Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Night Songs by Kristina Marie Darling

Kristina Marie Darling continues her balance of strong versus delicate characters in her collection Night Songs. Originally published by Gold Wake Press in 2010 and now available by re-release, this collection focuses on music, the glint of nightfall, an audience gripped by the sounds in the music hall, Darling captures the intimate moments of music resonating within the listener and the feel and nature of the surroundings. True to her nature, Darling finds the romance in the details shrouding the reader in a world of dusty velvet folds, the rustle of foliage, the cold wind against the music player and the moon casting its own curious glow. Below I am happy to share a sample of her work:


But the room stayed dark. I’d noticed the cellist’s luminous cufflinks, the uncanny whiteness of his shirt. As the concert ended, I heard nothing but his music, & the cold night pulled each silver pin from her hair. That was when the curtain fell. The audience could only murmur before its folds of dusty velvet. Outside, the evening had been opened like a black umbrella.

I love the sensations described in this piece. A night so cold that it unravels a woman’s hair as she listens to the cellist, the cellist’s music so gripping that the audience can only speak in hushed tones after the curtains fall. I can picture the patrons moving softly into the night deeply moved by the concert and I envy the patrons and wish for all the world I could experience it myself.


On nights like this I would play my cello, the snow like tinfoil under a phosphorescent moon. Before I knew it, you were there, with your handkerchiefs and melancholia. The light on my windowpane, a struck match all aglow. We would take turns cradling the instrument’s long neck, its cavernous belly, watching the cold metal strings shiver and hum. After each chord you’d swallow glittering nerve tablets, whispering: Be still. Be. Still. Its sonorous voice faded with each blue pill. And when the snow eddied and slushed, the cello safe in its towering white box, I took up sainthood to pass the time. On winter mornings my teeth still ache.

I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a poem that turns the cello into something sensual outside of its musicality with such elegance. I wonder about the type of person who needs to take nerve pills in order to play this instrument and I think of writers who also take measures of their own in order to write. The line “I took up sainthood to pass the time” has me eager to find out what this character means, especially since her teeth still ache on winter mornings—I imagine from keeping stress and tension in the jaw line. It’s a beautiful poem and I love being able to create my own backstory from it.


He begins by playing the saddest song he knows, an elegy for each dark red leaf rustling on the trees. And out of it drifts a woman’s voice, ringing like an iron bell into the cold blue night. As if to postpone a change of seasons with her low madrigal, its muted crescendos, the instrument’s stuttering fugue. Yet when the frost sets in, every note becomes an ode, echoing through parched foliage. Within that music, a wilderness. The forest’s dried canopy heaves and sways.

This poem reminds me of solitary walks into the woods or through snow, the musician’s song altering in the mind of the person walking and imagining a woman’s voice instead, the voice amplified by the silence and stillness that surrounds the main character in my own vision of this poem. I love the scene that unfolds, parched foliage, a canopy that “heaves and sways” where you can almost hear the crackling and snapping of branches—a sound I miss since I now live in a warm and humid location that rarely offers this opportunity. Another poem I love just for my own tastes.

If you enjoyed this brief sample as much as I do, you may purchase a copy of Night Songs by Kristina Marie Darling $14.95 at:

Thanks always for reading, please drop by again soon…

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hibernaculum by Sarah E. Colona

Published by Gold Wake Press, Sarah Colona’s Hibernaculum brings vignettes that combine reality and fairy tale. Throughout the pages I encounter familiar creatures, characters, and yet I round the corner and there is the writer and her own tales, two worlds intertwined into a fantastic journey for the reader. I find myself wanting to search out a book of classic fairy tales to prove myself correct and I also want to dive into Ms. Colona’s life and learn more about her grandmother, her life as a newcomer to the South, the world we only get a glimpse of. There are far too many poems I want to share and I am happy to reveal just a tantalizing taste of them to you:


How did the wolf become so hungry?
How did the forest, replete with creatures,
Fail to feed such a cunning beast? Winter,
Not spring, had bitten him quickly—

Pulled her cloak of fur taut over his bones.
Bracken calligraphy swipes canvas.
There now, the path to Gran, frenzied white.
Our girl, a spot of blood, wrung from beetles.

Carmine. Scarlet hood—just so—against the cold.
Have a care with who made introductions.
Motive aside, the wolf politely inquired
After Red’s health and of those she loved.

Evergreen bears no blossom: only votive
Rag tied by our girl’s rosary-wrung hand.
Illness, the word on Red’s lip. Illness, ash-
Written in smoke above Gran’s cottage roof.

Exeunt Red pursued by the wolf. Far off,
An axe with a predatory grin sparks and sharpens.
With the soft clink of Gran’s jewelry box clasp,
Winter closes her jaws—hush now—about her prey.

I love this take on the story of Little Red Riding Hood, the foreshadowing of the dangerous wolf and the girl who has a blood-red cape. Best to read it over twice, you’ll pick up more the second time.


It’s Gran’s funeral and I’m twenty-six
Years past caring whether it’s pills or swigs
That did her in this last hospital trip.
It’s enough the children have given up
Pretending she was someone worth saving.

Wind slips chill fingers beneath my collar.
Mums and roses fill empty folding chairs.
The parlor read Grandmother and panicked.
Knowing how Catholic broods can crowd these tents,
They’d set two rows too many at each end.

Tithing brought kind words. The priest,
Seminary fresh, (too enthusiastic
For my uncle’s liking) avoids stories
Of how or why Gran will be missed. Silence,
Here is Death’s elaborate pantomime.

Gloved hands check watches
Or exchange a flask. Some mask it better.
I can’t smooth the amused curl from my lip.
Nod like I’m listening. The priest reminds us
We’re to be buried whole, our hearts intact.
To me, it seems a waste of space.


It’s Gran’s course whisper in my ear tonight:
A lullaby-curse to always love less.
The old crone lies atop my chest—
Ear close to my heart to hear her blood flow.

I believe many of us have someone in our lives that would make the above poem relatable, it does for me. The writer describes a funeral lacking in attendance thanks to a person who did not inspire love, hope, or any other positive adjectives in those around her. The silence is magnified against the Seminary who does not have any reasons to explain why Gran will be missed, an absence of positive things altogether. For me it is a powerful poem that darkens the room for the reader. The empty seats are filled with flowers, in the silence the attendees checking their watches as though this funeral is a waste of their time, it is a darker landscape than most funerals simply because the love is absent from the room.


Misfit, tell me how to fix this. Is it is as simple as a whiff of magnolia, of skunk cabbage, of boxwood’s feral stench? What small adjustment must be made to balance thunderclap of dropped “g” and grammars enough to scar Miss Snark? I’m sweet tea and porch-talk swung. Snug as a blue girl in a red state can get. August-swathed, I tiptoe over bone yards of Confederate dead. Everywhere History begs your dollar or your pardon. Accept this and move on. Expect stares from eccentric ladies bent in benediction over fringed orchids. Catholicism only just wins over. Oh, bless her Yankee heart and its lesson in patience. In Whicheverburg, locals charm with sparkling daughters. Gems of the honeyed name: Cherish, Sugar, Bonnie Blue, Junebug, and Lulu. Blossoming gossips all. Beware the cost of living in this place where Faulkner knew Medea’s truth: where darlings die at the hands of their mothers, shrouded in gospel, paraded with baton tossing, sequin-blinded, lemonade stung. Still, screen doors remain unlatched. No innocent, I laugh: lock my own.

Having moved many times as a child and now as an adult moving about from town to town, I can relate to the prose piece above. The diction and dialect of dropped “g”s and the “bless her Yankee heart,” comments, very much like the ladies who were born and raised in the South. I love the line “Everywhere History begs your dollar or your pardon,” which is true of just about every destination and so very Southern to say “beg your pardon.” I just plain like this piece and had to share it.

If you enjoyed this sample as much as I do, you may purchase a copy of Sarah E. Colona’s Hibernaculum for $14.36 at Amazon:

Thanks always for reading, please drop by again soon…

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Compendium by Kristina Marie Darling

Compendium is published by Scrambler books and is paired with Correspondence, which was reviewed earlier. Compendium features the main character, Madeleine, and “the connoisseur” who briefly attend the landscape of the pages and tantalize our imagination into bringing them to life. When I look up the title’s meaning I am led to “a brief treatment or account of a subject, especially an extensive subject;” which perfectly describes the dance around the relationship and subjects contained within these pages. Inside the pieces are the delicate items Ms. Darling often bestows within her work, small glass buttons, delicate lockets, slippers, all part of the dance between the characters inside. Below I am happy to share a sample:

The Box

That evening, the connoisseur presented Madeleine with an unusual box. Despite its array of glass buttons and sheet music, he explained, one must never open the smallest compartment. But before long the room would darken. Alone with her sanctimonious parcel, its blue paper wrapping, and cluster of green ribbons, Madeleine heard the old piano’s most delicate song drifting from beneath the lid. Around the box, a disconcerting stillness. Snow falling outside the great white house as she danced and danced.

This scene above paints a lonely, but not necessarily lonesome, one in my mind. Madeleine is left with a box with a mystery she is never to reveal which is tantalizing enough and then to pair the scene of the room of Madeleine by herself with snow falling outside magnifies what the sound must be from the box. It makes me wonder what the relationship is and why Madeleine is dancing instead of sneaking open that smallest compartment.

