“You Are No Damsel in Distress:” An Interview with Susan Vannatta by Bianca Glinskas

A Brief Disclaimer: Susan, author of Whiskey Letters (Arroyo Secco Press 2018) and I met in college while attending California State University of Long Beach. We had just about every class together, and so our friendship was sealed by fate. I have heard many stories from these pages firsthand and I have seen many of the pieces which appear in Whiskey Letters in their earliest drafts. I have also witnessed her personal growth and artistic development as a friend and fellow poet.

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Review: Sea, Land, Shadow by Kazuko Shiraishi

Sea, Land, Shadow by Kazuko Shiraishi, trans. by Yumiko Tsumara (New Directions Books, 2017)

Reviewed by Clara Guyton

Nicknamed “the Alan Ginsberg of Japan” by Kenneth Rexroth, Kazuko Shiraishi brings readers a sight-seeing drive through the mystical mountains of Japan in her collection Sea, Land, Shadow, complete with sharp turns and curves, moments of awe-inspiring depth and darkness, and instants of effervescent lightheartedness.

“on a mountain road in a traffic jam

I have poetry, so I’m fine…” (8)

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From Ecocide to Ecopoetics: Can Poetry Save Us From Ourselves? by Leonora Simonovis

From Ecocide to Ecopoetics: Can Poetry Save Us From Ourselves?

Written by Leonora Simonovis

In his essay “The Language of the Master,” Paul Kingsnorth argues that language is a form of ecocide because it creates a divide between us and our surrounding reality. The author  observes that language “is both our most effective tool and our most powerful weapon.” It can be –and has been– used to manipulate and control others, as well as to impose worldviews and ways of living. It was what colonizers in the Western hemisphere did, and many of the official languages spoken today are living proof of this fact. They have been legitimized and validated, while other languages –indigenous and creole languages, for example– are either in danger of becoming extinct or only spoken at home.

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Review: Ecstatic Emigre by Claudia Keelan

Ecstatic Émigré: An Ethics of Practice by Claudia Keelan (University of Michigan Press, 2018)

Reviewed by Michelle Mitchell-Foust

To hold a forest dear is easy in Oregon. Where I live, forested land preaches the tenacity of growth, overgrowth, understory. Scented speech, the call and response between plants and plants, and plants and animals, is everywhere, almost terrifying in its abundance. One might say that the forest remains the third terrain of my life, after field and desert. And in its arms I have been fighting the loneliness that comes from a years-long absence of poetry, or rather, my own lines of poetry in conception. Or perhaps I have been listening to an overabundance of words that I can’t place. Regardless, this is not an even exchange–forest for poem-making–but the cursive of branches and the color of eccentric miniature often make the poems of my days. For the time being, searching the characteristics of the smallest visible life is the sublime.

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Review: The After Party by Jana Prikryl

The After Party by Jana Prikryl (Tim Duggan Books, 2016)

Reviewed by Hannah Wyatt

A couple of weekends ago, while wandering through the statuesque dinosaurs and food trucks of my new city, I picked up a $1 copy of Jana Prikryl’s The After Party (Tim Duggan Books, 2016) at a tent sale hosted by Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Library. This being my first read of Prikryl’s work, I was delighted to find that, within the first few lines of the collection, I felt I was reading someone who cared about the world I care about.

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Review: How to Pull Apart the Earth by Karla Cordero

How to Pull Apart the Earth by Karla Cordero (Not A Cult, 2018)

Reviewed by Leonora Simonovis

Featured in Oprah Magazine under the title “17 of the Best Poetry Books, as Recommended by Acclaimed Writers for National Poetry Month” How to Pull Apart the Earth is described by writer Laura Villareal as a journey into “the collective memory found in [the author’s] personal history, reminding us that we are rooted in the same familial tenderness.” The beautifully written 71 poems speak to the author’s identity as a Chicanx/Latinx woman raised in the border town of Calexico and themes of family, migration, and awareness, as well as identity and belonging, are seamlessly weaved throughout.

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Review: Nature Store by Mary Kasimor

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. 

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Review: Take Me With You, Wherever You’re Going by Jessica Jacobs

Take Me With You, Wherever You’re Going by Jessica Jacobs (Four Way Books, 2019)

Reviewed by Risa Denenberg

To read Jessica Jacobs’ newest poetry collection, Take Me with You, Wherever You’re Going (Four Way Books, 2019) is to start out where she began in her first collection, Pelvis with Distance (White Pine Press, 2015; winner of the New Mexico Book Award in Poetry) and left off in In Whatever Light Left to Us (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2016). Each book in this trilogy performs an aria of lesbian love and lesbian sexuality that earns its encore.

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(Inter)-Review: Ends of the Earth by Kate Partridge

Ends of the earth by kate partridge (university of alaska press, 2017)

Reviewed by Bianca Glinskas

 Walt Whitman once described a poem as, “a place to enter, and in which to feel.” While reading Kate Partridge’s Ends of the Earth, I experienced this profound sense of transportation, and emotional surrender–the escapism and vulnerability Whitman refers to. Ends of the Earth is a portal which delivers readers into a poet’s imagination: the inventive, intangible tedium of the poet’s inner-workings, which transform attempts to make sense of the world into an art.

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