play dead

Play Dead book cover

Play Dead, by Francine J. Harris (yes, I know she does not capitalize). The imagery is difficult. The topics more so. This isn’t tiptoeing through tulips, it’s surviving rape and violence, it’s murder and suicide. It’s life, and that isn’t tulips. Difficult is what makes the poetry so powerful; it provides words for what is […]

Becoming Me

Cover of the book Becoming Me

Becoming Me, A Metamorphosis by Sheila Powell, is a short autobiographical collection of poems on pain, healing, and love. Marked with possible triggers, it delves deeply into her difficult past before bringing you with her to a kinder, gentler present. Lyrical anger, grating words. Rhyme or not, who says meter is master? But can I […]

Rise and Fall

Book cover of Rise and Fall

Rise and Fall by Ana Božičević is some of “the whitest shit/I’ve ever written”, but don’t take that the wrong way. “I’m out of my princess phase.” But still, not too un-princess. It won the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Poetry. Božičević’s poetry is layered and complex, untethered and solidly grounded, holding the […]

A Year From Today

A-Year-From-Today book cover

A Year From Today, the last in a trilogy of books (Journal of Ugly Sites & Other Journals are the others) from Stacy Szymaszek, is a book-length poetic exploration of the urban landscape. Its weight hangs over you like dark skyscrapers not quite collapsing in, although you can’t convince your lizard-brain of that. The lizard-brain […]

The Catamount

Cover of The Catamount book

Sarah Van Arsdale’s The Catamount is a 32-page poem featuring watercolour illustrations by Van Arsdale. Having only rather briefly seen and held this hand-bound book, I can tell you I like the way it feels in my hands. The emblematic Cat, without native language and throughout time, traverses through the work. Gone but perhaps even […]