From: Footnotes to a History of Desire
6. She slipped the epigraph under his door to preserve the ritual, its mythic stature. That was when the snakeflies emerged. Their delicious humming.

7. The documentary (c. 1996) follows a woman through an analysis of recurring dreams. Despite several attempts to establish boundaries between real and imagined, she continued to describe the fictional beloved. His pale hands and delicate wrists.

8. Translated from the German as The empty rooms of the unconscious.

This piece makes me wonder of the relationship between the two characters again: she slips something under his door, there is no response from him and even in her dreams she has difficulties reaching out. A barrier that is made up of the invisible walls between two people rises up to the reader and we are left to determine what might be creating the distance between the two characters.

In this collection a mystery is revealed just enough for readers to create their own story. If you enjoyed this sample of Compendium by Kristina Marie Darling's Compendium, then you may purchase a copy for $12.00 at:

Thanks always for reading, please drop by again soon…

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Correspondence by Kristina Marie Darling

Correspondence and Compendium are combined together and this week I will feature Correspondence, written by Kristina Marie Darling and published by Scrambler Books in 2013. True to form, Darling’s work exposes empty spaces to be filled by the reader with footnotes and appendixes given as clues to the story unfolding in its pages. The main character is struggling with her desire for her beloved who is no longer in her life yet whose mementos remain distressingly clear. The romance and obsession of keeping these pieces close dance among the pages. I am not able to produce the exact effect of the footnotes and symbols in her text but I will expose them as best I can. Below I am happy to share some examples:

1. The ledger documents her gradual displacement from the beloved. His sparse eyelashes and luminous red necktie.
2. Within each envelope she placed violets and locks of her tangled hair. It was then she imagined him as a tiny bird in golden cage.
3. Diminish.

+1. To make smaller.
++2. To detract from the authority of.

I imagine the main character trying to distance herself from his memory by tucking pieces of herself, such as locks of her hair, away. As she tucks the violets and her hair into the envelopes she imagines him in her own way, “trapping” his memory and likening it to the bird in the golden cage. That is how I picture the scene. The bottom notes expose her way of trying to lessen his hold on her memory.

1. It was his letter, with its intricate flourishes and belabored epigraph, that prompted her to bury the necklace.
2. Within the locket she kept small photographs and a loose thread from his jacket. The little clasp at the back of her neck still gleaming.
3. “I had wanted to discard the strange trinket, with its silver chain and innumerable compartments. Now the interior has been cordoned off with a white ribbon.”

Another example of the main character struggling to distance herself from the memory of her beloved but finding it difficult: her attempts to bury the necklace are futile. I love how Darling always makes the smallest pieces that much more intricate, a trinket with innumerable compartments is hard to imagine, and then it’s been “cordoned off with a white ribbon” adds to the complexity of the trinket and therefore the relationship before it ended. Darling creates a world of delicate fragments that are further complicated with every turn of the main character’s movements and memories.

Dearest ,

this letter will burn & burn

In a series of letters where the name is absent, Darling eliminates all but the most enticing and obscure lines of each letter to which we are left to imagine for ourselves its potential contents. In the above, I imagine the main character writing to her beloved and then erasing all but that which pleases her most. Perhaps, also, the beloved’s letters have been scrubbed away leaving only that which the main character chooses to keep for herself of each letter received. Either way, it lends mystery and the capturing of the reader’s imagination and who could ask for more?

If you enjoyed this brief sample of Kristina Marie Darling’s Correspondencen as much as I enjoyed the collection, you may purchase a copy of copy of Correspondence/Compendium for $12.00 at:

Thanks always for reading, please drop by again soon…

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Shared Properties of Water and Stars by Kristy Bowen

In the idyllic landscape of suburbia on the edges of a forest lies the story told in a series of soul-capturing vignettes created by Kristy Bowen in her collection the Shared Properties of Water and Stars published by Noctuary Press. Wildlife such as bears and rabbits mingle with the neighbors who live out their secrets in painted houses with little labeled boxes hidden away inside. The children of the neighborhood experience life in a way that would make their parents’ skin crawl if they had any idea and the adults also participate in rituals and lifestyles that would cause their neighbors to be wary and cautious if they had any notion. The prose is gripping, imaginative, and whimsical and has me looking out the windows from my own house imagining the secret lives of my own neighbors. Below I am happy to share a sample:

There are 3 houses in 3 different colors. Each owner keeps a certain kind of sadness locked in the cupboard. The tall man lives in the white house. The short man keeps rabbits as pets. The woman in her white dress drinks vodka and stays up late. The yellow house is to the immediate left of the white one. The woman in the second house keeps her sadness in a smallish box. The older woman with the violets on her hat lives in the first house. The girl with the blonde hair lives next door to the man who keeps rabbits. One summer the rabbits multiply and chew through the fence. Mostly, they all keep to themselves.

This is the introduction to the homes and the lives of those inside that appear through the rest of the pages. I feel it is important to include this prose poem in your introduction because it sets the stage for an odd and whimsical look at the lives within.

Inside the yellow house are two boxes. One marked with less, the other with forgotten. The girl with the blonde hair holds a tin marked desire and keeps trying to hide it in the bureau. Her movements startle the starlings that have just begun to weave themselves into her hair. If both boxes are marked incorrectly, how long until the wallpaper begins to peel off in sheets? How long until she finds herself crying in the kitchen, every cup filthy in the sink? Every shoebox marked open me?

What I love is the mystery of the contents of the boxes. The blonde girl trying to stuff a tin marked desire into her bureau makes you wonder her age, is she hiding this from her parents? The idea of the wallpaper peeling and the cups piling in the sink show the slide of neglect in keeping house and home. You wonder what is causing the blonde girl to descend into sadness and it keeps the reader engaged page by page.

Once, in the meadow behind the elementary school, the bear boy finds a cache of clean white bones. When he shows them to the girl, they lay them out side by side on the porch, running their fingers over the smooth bleached surface. Such whiteness makes her uneasy, fuzzes at the edge of her vision. Such smoothness undoes the rigging of her ribs, where the bears inside her begin shuffling their way into the cavity of her chest.

This piece reminds me of my own childhood, digging for buried treasure or scouring the woods for interesting finds. I wonder who the bear boy is and what he looks like. The girl’s unease is expressed in an elegant and unusual way: “undoes the rigging of her ribs, where the bears inside her begin shuffling their way into the cavity of her chest.” It makes you think of the movement of your own breath in your own chest and what the shuffling bears would feel like. The bones causing the uneasiness as they are laid out, one by one, on the porch.

The woman in the red dress waits for significant damage. To sprout feathers or scales. For a trapdoor inside to open and swallow her whole. She places tangerines in her pockets and hides them in the shrubbery. The story depends so much upon the hidden. The reveal. The cloaked movement under dark of night.

Another character in the story in which we wonder about the pieces of her life. She wants to escape and we have no idea why, her odd behavior of hiding tangerines in the shrubbery makes us wonder who she is hiding them for. What I love is that each character is described vaguely and succinctly and leaves a lasting impression for us to create our own story around. Kristy Bowen is a master of open-ended storytelling.

I would love to share many more samples than I have but I will leave you with those above. If you enjoyed this sample you may purchase a copy of the Shared Properties of Water and Stars by Kristy Bowen for yourself for $14.00 through Noctuary Press here:

Thanks always for reading, please drop in again soon…

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Kristina Marie Darling's Brushes With

Kristina Marie Darling strikes again with creating a surreal and memorable journey through her particular style of writing in Brushes With, a collection that captures a romance that is no longer, scenes and footnotes that entice and leave the reader curious and wanting more. The works themselves provide enticing instances of foreshadowing for the doomed relationship. Darling contrasts light and dark, physical space versus the words inside one’s mind, memories and imagery delicately entwine. Below I am happy to share some samples:


We were no longer in love. The sky, too, was beginning to show its wear. A silk lining could be seen through every slit in the dark green fabric. 1
I started to wonder where we went wrong. You were holding a map of the constellations.2 Each of the minor stars had been assigned to a square on a little grid. The map seemed scientific so I approached you.3
You kept looking down at your compass. The needle spinning beneath a little screw. Maybe this is where we went wrong.
Above us, the sky is still wearing its green dress. The most delicate strings holding it all in place.

1. The photographs portray this dress as one of the most violent manifestations of the heroine’s femininity.
2. At the edge of the map, she could discern a cluster of minor stars. Their incessant movement seemed difficult to comprehend, let alone to document.
3. “I had wanted to understand the cause of this fearful disturbance. Within my compass the needle kept spinning and spinning.”

*I apologize that my footnotes’ numbers do not appear like they should, that is the limitation of trying to transfer her work to a blog post. I will say that I love how she creates her text and ties footnotes to them, along with pages of just footnotes. In this piece the overwhelming darkness and the avoidance of eye contact depicts a couple avoiding each other even while present in each other’s lives. The comparison of the sky to dark green fabric with silk lining is romantic and delicate, so delicate that strings hold it in place and threaten to smother the couple should the fabric break free. Whether that was the meaning behind Darling’s piece I do not know, I only know that it is how I picture it for myself. Darling is a master at creating a visually stimulating piece weighted with more emotion than you initially read into.


