Review: The Voice of That Singing by Juliet Rodeman

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The Voice of That Singing by Juliet Rodeman (Tupelo Press, 2017)

Reviewed by Michelle Mitchell-Foust

Early in Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Mirror, a child watches the family barn burning behind their country house. It’s raining. His young mother watches too, her back to the camera, the water dripping off the porch awning. Still the barn burns. No urgency, as though a barn burning is a natural part of the landscape. Over the course of the film, in every room of the country house, the watcher has the feeling that the child, the narrator—Tarkovsky’s voice reciting his father’s poems–is living at once every age of his life. Continue reading

Local Forecast: Whirlwind @ Lesbos by Risa Denenberg

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Whirlwind @ Lesbos by Risa Denenberg (Headmistress Press, 2016)

Reviewed by Rebecca Valley

After a long hiatus, I’ve returned to our Local Forecast series on writers of the Pacific Northwest with a book that, while written by a local, is remarkably worldly. Whirlwind @ Lesbos, the latest collection by Seattlite Risa Denenberg, is aptly named – the poems in this collection pull from the deepest corners of the poet’s memory and are juxtaposed together to create a sensual, painful epic where a lover is lost at the same moment, or perhaps even before, she is found, and ghosts churn, only occasionally showing their faces. Continue reading

Review: Rain of the Future by Valerie Mejer

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Rain of the Future by Valerie Mejer (Action Books, 2013) Trans. by Forrest Gander, C.D. Wright, and A.S. Zelman-Doring

Reviewed by Rebecca Valley

In her book Rain of the Future, Valerie Mejer begins underwater. She writes:

 

“In the green water I saw your eye and in it I saw that Arabian palace

filled with birds and broken glass.

My sun-baked body at the edge,

wind in my lungs, its whistle,

my torn world, my grief,

my soggy passport, my shell with no pearl,

you lift them, delicate cloud, into a liquid world.” (15)

Continue reading

SNOW: Hyperboreal by Joan Naviyuk Kane

41lqajq58il-_sy344_bo1204203200_Hyperboreal by Joan Naviyuk Kane (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013 / Pitt Poetry Series)

Reviewed by Rebecca Valley

Joan Naviyuk Kane begins her collection Hyperboreal with a question: “June really isn’t June anymore, / Is it?” (3). It is a question that echoes, unanswered, as ice melts throughout Kane’s collection, creating a steady, solemn drip that reverberates until the very last poem. It is a collection of survival, of singing, and a collection dedicated to place — specifically, the ancestral land of the poet. Continue reading

Editor’s Note: Introducing SNOW

Special Feature 1: SNOW

Writing from the northernmost reaches of the globe

Though I live now in a place of mild, drizzly winters where the trees stay green and the sidewalks clear even in the middle of January, as a child I spent nearly six months of every year trapped inside, gazing out the window at a landscape of ice and snow. I was raised in northern Vermont, about an hour south of Montreal and a few hours north of anywhere notable, and I still remember vividly the slate grey winter sky, the long sheets of black ice over asphalt, the high, squeaking sound of boots against snow when the temperature dipped below zero and even the packed ice screamed from the cold. Continue reading

Review: Queen of Pentacles by Audrey T. Carroll

51wzw1kqlyl-_sx322_bo1204203200_Queen of Pentacles by Audrey T. Carroll (Choose the Sword Press, 2016)

Reviewed by Hannah Cohen

When looking through my tarot deck one night, I picked out the Queen of Pentacles card and thought about her meaning. When upright, she is motherly, down-to-earth, and warm—when reversed, she is a woman in a toxic environment, neglected and imbalanced. Her identity, along with all the good and bad it comes with, permeates Queen of Pentacles, Audrey T. Carroll’s first poetry collection about mental illness, being queer, and the healing (as well as the destruction) that comes from the feminine self. Continue reading

Local Forecast: Grist by Kate Peterson

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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

Local Forecast: The Body’s Alphabet by Ann Tweedy

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The Body’s Alphabet by Ann Tweedy (Headmistress Press, 2016)

Reviewed by Rebecca Valley

For more in our Local Forecast series on authors of the Pacific Northwest, click here.

Ann Tweedy’s collection The Body’s Alphabet is a book of in-betweens – in-between homes, in-between loves, in-between sexualities. It is a book about motherhood and memory, and the space we keep for our childhood long after we have grown up around it. Though Tweedy begins The Body’s Alphabet with the lines “I tread through / the world mindful that upsets / follow unguarded movement” (1), over the course of the collection she finds strength in those quiet and delicate moments, and in doing so steps out from her own carefully crafted betweenness to affirm her presence in the work. Continue reading