Nature Store by Mary Kasimor (dancing girl press & studio, 2017)
Reviewed by Ann Tweedy
Mary Kasimor is an experimental poet who has published
numerous books and chapbooks and who, more recently, has begun to establish
herself as a visual artist. Now retired,
she served for many years as a professor at a technical college in
Minnesota. She describes her art as
being like her poetry in that it is “very experimental and abstract.” She uses thread, ink and paint (watercolor or
acrylic). Her paintings, reminiscent of
Rothko’s early work, have soft shapes connected by wavy lines which are set
against a colorful background. Her
poetry is imagistic and non-linear and often explores gender and other social
justice issues, along with her own experiences.
Landscape of The Wait by Jami Macarty (Finishing Line Press, 2017)
Derived from the ancient word for “watching,” waiting seems especially relegated to the human animal. Waiting implies the existence of a thought process as well as biology–a stasis, a trance. The state implies a wish, as a reaction to time and action. It makes sense that the literature of waiting has ancient origins, and that the sub-genre thrives during war. The world’s most important epics are also part of the body of the literature of waiting. The Odyssey and Penelope’s wait, and The Aeneid and Dido’s wait are two of our most essential examples. Naturally, the literature of waiting thrived during World War II, when Yehuda Amichai wrote the marvelous poem I heard him read in Hebrew and in English at the Hillel Center at UCLA in the 1990’s, where he said, in essence, that the war was not worth the poems made by the light of warfare. It begins
Out of three or four in a room,
One is always standing at the window.
Forced to see the injustice among the thorns,
The fires on the hills.
Gas, Food, and No Lodging by Devi Laskar (Finishing Line Press, 2017)
The term “interculturality” has been widely used in pedagogic and academic settings to contextualize the interactions between individuals from two or more cultures. Rather than speaking about others and their differences, an interculturally competent individual seeks to establish a dialogue that acknowledges diversity and, at the same time, focuses on aspects that make communication possible and that enable an understanding of another person’s culture. In a world where borders are becoming increasingly porous, more and more writers address these exchanges in their work from a variety of perspectives, sometimes as observers, others as insiders. Such is the work of poets Erika Sanchez, Javier Zamora, Juan Felipe Herrera, Layli Longsoldier, Natalie Diaz, Sherman Alexie, Li-Young Lee or Jaswinder Bolina, to mention just a few. Continue reading
Grist by Kate Peterson (Floating Bridge Press, 2016)
Reviewed by Rebecca Valley
During my freshman year at Bennington College, a dance professor making a desperate attempt to teach us about our own bodies described the skeletal system as the scaffolding on which the body is built. She told us that often, in the study of anatomy, students discover a favorite system, one that they relate to most closely. In this anatomical personality test, I wasn’t invested in the names of folded muscle, the bundled, sensitive nerves, the rivers and tributaries of the circulatory system. Like Kate Peterson, I was a woman interested in bones. Continue reading