After the divorce, after your mistress, after the stars were eclipsed by the bright lights of the city, I gathered all of the broken dishes you’d left behind. I placed each one of them on a little shelf, recorded their height in a dark green book.
I began to realize the significance of this gesture. What is love but a parade of memorable objects, a row of dead butterflies pinned under glass?
You had always loved mementos. Once you’d even rented a small boat to find your missing porcelain statuette. 18
I started to wonder what other gifts you’d leave behind. The dried insects I’d find in each of your letters.
I closed the cabinet door, counted each piece of shattered glass, and tried to imagine them all in your perfect white hands.

18. This statue of the Holy Mother would later be found headless in a tiny museum in northern France.

*I love the line “What is love but a parade of memorable objects, a row of dead butterflies pinned under glass?” So often we keep objects to remember our loved ones by, even during our courtship. How many of us have kept old love notes or gifts from past relationships? I also am intrigued by the “dried insects I’d find in each of your letters,” the significance perhaps being the dried up feelings of romance? Also, the mention of the man appearing to be scientific in the previous sample and the dried insects leads me to believe this is a clue to his scientific interests. The footnote, #18, is one I like simply because I was raised Catholic and the idea of Holy Mother becoming headless is terrifying for someone like me. For it to appear in a completely different location, a museum, shrouds the whole passage in mystery which is intriguing to me. We have an understand for what led to the separation but the actions afterwards only provide more intrigue and questions. I’ve noticed that throughout her pieces Darling makes mention of the color dark green which can connote “intelligence” or of course, lush forests and perhaps fertile growth, along with broken glass, something that can be reflective and dangerous all at once. Darling’s work is often layered and I enjoy reading her pieces several times over to find more underneath the words than initially encountered.

46. A scene in the documentary, in which the woman replies, “What he really loved was my ignorance.” Although an awkward silence ensued, the camera kept rolling for a few more minutes.

*This strikes me at my core. Many of us can relate to being adored by someone who thinks or knows we are clueless about their true nature. The camera continuing to roll despite the awkward silence is interesting, the person in charge of the camera showing that vulnerability and exposing it that much further which causes the reader to pause and place themselves in the woman’s place. Where were you when you experienced the same realization in your own life? That’s the question that comes out to me as I read this footnote.

As always, I feel I cannot truly do justice for Kristina Marie Darling, I often personalize her work in order to feel my way through it and then share it with all of you. It is a beautiful collection of pieces that I urge you to read. If you enjoyed this sample you may purchase a copy of Kristina Marie Darling’s Brushes With from BlazeVox books for $16.00 at:

To learn more about Kristina Marie Darling, please visit her website at:

Thanks always for reading, please stay tuned for more featured poets…

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tim Myers' Dear Beast Loveliness: Poems of the Body

Tim Myers’ collection Dear Beast Loveliness: Poems of the Body, is a collection about the soul and the senses. Published by BlazeVox Press, these poems range from dark and shielded, to open and lively, they include love, lust, tragedy, struggle, all of the emotions that poems are meant to contain and reveal. Below I am happy to share a sample:

To My Sibling, Miscarried 1956

Catching a fragrance of nectarines
from the basket on the table,
I feel how strange it is
that you’re not here,
find myself wondering who you might have been.

At my grade school, well-meaning nuns
gave us their strange perfunctory tale
of unborn babies drifting in Limbo.
But I was born, and have come to fruit,
my sons on the floor here
giggling and bucking like horses,
as if five short years ago
neither was compounded our of infinite nothingness.

Now that the mystery of Me is a bit clearer
in the mystery of Them,
I think of You who never came from our mother,
you who are less now than
a fragrance of nectarines

in a breeze from the window so slight
only my new-shaven face can feel it.

This poem strikes me because my own mother miscarried and there are days I wonder what it would have been like to have siblings much closer in age than my only sibling, my sister who is twelve years younger. I was always envious of my friends who had siblings close to their age growing up—built in adventurous companions through the trials of early grade school--and I can understand this poet observing his children and drifting into thoughts of who his sibling might have been. The smallest sensation: that of the smell of nectarines, brings to light how the essence of someone’s absence or presence can be felt. I think it’s a beautiful poem that many can relate to either through experiencing the pain of miscarriage or the knowledge that they might have had more siblings and will never know the essence of that person.

A Boy

I saw a boy jerking along the street,
a palsied boy who walked as a stutterer stutters,
misfired genes like a great hand having
squeezed and twisted the living mud of him.

His arms joined in tight v’s, limp hands skyward,
so he almost seemed to flap them as he came,
legs crooked to a perpetual stagger.
But as I passed him in my car,

a fiddle tune came over the radio, fiddler
drawing that sweet commotion out of nowhere
onto his instrument, guitar strings
chiming intricately behind, so that

one’s heart like a child of Hamelin must rise and follow,
one’s body like some Odysseus strains to pursue
whatever sirens live in the sea of music—

and then I saw
how the boy’s twisted steps fell perfectly, inexplicably,
against the pavement with the music. This was

strange. But with sudden grace I understood. How great, how
vast the world is, rhythm-driven, all that is
flowing like notes along countless strings—

and one more dancer dancing.

Every living thing has movement and dance to them, dance is a great love in my life and so this poem trapped my heart. I love watching people as they move through a space, however they are able to move, and there is always a song or piece of music that will fit them. I love that the poet witnessed this Zen-like moment of his own music matching another’s rhythm, especially since that boy’s rhythm may have not been seen as rhythmic at all in the beginning. Haven’t we all had those pure moments of music matching our steps or watching someone else’s movements match the music in our headphones?

Song to Be Sung by a Happy Skeleton

The shy white beast you never see
is me—
for when beloved flesh is fled,
I too am dead.
I am the stilts life gave you; I will
save you.
I dearly hold within my arms
the lover
who holds his lover. A deeper I
am I,
a part of all his Is,
his Why.
Gaze long into his eyes and you
will see how true
I am, his deeper Other,
godly brother.
An animal beneath, I spring
or poise,
in every moment mutely to rejoice.
If I am death, then death
makes living free.
I am the hidden, white, and dancing

This poem makes me smile. How can the title not draw you in? I also love that Myers refers to the skeleton as “the stilts life gave you” which creates a fabulous mental picture. As a collector of Dia De Los Muertos skeletons, this poem is a guilty pleasure for me. The skeleton as the remaining essence of our flesh long after we’re gone, our “dancing/tree” is a great tribute to the bones we sometimes take for granted every day.

I hope you enjoyed this sample as much as I enjoy the entire collection. To purchase a copy of Tim Myers’ Dear Beast Loveliness: Poems of the Body, for $16.00, please visit:

To learn more about Tim Myers who is a songwriter and also writes children’s books, fiction, and nonfiction in addition to poetry, check out his website. I have to say I love his opening quote by Rilke because I am all about it. Please visit:

Thanks always for reading, please drop in again soon…

Friday, August 23, 2013

Read A Good Book: Making Sense by Jim Murdoch

Jim Murdoch’s collection of short stories in Making Sense is his best work yet. Twenty stories that encompass a wide range of personalities, lifestyles, and ages provide perspectives on everything from gambling to intrigues to fetishes. There are also a variety of “voices” as some are written in dialect that require you to read the story aloud in order to sound out the character. Several of the characters struck a chord with me, reminding me of people I knew, and I bet you will find the same in these pages.

There are some great lines in these stories that hooked my attention. In “Coping,” the opening line is: “If there’s one thing that annoys me about my mother, it’s this: She watches life with the sound turned off.” How can I resist? With those of us who have living mothers, we immediately begin thinking about our own. The story entails a discovered intrigue and the mother learns to live with the news, not say a word, and move on through hearing only what she wants to hear. Most of us know such people and it’s a story you might be familiar with yourself.
Another story, about a woman discovering her man is into men, has a sense of humor to it which I appreciate: “A week later I barged though the back door laden with half-a-dozen shopping bags and with my purse gripped firmly between my teeth to find him in flagrante dilecto in the hall with the bloke from 4G but what the heck? I guess they couldn’t make it to the bed in time. We’d done it in the hall before. It wasn’t exactly our place but I quite liked doing it there…” Honestly this made me laugh with the “not exactly our place” and the rest of the story is light considering the heaviness of the situation. Life goes on, is what I take away from the story.

I only revealed a couple of the stories to you, there are some funny and wonderful surprises in the pages of this collection, Making Sense, by Jim Murdoch. If you enjoyed this review, you may purchase a copy for 8.50 (pounds) by following the link below:

Thanks always for reading, please drop in again soon…

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Eva Heisler's Reading Emily Dickinson in Icelandic

Reading Emily Dickinson in Icelandic by Eva Heisler is published by Kore Press and contains a collection of prose by a poet exploring the world and translations of Iceland. This is the kind of book in which you will want to find a quiet or natural setting in which to indulge fully in the nuances of the landscape, language, and characters that Ms. Heisler reveals throughout the pages. I found the work to be beautiful, savory, and best consumed slowly so your mind can absorb fully the weight of her words. Below I am happy to share a few samples:


That first winter in Iceland I didn’t mind the wind. Stillness itself was winged. The wind wrapped me in an elsewhere—else the traffic of scholars and accountants. But this year, my heart flaps like a shutter against the side of a barn. This year, the wind no longer sounds like itself. I wake in the night and mistake the sound of the wind for the roar of the snow plow in Syracuse; the squeal of tires spinning in Columbus; the hoot of a barn owl in Boyds; the whistle of a former lover’s kettle. “Don’t forget what it was like before.” Lying in bed, I tell myself this. The sound of wind engulfs me like the roar of an airplane passenger. “Don’t forget.” Remember the bottoms of your feet slippery with perspiration, and a jingle at every turn.

