hypnotic, Matt Bialer's epic poem, The Valley of the Eight, recounts at least three kinds of searches and many more kinds of searchers.

  • A father and daughter seek common ground in spite of their differences.
  • A creationist’s daughter seeks the remains of Noah's Ark in eastern Anatolia. Her father seeks common ground with her and her willful, quirky son.
  • Vikings search beyond Greenland in Newfoundland and New England.
  • An archaeologist seeks to maintain an old friendship and to re-energize his life.
  • A Tennessee nurse to whom miracles were attributed seeks—and believes he has found—Noah's Ark.
  • A poet seeks to weave the seemingly dissimilar strands of science, technology, love, ornithology, mythology, religion and disbelief into a breathtaking and often breathless song.

A poet who shows us how to redefine what we claim is topical and relevant

in Book Reviews/Poetry by
Dear All Book Cover Dear All
Maggie Anderson
Poetry
Four Way Books
September 5, 2017
Paperback
88
978-1-935536-97-0

 

Fatal overconfidence pervades the American sensibility when it comes to defining topicality and relevance. We assume we know because tastemakers and gatekeepers tell us what we know. Maggie Anderson’s fifth book of poetry, Dear All, challenges that, as the inclusive title promises.

Our overconfidence is rooted in the confounding of market with merit. We think what sells, what promises to sell, what talks overtly about what’s in the news, as our media define the news, is topical and relevant. But poetry and art and music—witness Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do,” as a popular example—redefine news under our noses. That’s the particular power of country music, its relevance.

Making Room

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Making Room Book Cover Making Room
Djelloul Marbrook Books
Djelloul Marbrook
Leaky Boot Press
November 1, 2017
Paperback
172
978-1909849297

An artist creates a magical room for a young psychiatrist’s adopted infant nephew—a room with the heavens projected above and hideaways in the walls. To help him, he recruits a metallurgist haunted by a disturbed upbringing. As the three build this fantastic space, a rewarding friendship unfolds.

“... for those who entertain the subversive notion that the gifts with which they entered the world were lost—but may yet be recovered.”—Onlineoriginals.com (UK)

“This enchanting novella is a delicately wrought homage to Jung’s famous principle of meaningful coincidence...”Breakfast All Day, UK

Opening Cavafy’s wounds to probe onanism in literature

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Clearing the Ground: C.P. Cavafy, Poetry and Prose, 1902-1911 Book Cover Clearing the Ground: C.P. Cavafy, Poetry and Prose, 1902-1911
Martin McKinsey
Translations and Essay
Laertes Press, Chapel Hill, NC
2015
Softcover
163
978-1-942281-00-9

 

Clearing the Ground is an exhumation and exquisite, sometimes excruciating examination of autoeroticism in poetry, in this instance the spartan oeuvre of C.P. Cavafy.
Or it can be considered an opening of old wounds with an eye to removing the shards sealed in them and exposing their facets to new light.

There is still use for the biblical term for autoeroticism: onanism. Onan (meaning strong) is a minor biblical person in the Book of Genesis chapter 38, who was the second son of Judah. Like his older brother Er, Onan was slain by God. Onan's death was retribution for being "evil in the sight of the Lord" through being unwilling to father a
child by his widowed sister-in- law. Instead, he “spilled his seed” on the ground: coitus interruptus.

A Warding Circle

in Book Reviews by
A Warding Circle Book Cover A Warding Circle
Djelloul Marbrook Books
Djelloul Marbrook
Poetry
Leaky Boot Press
May 1, 2017
Paperback
978-1909849211

 

The magical warding circle on the cover is called "Conjured Harm Returns to the Sender." A beautiful young artist struck by lightning in the Catskills shows the reader just how returning harm to the sender works in the New York art world, where jealousy, not talent, often decides the lives of artists like Artemisia.

The character of Artemisia is brilliantly drawn: she’s funny and smart, and the reader empathizes with her plight throughout. Her razored sense of humor rubs other characters the wrong way, and we absolutely love her for it. But perhaps the book’s most stunning achievement is the sharply drawn character of Nuala Gwilt... a woman who has somehow survived for decades in the male-dominated art world, and ... has the battle scars to prove it ... she displays her flesh wounds along with her fangs, so her contempt and jealousy of Artemisia come as no surprise.

Tommy Zurhellen, author of Armageddon, Texas

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