I feel like the poet is sharing her nostalgia of her experiences at home in America and is comparing them in her mind to her current experiences in Iceland. Her travels have brought her to different places and they all have a place etched in her heart and she is trying to remember each of those places while the winds of Iceland make their own mark. Lovely.

Something to Finish

Steinunn’s mother takes me to the flea market at the harbor. She shuffles among mugs in the shape of soccer balls; earrings made of feathers; Judy Blume in Icelandic; Bath Boutique Barbie; Working Woman Barbie; Barbie with Baby Keiko the Whale; Barbie Sassy Pony; and “Fizz Balls” advertised as “the latest in home aromatherapy.” Encountering these in the States, I would have folded into myself. But in Iceland, the kitsch doesn’t claim me. I finger the gaudy beads; they don’t take the shape of coffins—I am here and someplace else. Steinunn’s mother hands me a bundle of papers tied with boot strings. She purchased the rights to thirty-seven unfinished poems. It is a gift, she says. She pats the sheaf of papers that I press to my chest to keep them from blowing away. She says, It is something to finish.

I love that the flea market in Iceland feels different than in the States although it holds the same kinds of items. I also enjoy the mystery of thirty-seven unfinished poems being purchased with the idea of the purchaser “finishing” the poems. Can you imagine selling something unfinished at a flea market such as your own writings and allowing someone else, a complete stranger, to do so? That in itself is intriguing, just as much as it is interesting that Steinunn’s mother would purchase such a thing as a gift. It is a world of mysteries and I enjoy letting my mind wander the scene to figure out my own ending to the story that is unfinished here.

What I Remember

What I remember is neither the words nor the light in the kitchen but the press of a hand against my forehead. What I remember is not the color of eyes but what it felt like to be seen. What I remember is not the overstuffed luggage but the door, and you leaning against it. What I remember is not computing sums in the margins of my notebook, but three words and a grove of birch that I mistook for a herd of ghost horses. What I remember is not the new wardrobe but a fling of red and white.

Isn’t this the essence of memory? The feelings and colors that made a deep impression on us during our experience in a new place? I love the image of the grove of birch mistaken for ghost horses, as well as the wardrobe being a “fling of red and white.” It invites the reader to open up their own imagination and create their own memorable experience from the poet’s.

I would love to visit Iceland and see the sights and meet the people that Eva Heisler reveals in her collection Reading Emily Dickinson in Icelandic. If you enjoyed this brief sample as much as I do, you may purchase a copy for yourself for $15.95 at:

Thanks always for reading, please drop by again soon...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Something Random and Tragic to Set The Guts Aflame Third Edition by Hosho McCreesh

The expanded third edition of Hosho McCreesh’s poems are released for our reading pleasure in Something Random & Tragic To Set The Guts Aflame published by Mary Celeste Press. McCreesh’s style is dead-pan and fervent. A gratuitous read, Hosho McCreesh reminds us to live in the moment, to watch the world around us and I have a hard time selecting just a few poems to share:

The Evening Commute In America

An entire nation of
refugees, really,
of socio-economic
ignorant of their true & actual station,
their cog-like existence
feel like they’re always missing something,
refusing to even let their fellow man into
gridlocked traffic,
unfulfilled they rush home
in the cars they were told to buy
to homes they won’t own for 30 years
to husbands or wives they don’t know
& children they regret,
they shove pizza boy delivery into their mouths
get fatter,
& doze off
as the TV flickers a

This poem pretty much sums up my worst fears about our society. That the majority of people are just working and not living. As a result of not living they rarely help their fellow man—hence the lines about not allowing fellow drivers into traffic—and the “cogs” in the machine stuff down their worries and stress with things that will only make life worse—unhealthy foods and sitting down to do nothing else but watch TV. It’s a poem that challenges the reader to be better than that and we should.

The Plinking of Keys,
The Chasing Off of Demons,
The Scattering of Ghosts,
& The Gods Giving Us All Our Fair Shake…

Saw a story about a guy
could hardly take care of himself—
autistic, &
among too many other things…
was an enormous
a chore,
the most basic,
rudimentary skills
proved to be

he had over
7,000 songs
to memory,
pounded them out on a whim,
played with them like marbles—
he played all sorts of instruments,
piano to piccolo,
he need hear a song only
& he could crank it back out to
Prodigy isn’t even the word,
he was hard-wired to channel
& he could play them all,
Cole Porter,
like it was easier than nothing.
easier than
& it afforded him with an
a means to provide for himself, for his family,
a little something to help out all the folks without whom he
could not

& things like that
always make me
to see that
the gods find a way to
it all out,
to tip the scales back the other way,
to never stack it all against
cosmically, somehow
we’ve all got our shot & that
somehow it’ll all work out for

This poem lifts up my spirits and I know a wide variety of people so this is a personal favorite of mine as well. I think the poem is self-explanatory—somehow we all are given our gifts to share with the world no matter what “limitations” may be accompanying us.

Hope –or- Oscillate & Pivot

You owe it to yourself to
when times are good,
life is good,
when everything is
because it will
oscillate & pivot
back the

This poem reminds me of how difficult it can be to relax and enjoy the good days and the good times. When things are going smoothly we are often holding our breath and waiting for something to go wrong. It’s good advice we should all take more often—if times are good, embrace them and be grateful for them and let tomorrow worry about itself.

If you enjoyed this sample of Hosho McCreesh’s expanded, third edition of Something Random & Tragic To Set The Guts Aflame you may purchase a copy for $12.00 at:

Thanks always for reading, please drop in again soon…

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

X Marks the Dress A Registry by Kristina Marie Darling and Carol Guess

X Marks the Dress A Registry, a collaborative effort by Kristina Marie Darling and Carol Guess, has been published by Gold Wake Press and puts a twist on the traditional outlook of weddings, relationships, and those hopeful, loving gestures that we take for granted on such a grand occasion. There are a variety of types of written word in this collection: prose with titles of objects you might find on a registry, deconstructed pages leaving just a few tantalizing words, footnotes, figures, appendixes, all circling around notions of relationships, love, traditions, marriage, and the breaking up of all these traditional ideas in a variety of ways and stages. This collection reveals characters that are potentially scandalous, heart-wrenchingly beautiful, naïve, unique, and altogether exciting. It is a tantalizing read and below is a brief sample:

{Pull-Out Closet Organizer & Shoe Rack}

Since when is pretending a job? I’m still paying the mortgage with my fashion sense: pink sunglasses, matching pumps, & your favorite dress. Nights like this I walk the boulevard, asking for a handout. Men will offer me rides & fine chocolate as you watch from the kitchen window. Stilettoes & frostbitten, I keep looking for someone to warm me up. I’ve been such an unruffled bride that the lace on my skirt is starting to unravel. Clothes cost money, darling. A husband like you should foot the bill.

There is a piece before this in which the spouse pretends they still have a job, the piece above is the response to it. It makes me wonder what kind of hand-outs are being asked for, doesn’t it make you wonder? I picture a woman outside the house standing on the street in her finest trying to flirt with rich men and feeling resentful that her husband inside the house cannot meet her needs. The piece gives you a sample of the less-than-perfect marriage and a darker side of how to get by when things go awry.

[Wedding Favor: Chocolate Truffles]

She drops a penny on the stoop, spun copper truffle. I’ve never been inside your house, but now I’ve knocked, and now I’m in. She wrote me such a charming thanks – pink scented paper, chocolate ink. I wrote back, so anti-Google. We’re sitting down to tea, no joke. She talks about lipstick and she talks about church. After mimosas she starts on you. Albert, I say. She calls you Bert. I want to scream your name –Adele- but after A I’m starting at her perfect mouth, still mouthing worlds. Clavicle. Delicious. Eat.

There is a series of pieces about a character who gives me the impression they are leading a double life: one as a man, one as a woman, and I’ve no idea what the original identity is. Either way, the person who knows the secret of the character with two sides evidently is not the spouse who apparently doesn’t know. The two worlds meet: the person who knows Albert/Adele and the spouse who only knows Albert. An old fashioned friendship is beginning out of a very strange connection, hence the speaker’s fascination with meeting the spouse and saying the spouse is “mouthing worlds.” Worlds apart, these three characters that are all connected somehow has caused the speaker in the piece to stop listening and only hear and notice bits and pieces as their mind wanders over the connection. It makes me want to be a fly on the wall in this encounter. I’m also eager to know how Darling and Guess created the story and where the inspiration came from.

From Appendix A: Marginalia & Other Misc. Fragments

1. A rare variety of orchid, which was mounted and displayed on a silver placard.

2. She snipped the red flowers as the music began. Her fingers intertwined with the cold metal shears.

3. “I had wanted to free myself from the endless parade of feminine embellishments. Within every window the same bouquet of pink roses. Now a vase lies shattered at my feet.”

These three lines lead me to imagine a woman who is tired of living up to an ideal and uses cold hard slashing away in the literal sense, clipping flowers, then knocking over a vase of the things that she feels are a burden to her sense of identity, freeing herself literally in order to free herself emotionally.

If you enjoyed this sample, you may purchase a copy for $15.95 of X Marks the Dress A Registry by Kristina Marie Darling and Carol Guess at:

Thanks always for reading, please drop in again soon…

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Drawing Water by Eva Heisler

Published by Noctuary Press, Eva Heisler’s Drawing Water is a collection that focuses on lines and how they blur and come into focus, their very presence or absence when a line breaks or continues on, it brings forth imagery that is fresh and innovative. Samples below:

The page is the body of a ghost (but I don’t believe in ghosts).

--This line describes the intimidation of a blank page, in my mind. It is such a simple phrase and yet so poignant as we all stare at blank pages when trying to think of something new to say or write or how to respond, whether it is paper or e-mail or walls, the “page” is a ghost, eerie and intangible.

I cover ground with dark and pointed instrument.
I say, first, white is precious.
I do not mean merely glittering or brilliant:
it is easy to scratch white gulls out of black clouds,

--I love that the poem ends with a comma, allowing us to continue on in our own minds. We try to cover white, blank space with our writing instrument and here we find dark surface being scratched to reveal white, a new perspective on a different colored surface.

Anything you find ugly is good to draw.

--Personally, I just love the sentiment of the line itself. Especially for someone like me who cannot draw to save her life. Drawing something ugly almost takes the pressure off of trying to do the subject justice. It’s a thought you don’t normally encounter and so it creates fresh imagery in my mind which I appreciate.

If you enjoyed this brief sample you may purchase a copy of Eva Heisler’s Drawing Water for $14.00 at:

Thanks always for reading, please drop in again next week…

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sofisticated White Trash by JJ Campbell

J.J. Campbell’s latest collection, Sofisticated White Trash, is published by Interior Noise Press and is filled with the raucous, the indiscreet, and the kinds of poems that live up to its title. This book is not for the faint-of-heart, Campbell writes the nitty gritty sides of life and tackles a wide range of topics from being the weird guy at the supermarket to sex to the feelings of being down and out. Below are some sample poems:

a day in the life

it was one of those rare occasions
that i actually left my cage

you know
for a few odds and ends
some rays of sunshine
a breath of fresh air
or whatever fucking reason
people go out these days

and it was as soon as i
entered the store that i realized
why i don’t leave my cage
very often anymore.

the purses were held a bit
closer to the chest
children stared and then ran
back to inattentive parents
the quick double glances
followed by hushed voices
“did you see that fucking guy?!”

it felt like my adolescence
all over again
the weirdo, the outcast
the misunderstood non-conformist
the echoes of counselors and parents
“we just don’t see why you don’t
want to fit in”

as this mini-movie was
playing in my head
i put some milk in my cart
a woman strolled past me
that smelled rather nice

instead of playing it cool
and saying “excuse me, what’s that
lovely perfume you’re wearing?”
i sniffed rather loudly
trying to get all of the scent
out of the air

she stopped, looked back at me
gave me that what the fuck
are you doing look

i smiled and she looked away
she walked quickly to
the other end of the store

i began laughing to myself
thought the world was getting
back to normal

i proceeded to the checkout lane
stared off into the distance
watched the people come and go
wondered if one of them
could possibly carrying
a loaded gun

i suppose at the time
the wonder was actually a wish

to my disappointment
i made it out of there alive
minus the money for my items
and the time it took to
weave my path through
the creatures

the wanna be trendy teenagers
the anorexic mothers
the soon to be gay stock boys
and of course, the old women

the old women who make me,
out of the feat that i truly am
a violent motherfucker deep within,
yearn for the comfort of my cage
the very second
i step out of it.

This poem reminds me of any time any of us have felt socially awkward or unkempt in a public space. This poem takes it to a darker extreme, the poet wishing he hadn’t made it out alive after noticing others’ reactions to him. In one sense it is humorous, in another it is dark and tragic.

from my empty bed

someone once told me
if i learned how to dance
i would always have
a woman by my side

and as i write this
from my empty bed

i realize that was one
piece of advice i should
have actually listened to

I like this poem because I love to dance and it’s hard to find men who do. Therefore, listen to the above, all you males in the population out there. Learn how to dance. This is one of those poems I just wanted to share because I like it’s message.

If you enjoyed this sample, you may purchase a copy of J.J. Campbell’s Sofisticated White Trash for $15.00 from Interior Noise Press. *Make sure you get your 25% discount by typing in “MMARCA7Z” so please follow the link below:

Thanks always for reading, please drop in again next week…

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Deep and Gorgeous Thirst by Hosho McCreesh

Hosho McCreesh’s A Deep And Gorgeous Thirst is a collection of poems filled with drunken days and nights that will have you laughing or crying into your own drink, or you’ll want to raise your longneck and clink it so hard against your friend’s that it would shatter to the floor. It has everything a good raucous batch of drunken poems should have: tales of tragedy, comedy, and inspiration. Pour yourself a glass of wine or grab yourself a beer and sit down and enjoy reading. I’m proud to provide a brief sample of this 254 paged collection. I’ll only share two poems since they are long ones, one to make you smile, one to make you hopeful:

Shoshone, Wyoming,
and you and your buddy
are propped up on
two tall barstools.
It's about 1 in the
afternoon at the
Pair-A-Dice bar,
and you still have a
long drive in
front of you.
“Whatcha got on tap?”
you ask, and the owner,
Neil, says they've got
Bud and Bud Light.
“I guess I'll do a Bud,”
you say, reluctant.
“And one for me,”
your buddy says.
And Neil pulls two,
and instantly the glasses
sheet over in an icy film.
“Wow,” you say, “just
how cold do you
keep that stuff?”
And Neil says “Cold as
a well-digger’s ass,”
and you run a
fingernail down the
frosted mug,
peeling the ice
like snake skin,
then take a
few huge gulps,
and it's half gone,
the coldest beer
you have ever had,
and Neil says,
“That’ll be $3,”
and your buddy
slaps down a ten.
“No,” says Neil,
“$3 for both.”
And you say,
“Hot damn,
I guess we
better have
two more,” and
Neil says,
“During Monday Night
Football beers are
And you
realize that there is
a time and a place for
every kind of drunk,
and you tell Neil so.
“So you’re really
a writer?” he says
and you say
“No…but maybe
“You should put me
in your book,” and
you promise him
you will, because
this, here, the
Pair-A-Dice Bar
in Shoshone, Wyoming,
is the perfect

I love that the poet does credit the barkeep as he says he will. If I’m ever in Shoshone, Wyoming, I’m going to go looking for this Pair-A-Dice Bar, too. On a long road trip, a cold refreshing drink is always in order whether it’s beer or something else. I can imagine this oasis in the middle of a long, long drive and it makes me want to take a road trip myself just to see if I can stumble upon such an establishment.

It’s dinner
with your field boss
and his family
a week or so after
La Vendange,
the youngest passing
much of the evening
drawing pirates, and
making pirate fighting noises,
and when his sweet kids are
off to bed, out comes a special
bottle of handmade marc,
“The last of it,” he says,
explaining that, years ago,
he made a small batch,
and this is his last bottle
and it's part cognac,
part brandy, and
part wine,
and your boss pours you
a measure and you feel
deeply honored, a
glorious nightcap, you think,
following a glorious meal,
and despite the language barrier,
you're both able to
understand each other,
and you respect and admire him,
and you laugh when his wife calls
the vineyard “his mistress,” and
you fall in love with her, and
his kids, and you imagine
living his life, a hard but
honest one, once again
marveling at
how much better
lives are lived here,
how even difficult field work
pays a livable wage,
and how the people are all
so much more than
whatever job they do,
they play instruments, and
know books, and music,
and painting, and sculpture,
and they do most things with
a quiet kind of art and grace,
and of course, they know
how to eat, and drink,
and celebrate, and
how to not worry
too much, and the
mindset is one of
collaboration, of
sharing both
what they have,
and what they are
with the world,
and with each other,
and you can't help but think
that America could
certainly do with
a little bit
of that

This poem makes me relish the lives of the family the poet has joined. How I wish for all the world to lead exactly this life and it creates a wistful feeling in the reader of hoping for a better working life, a better home life. I also wonder what country the poet is visiting? I imagine Italy or France with the mention of vineyards but you never know. What a wonderful world this would be if we could all share our lives together more creatively and honestly.

This collection, A Deep and Gorgeous Thirst by Hosho McCreesh will be published and available for purchase this Summer so keep track of the time by visiting:

Thanks always for reading, please drop in again next week…

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Poems Found by Poet Hound

“In the Center of an Asian Market There is a Black Hole” by John Dutterer

“In Memory of Ruben Gozales” by John Dutterer

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Palimpsest by Kristina Marie Darling

Kristina Marie Darling’s collection, palimpsest, is published by Patasola Press and the definition of the word perfectly describes its interior: “a parchment or the like from which writing has been partially or completely erased to make room for another text.” Darling is known for her footnotes, appendixes, glossaries and this collection includes the same wonders as previous texts. This collection also includes chapters to a story we long to hear more of. What I love about Kristina Marie Darling’s work is that it ultimately touches a chord in you while allowing you the space to dream up your own world that she’s created, it becomes personal and yet shared with the writer who is also an artist with words. Below I am happy to share a sample of her work:

From Chapter Two:

4. An early twentieth-century stage play, in which the heroine professed to see Zukofsky’s ghost in her intricately embellished teacup.
5. “I had wanted to bottle the cold white light that shone through the kitchen window. Soon every spoon was glittering in the little wooden drawer.”
6. She realized that her desire to entertain, rather than the physical presence of a guest, was the cause of her recurring dream.

Darling mentions Zukofsky, an American poet who pushed the limits of language, in the first line of this page. I imagine his image as being the inspiration to the narrator in Chapter Two and that his ghostly presence watches over her shoulder as she moves about her daily life, such as noticing the spoons glittering in the white light of the kitchen window and the ties to a recurring dream we don’t know about. Darling lets our minds expand to accommodate our own story line and I picture myself in my own kitchen thinking of inspiring writers while pulling open my own kitchen drawers looking for something I cannot find. I always wish to know more of the story that is in her own mind to see how her mind’s inner workings translate to these pages.

From: Notes on the Dagerreotype: Its Appearance and Origins

She remembered that the shutter failed to close. Then music. His cufflink catching on the hem of her blue silk dress.
Soon the guests began to arrive. Her sister arranging madeleines on the most intricately embellished plates.
The audience grew larger and larger. Yet his presentation of the daguerreotype was marked by unprecedented sincerity. Its lucid glass and painstakingly lettered inscription.
Within the room, an uneasy stillness. Her cold white hands. The phonograph spinning beneath a glittering needle.
She affixed the daguerreotype to her bedroom wall. Nights she thought of the mercury embedded in its luminous image.
That was when the room grew dim. The shadow of her dress spreading out across the wall. His image suspended in an inexplicable light.

The daguerreotype is defined as: “an obsolete photographic process, invented in 1839, in which a picture made on a silver surface sensitized with iodine was developed by exposure to mercury vapor.” I imagine a grand hall with a presenter and all the audience members riveted by this process being explained to them. I love how Darling captures small moments such as “sister arranging madeleines on the most intricately embellished plates” and how this describes the type of people who would come to such a lecture. Darling creates a romantic image with lines such as “the shadow of her dress spreading out across the wall” as the main character affixes “the daguerreotype to her bedroom wall.” It makes me want to live the scene itself and find the wonder and magic in it all.

If you enjoyed this brief sample, you may purchase a copy of Kristina Marie Darling’s palimpsest for $12.00 at:

Thanks always for reading, please click in tomorrow for more Poems Found by Poet Hound…

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sister Blood and Bone by Yours Truly Now Available from Blood Pudding Press

I'm very proud to announce my latest poetry collection inspired by my dear sister, Lisa Cary, titled Sister Blood and Bone. Published by Juliet Cook of Blood Pudding Press, I have ten wonderful poems inside and there is a sample poem on the website below if you'd like to take a look. The cover art is beautiful and a copy costs a mere $7.00 at:

I thank all of you for your support of the blog and for your inspiration to keep me writing. Please drop in later this week for another featured poet...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Pledge to Support Alternating Current

Leah Angstman of Alternating Current is seeking support to keep her vital and valuable small press running. I have made my pledge and I urge you to please watch the video on the link below and make a pledge. Stick with the small press, editors like Leah Angstman aren't afraid to take on new writers and that is so vital to all writers' and readers' survival of receiving fresh perspectives, poems, stories, and revelations.

Please click and follow the link below:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

F IN by Carol Guess

What started out as a novella transformed itself completely as Carol Guess began removing sentences and individual words creating a new text of poems. F IN is published by Noctuary Press and iIn this collection, what was once a girl narrating a crime story is now a contemporary piece filled with the light spaces between illuminating words. While I may not be able to produce the pages and their text exactly, I will do my best to portray this stunning collection that allows the reader to absorb each word’s importance into their own imagination. No two experiences will be the same and I can only share my own perspective. I am unable to space out the words on the page when I go to post these pieces, just know that the poems are spaced out among the page to reveal the words that have been deleted as well as the words that have been kept. Below, a short sample of the gems inside:

city of alleyways disappearing mountains
roads rockslides ghosts serial killers
guard dogs Minutemen meth labs
city of

identical floor plans



As you can see, it is difficult to get the spacing correct but what I love is that an entire novel has been trimmed down to a new essence. In this space, it allows me to picture my own world, and I think of El Paso, TX where I once lived with the winding roads of the mountains and the cookie-cutter houses you could see from the top. The words “erase” and “place” make me wonder if the story’s speaker is trying to erase the location from memory and as a poem I mentally erase the image in my own mind. It’s an interesting take on creating prose or poetry by erasing a much more dense, rich text of a novella.

buried the
creepy guy

‘s key

Of course, it is easy to read this as one sentence all to itself which is at once an extraordinary thing to create after erasing a page of text and also entices the reader to figure out what the rest of the page might have said. The story line also makes me wonder who “the creepy guy” is and I form my own image imagining a young girl getting a hold of a key and burying it, but a key to what? Myself and the reader are left to create their own mystery and I like that this allows me to ignite my own imagination.

As is it difficult to properly portray the text on the page, I implore you to find or buy a copy of F IN by Carol Guess for yourself. If you enjoyed F IN by Carol Guess, you may purchase a copy from Noctuary Press for $14.00 at:

Thanks always for reading, please stop by again next week…

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Poems Found by Poet Hound

“Knock on Wood” by Steve Tomasko

“Kiyoko” by Sara Hughes

“March” by Robin Wyatt Dunn

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Poking through the Fabric of the Light that Formed Us: Songs and Stories to Read in the Mirror by Lora Bloom

Lora Bloom’s collection, Poking through the Fabric of the Light that Formed Us: Songs and Stories to Read in the Mirror, is published by Blood Pudding Press in 2013. Lora Bloom’s words are fragmented images filled with refracting emotions throughout. It is an enticing and uncanny collection that I am happy to share a sample of with you:


As I stood between his legs
This man told me he was from another planet
he asked if I wanted to go with him
I looked around, into the mirror
behind the bar
for a moment I was invisible
hiding behind my exposed skin
he smiled mysteriously
I shivered and laughed
I thought he was joking
but his tied and eyes
were very bright

This poem has the surreal experience of wonder in it and I cannot help but be drawn in to this man at the bar just as the poet is. Without revealing much about his appearance, we as readers are all eagerly daydreaming our own version of this man at the bar, wondering just how bright, and perhaps beautiful, those eyes are and if we’d contemplate going with him, too. I love this poem for bringing a flight-of-fancy that can be a rarely found journey in poems.

Clown Girl

I am the clown girl
with the plastic smile
the clone boys
with the plastic eyes
like to kiss my plastic lips
poke their rubber tongues
inside my mouth

they can’t taste the blood
that fills these plastic lips
makes them red
and plump as cherries

for the boys to kiss

underneath the plastic
I can’t feel their kisses
just a dull ache
like someone squeezed
where my cotton heart once was

And I am the pretty clown girl
with the plastic smile

when no one’s hiding near
and I don’t think I’ll mind the sting
sometimes I rip away the plastic
just to feel my lips, bloated
scratched and scarred
flap into breezes
I want to feel the stars
searing my bloodlips

would they laught, these boys
if they knew
behind my plastic smile
the frozen, blistered grimace

if they knew
the blasts of shadow laughter
blowing soft into their kisses

into their silly plastic eyes
that will never
taste the sky

like I do

I feel like this is the “Siren Song” of every female once they have had their heart broken for the first time and seal themselves up afterwards. I love the “Clown Girl” poem as it describes how so many people try to paint on that smile when looking for love yet also protect themselves, the poet uses plastic as the metaphor for closing off those feelings and nerve endings that allow her to fall in love. It’s a beautiful poem that deserves to be re-read as you’ll find more and more with each reading.

If you enjoyed this brief sample of Poking through the Fabric of the Light that Formed Us: Songs and Stories to Read in the Mirror by Lora Bloom, you may purchase a copy for $7.00 through Blood Pudding Press’ Etsy Site, just go to:

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Regardless of Authority Open Submissions

If you have strong convictions and something to say about them, read all the guidelines and check out the website to ensure your voice is heard by visiting:

Good luck to all who submit, please stop by again next week!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Petrarchan by Kristina Marie Darling

Published by BlazeVox in 2013, Kristina Marie Darling’s collection titled Petrarchan takes its inspiration from Francesco Petrarca, a poet born in Italy in 1304. Inspired by a woman named Laura de Noves, he wrote a collection of love poems and Kristina Marie Darling has taken the chapter titles of her collection from his bibliography and her appendixes are based on found text in Pertrach’s sonnets. Her style is evident here with footnotes, dictionary terms, and glimpses of images that leave the reader to imagine a full text being commented on. As always, Darling’s work is beautiful and inspiring while exposing fragility of human nature and its emotions. In much of Darling’s collections there are references to pale skin, faint music, mysterious rooms, doors, locks, and they all wind their way into this collection in a way that is just as fascinating as all of her other works previously reviewed on Poet Hound. If she ever offers a boxed set, I would urge anyone to spring for it immediately. For now, I am always eager for the next collection and proud to share samples with you, readers:

4. Inaccessible.
1. Something unattainable by ordinary means.
2. Meaning that one seems frigid or unapproachable.
3. Referring to a research station on the North Pole (See also: Pole of Inaccessiblity).
5. The painting renders her conscious mind as a window overlooking a barren field. To an untrained eye, the ice gathering on the ledge seems to herald a lengthy solitude.

From the chapter titled “Guide to the Holy Land:” I am unable to do Darling justice as there are symbols included with 2 and 3 above. However, I like this piece because it makes reference to the idea that what an artist is trying to present versus others interpretation can be two different things when the painting is mentioned. As for the term “inaccessible” I wonder if she is referring to Petrarch’s fixation on Laura de Noves? The reference to the North Pole makes me think of “cold shoulder.” Either way, I like that so much is left to interpretation and allows the reader to make their own story with the use of these footnotes.

1. A seemingly endless blue corridor, which leads to an empty room.
2. She fastened the latch as the light began to fade. That was when she wandered the unlit halls. A heavy fog drifting through all the windows.
3. “Only when alone did I understand this house by the sea, its faultless architecture. And now a pigeon nesting in every rafter.”

This is from the chapter titled “On the Solitary Life.” There are references within the collection of “the house by the sea” and I’m not sure if it refers to Petrarch’s poems or to a subconscious mind frame. The images are haunting and beautiful, the “endless blue corridor” and “heavy fog drifting through all the windows.” You can imagine a figure wandering this corridor, shadowed by fog, hearing the pigeons roosting and the figure trying to discover what is at the end, only to find emptiness, the figure’s voice is captured above, it could be Darling’s or a fictionalized figure. I let my own imagination drift to a drafty house with long hallways, abandoned by the original owners and providing no clues to who used to live there.

1. A cabinet that housed her beloved’s black winter coat.
2. When asked, she would describe his attire as “militant.” Yet his hands seemed fragile, even delicate.
3. “I remember only the struggle between his decorum and my unfailing warmth. Within every drawer I found the most dangerous objects.”

This excerpt is from the chapter “Triumphs.” Here I imagine Petrarch’s love, Laura, being featured, though I could be wrong. The juxtaposition between the man’s hard edges, his “militant” attire and the drawer of “most dangerous objects” against his “hands” that “seemed fragile, even delicate,” brings the characters of this excerpt closer to the reader. You can imagine the woman’s smile and the man’s struggle to maintain a strong, hard-edged façade. You can then imagine translating it into your own interactions in a variety of situations and this makes the excerpts above more life-like and colorful to me.

I can hardly do Darling’s work justice. All I can say is that I love the mystery of the footnotes and the beautiful images, phrases, and how they all tie together when you read the book cover to cover. To purchase a copy of Petrarchan by Kristina Marie Darling for $16.00 go to:
or purchase from BlazeVox for $16.00 at:

For more details about Francesco Petrarca, the inspiration behind this collection, go to:

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Poems Found by Poet Hound

“Future Perfect” By Jeffrey Park

“Bones” by Larry D. Thomas

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lisa M. Cole's Renegade//Heart

Lisa M. Cole’s Renegade//Heart is published by Blood Pudding Press in 2013 and is a riveting collection of poems about love and life that drill to the bone creating fissures, provoking blood loss, changing the meaning of good and bad luck. I can hardly do her justice, all I can say is it is worth purchasing a copy for yourself because you will read it again and again as I have. Below I am happy to share some sample poems:
wait until night & set//your bed on fire, darling//sleep with all the dolls//unhook your rotary phone & watch//the broken chandelier as it swings like a marionette// listen, little dancer://some girls just want to watch the world burn

This poem makes me think of a young girl surrounded by her dolls and her imagination at night. I also think of the poet reflecting back on her childhood days and shaking up the contents of her old bedroom. The imagery of a burning bed with a chandelier swinging overhead like a dangling puppet is scary and seems a defiant act of the girl in the poem, her way of rising against something happening in her life.

a story in which I am the damsel, the maiden, a reluctant crowned girl//I slept for days (years)//I woke up confused//& the world was inverted://spoons did not nourish but demolish//voodoo dolls brought good luck//& you loved me again//to swerve & waver (caper)//to want me supine & ready//yes: the most profound shaman is also stranded in burned ruins

I imagine a woman going through heartbreak, sleeping so much that the world seems unfamiliar when she wakes up, something I can relate to as many of us can. When you want the world to be opposite of what it is, to get the love of your life back, which might mean that the universe would have to be topsy turvy with demolishing spoons and lucky voodoo dolls. I like the concept, that in order to have love back, other items would have to reverse their original nature.

do you see?//we//are almost old//we are almost amber//I stare into your ferris wheel eye//as the summer cicadas whirr & stammer in my bones//dear sage//every time I want to write to you, I am going to write a line instead

I love this poem because I can relate to this one, too. Your emotions are so strong that you want to write a letter to the person you feel so strongly about and instead you write lines, poems. How many of us struggle to put into words our feelings for others? How often can we actually address them directly? Lovely poem.

If you enjoyed this sample of Lisa M. Cole’s Renegade//Heart you may purchase a copy for yourself for $7.00 at:

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Galway Review Open Submissions

It would be best to look around the website and get a feel for what kinds of work they feature. Make sure poems are the kind those in other languages will understand, so straightforward is recommended. You may e-mail your poems to: thegalwayreview@gmail.com

For further details and to explore their site go to:

Good luck to all who submit, please drop in again next week…

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Poems Found by Poet Hound

“Blueprint” by Theodosia Henney

“The Turkey’s Nest Part 1” by Gabriella Torres

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Juliet Cook’s Poisonous Beautyskull Lollipop

Juliet Cooks’ collection, Poisonous Beautyskull Lollipop, has been published by Grey Book Press as of 2013 and it is a riveting, stark collection that becomes “curiouser and curiouser” as I envision Alice in Wonderland saying if she read it, too. It is a journey that opens your skull and allows your own mind to dance and tangle with her poems. The cover is also very eye-catching. I love Juliet Cook’s work, I wish I were as able to write as freely as she does when the menagerie in the mind is bled onto paper and I am happy to share some of her poems below:

Female Infestation

cutting girls out of catalogs, holding child-sized scissor blades deep

scissoring images of women, categorizing them into portals

making flashcards out of some of them, gluing them onto squares

a hole series comprised of busty ladies, in the back

subject subconscious mind to skimpy assets

make fun of little girls’ matchbox cars and transformers

rap their knuckles, retail their brain into bikini zone palettes

slash me into desirable womanly creature over under

conjure up my broken doll legs, sink me inside my odd doll factory

mounted on a strange vase, I am a poisonous beautyskull lollipop.

This poem lets my mind flow freely with the images, and as you can see, the title of the collection is borne of this poem. What I like about it is the idea of cutting out images of women as so many of us remember or are still making collages throughout our lives and the images of women available are often of “busty ladies” and “skimpy assets.” The line “make fun of little girls’ matchbox cars and transformers” just solidifies the idea that women are supposed to fit the role of being beautiful and to do certain things society continues to prescribe females. The idea of “making flashcards” makes it sound as if our poet is studying to be more “feminine” while keeping in check the “masculine” parts of herself. It is something all women struggle with, and men, too, for that matter. Boys who are discouraged from playing with dolls with their sisters, for instance. Gender roles and how we fit in among them, how the poet feels as though she is “mounted on a strange vase, I am a poisonous beautyskull lollipop.” Poisonous because she cannot live up to the strict feminine guidelines I wonder?

The Ugly Duckling

One half doll swath, the other half unruly. This is my dirty-feathered fate. Birthed of the black swan lace, a high-pitched soprano solo of my past, but my present is loose gravel, is groveling. No longer can I make my diaphragm work that way—that heave that smoothes into sweet syllabics. My new rhythm spurts and gags.

Throughout her poems Juliet Cook speaks of birds, bloody, dirty, struggling. In this poem, I imagine the poet is trying to feel beautiful again, trying to find her “rhythm” from before a tragedy that she has overcome. Her present is “loose gravel” and I picture a delicate creature trying to gain footing and that the poet uses this image to describe a place in her own life. I think it is a wonderful poem about trying to get back to “normal.”

Venus Tree

I planted my oranges with teeth.
I offered my crush a piece of spiked fruit.
Next thing I knew, he was missing an arm.

Could this be transcendence in a new-fangled way,
or were we just consuming each other? How do we
move past our mutilation into our desired sweet bite?

Forbidden to talk about hunger, we suffer
involuntary movements of the tongue—
weevils, vowels, forking out.

My tongue flicking, my limbs twitching
like orange-splotched salamander tails.
I wanted to chew and swallow, but I spewed it—

a bloody spume of glitter dripping down.

This poem makes me think of the poet trying to communicate with someone she loves and what comes out of her self-expression is something quite different. Hence the tongue bearing “weevils, vowels, forking out” and “bloody spume of glitter dripping down.” The imagery is vivid, I can picture a woman trying to speak and what comes out is colored glitter, and her body gestures strange—like “salamander tails.” How often have we tried desperately to express ourselves only for everything to come out all wrong? That’s the impression I get from the poem. For better or worse, the poet is not able to express what she wants to in a way that can be understood.

If you enjoyed this sample, you may purchase a copy of Poisonous Beautyskull Lollipop by Juliet Cook for $5.00 at:

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Opera in Bianco/Contemporary Poetry

Frederico Federici clued me in to some wonderful English translations on his blog of poems that you should all check out at:

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lisa M. Cole's tinder//heart

Lisa M. Cole’s chapbook, tinder//heart, published by Dancing Girl Press in 2012, is beautiful and riveting. There is pain, tenderness, beauty and scars among the pages, all exquisitely revealed by Lisa M. Cole’s mastery of prose poetry. Her words appear as free flowing thought corralled into order. It is difficult to share only a few poems so I urge you to pick up a copy for yourself after reading these samples:

that you didn’t love me//knocked flat//love greater than fear//no walls/tear down & conquer do it//not enough love//thinking//quell love//quell it//drawing the eye//clover eyes, pig eyes, frog eyes, zombie eyes//brick house dreams//digging with a short-handed hoe//remember when we talked of wedding dresses & white cake//my mother cradling my face//don’t quit soldier//don’t quit//biding time//driving, driving/she is a white zombie//no voice box//no chords//ships need anchors

This poem reminds me of free-flow thinking and writing your thoughts as they naturally occur before breaking them up into the fragments that they appeared in. I imagine the poet thinking about a recent lover and trying to stifle the overwhelming tide of emotion, hence the italicized words to emphasize the intensity of the emotions throughout the poem. I love the imagery, the different kinds of eyes she names, perhaps the way her eyes look during the ups and downs of the emotions, and the “brick house dreams” where so many of us picture that perfect house to live in with that perfect someone. Her mother “cradling my face” is endearing and heart breaking all at once and then followed by “don’t quit soldier” and you hope the Mom is encouraging the poet through this heartache to come out whole on the other side of the grief. It’s a beautiful poem. I’ve read it over and over again and just find more and more that I love about it.

touching his skin soft like a pear//memory opens like so many tattered maps//empty perfume bottles shattered//teeth marks on all the books//drinking bloody marys till dawn and scheming like chemists//butter cookies in the backseat of the car after sleeping with the horses in the grass//spill ink on your arm//remember the palm trees & the balmy nights//the letters to too many lovers written in long-hand//all the theatres in your mind fall down & then you see it//what you breathe against//a heart full of tinders

I love the images of each line framed by the //. I envision the poet thinking of a man who she loved dearly but has gone on with his own life and she sees the small moments in freeze frames. I love “teeth marks on all the books” and wonder whose teeth made those marks and how does someone end up putting book in their teeth? What sort of pair sleeps in the grass with horses and then either eats or finds butter cookies in the backseat of the car? I love the idea of “the theatres in your mind fall down & then you see it” all the dramatic spins that reminiscing can impose of true memory and then to strip the memory back down to its true nature. Everything about it makes me long to learn more about this pair in the poem, to dig down further into their history.

when grace asks, give her rusted pennies//the lament of the lungs//that we can never breathe enough//give enough//live enough//when grace allows//love an Irishman with a red beard//bruise your Achilles’ heel dancing drunk in your stockings smoking Camel cigarettes//call the horse & chariot that holds your desire//& runrunrun

I love the idea of “when grace asks…” That state of grace which can be so difficult to achieve, and in the poem is the sense that we are never good enough to achieve grace. So when grace allows it, why not allow yourself to love, to dance, to drink, to smoke, to run? That’s what I imagine the poem’s message to be. I’d love to know how this poem came to Lisa M Cole’s mind and what her intentions are for its meaning.

If you enjoyed this review and these wonderful samples, you may purchase a copy of tinder//heart by Lisa Cole for $7.00 from Dancing Girl Press at:

Thanks always for reading, please drop in again next week...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Poems Found by Poet Hound

“New Companions Coming Soon” by Meg Thompson

“o! hello araby, again” by Kristin Hatch

Thanks again, please drop in again next week…

Monday, February 11, 2013

Aleathia Drehmer's Site

I’m a fan of Aleathia Drehmer’s work and editorial skills. Now she has her website devoted to showcasing all her skills and dreams and things-in-the-works so check it out at:

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Friday, February 8, 2013

Read A Good Book: Hank & Jules by Jason Fisk

Jason Fisk’s collection of short stories, Hank & Jules, is published by killthemiddlemanpress.com. It is a haunting collection of stories about the couple described above and how they fell in love, endured hardships, and are slated to part through sickness rather than health. I found myself feeling uplifted and redeemed in “Chemical Reaction” where Henry’s father learns that love is not just a “chemical reaction” and I found myself cringing in anticipation in the story “Harmonious.” “Harmonious” is the story of Henry’s car accident and the secret that could be exposed about his true intentions for being found at the zoo at the time of the car accident with his wife worried and anxious at his side. Many of the stories leave you wondering what the end really is and leaves the reader to anticipate the ultimate conclusion for each short story. However, the ultimate concluding story will break your heart even as it leaves you with questions. It is a page-turning read and is the perfect book for a rainy day spent indoors.

If you enjoyed this review of Hank & Jules by Jason Fisk you may purchase a copy for $5.50 by going to:

To learn more about Jason Fisk, who writes poetry and fiction, please visit his blog at:

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Lit Garden Open Submissions

Seeking poetry (among other types of writing) with a limit of 500 words for upcoming issues: The Resurrection issue (deadline Feb. 28) and The Plunder Issue (deadline March 30th). You may submit via e-mail to: joanne@thelitgarden.com

Be sure to check out their website for further details, etc. at:

Good luck to all who submit, please drop in tomorrow for Read A Good Book…

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Poems Found by Poet Hound

“Waning” by Angele Ellis

“Southern” by Worthy Evans

Katrina Marie Darling’s and Carol Guess’s collaborative poems/prose, all of them

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Navigation of Loss by Jane Rosenberg LaForge

Jane Rosenberg LaForge has been featured on Poet Hound before and I am pleased to feature her today with her chapbook The Navigation of Loss published by Red Ochre Press in 2012. While the title lets us know that the contents are about loss the poems themselves are composed of real and imagined scenes with emotions ranging from nostalgia to heartbreak. At the end of the collection is an interview between the editor Mimi Ferebee and the poet about her work which is enlightening and wonderful. I wish all poetry collections had this feature, even just a few short questions and the responses from the writer would be a grand thing for all readers. All of us are curious to a writer’s inspirations and motivations and the interview at the end provides us that crucial information. The collection is whimsical and stark all at the same time. Below I am happy to share a couple of poems:


If I could live in that place
that photographs not in sepia
but in burnt umber, so there
is enough of a reminder of blood,
of what was not carried out,
and left with wounds to open;
where trees do not endure,
but merely assemble, as if
they have been called for
that one final round, to collect
their retirement and meaningless
medals; there my feet would
not upbraid the dirt, and my eyes
would not tear at the cold;
my breath could be as thick
as the clay below and the warmth
of it would not matter. I might
wear a garment of earth, restore
the autumn to my hair, and I
would belong. I would be invisible,
I would be both bark and hollow.
I am so old now that I can only
be disappointed in my humanness,
my vanity and jealousness, and
I am left with only the option
Of waiting, neither for sunset nor
Twilight but for the stain to breach
Clean of all taste, and all of color.

This poem feels earthy and sensual in a way I did not expect. The poet speaks of older photographs where most, but not all, the color is drained out and how she wants to inhabit that space where everything is arranged just so and that nothing in the scene would or could be disturbed. I think we all feel that way at times, the desperate need for order in our lives, to inhabit some perfect scene that we find in magazines and TV shows and films instead of the imperfect and chaotic space of our real lives. She describes her reality at the end and so many of can relate to feeling “disappointed in my humanness.” There is no perfection, only humanity, it is a beautiful poem.

The Navigation of Loss

In the apartment I bought
with my inheritance, I can
sit at one end and feel as though
my grandmother’s grand bathroom
is just down the long hall; with the
sunken tub beside the clouded window
that smeared the landscape outside of it.
This is supposed to be about loss, how
it is quantified and navigated in cardinal
directions according to our infernal
compasses. It does not matter if ironweed
and cattails grew too high outside the
bathroom for the fire department, only
that my grandmother’s rooms had to be
sequestered far and away from everyone
else; she was so ill and delicate. In the
kitchen, there was an intercom, and my
uncle typed up a legend for its buttons,
on the old typewriter that left tears in the
consonants, and shadows in the vowels.
For the last button, he had typed “Mother’s
Room,” and when I was old enough to read
it I realized just who this man was, living
with my grandparents. My uncle hung his
antique maps throughout the rest of the house,
instruments devised before satellites and
contemporary battles. Continents distended,
oceans shrunk; there were fewer borders than
I remembered, and there were no rivers or
mountains. Just after my uncle died, his wife
tried to give me those maps, but I said it was too
soon for that. She told me he had confided he had
always been afraid of women because his mother
was always on the verge of death. That’s why he
became a doctor, though he would have rather been
anything else.

The poem’s ending catches my heart strings. The poet looks back on her family’s life as she was growing up and learns that her uncle chose his profession out of a fear of the unknown. So many of us pursue life either avoiding our fears or trying to learn more about them in order to overcome. What we don’t know is whether her uncle ever found the answers he was looking for and so there is another layer of loss for the reader to contemplate on. The antique maps are a visual cue and reminder of the poets’ uncle and his ways and I wonder if she ever decides to receive the maps and hang them in her own home?

If you enjoyed this review you may read more sample poems and purchase a copy of The Navigation of Loss by Jane Rosenberg LaForge for $11.00 at:

To learn more about Jane Rosenberg LaForge and find more of her poetry and writing, visit her website at:

Thanks always for reading, please click in tomorrow for more Poems Found by Poet Hound…