Wrack Lariat

Purposeful Poetics

Review by Joey Madia

To engage with Heller Levinson’s poetry is to make the commitment to immerse. To commit. Reminding me of a combination of the visual–typographic poetry of Vernon Frazer, the fractal approach of Ric Carfagna, and the boundary-pushing poetic theories of Eileen Tabios, Levinson’s barrage of words and forms and breadth of artistic starting places (plasticity of language and its meaning, philosophy, music, visual arts) comes forth from the writer’s inner alchemical furnace into a vortex powered by a girding energy of quantum physics and Eastern spiritual tenets that swirl the material together, where it places on the page, not randomly, but in a molecular–textual structure that one could walk the exploratory halls of for days on end.

Given that there is no chance of even scratching the surface of this work in a two-page review, I am choosing a handful of sections (what Levinson terms “modules”) that were particularly resonant for me. One of the joyful challenges of engaging with poetics as approached by Levinson and the other poets I mentioned in the opening is that the keys of the reader’s own worldviews, literary, performing arts, and philosophical background can be tried in the various locks of the poems with varying degrees of accessibility and resonance. Levinson is particularly erudite and complex in the breadth of material from which he draws, and so the locks are numerous and amenable to the insertion and turning of any number of keys. Continue reading

The Man at the Foot of the Bed

“Evidence of Other Realms”

A Review by Joey Madia

A few weeks ago I published my review of Josette Berardi’s I’m Not Dead, Am I? Although that book came out a year after this one, I chose to read it first because the scope was larger, discussing the paranormal experiences of her family, especially her daughter, in the context of her mother’s severe illness and hospitalization.

The Man at the Foot of the Bed is a much different book, with an appropriately less intimate and passionate voice, which operates on two levels: the first is as a memoir of her daughter Nicole’s experiences, from a toddler to her late teens, as a medium who can communicate with the deceased and who has had encounters with other, darker, entities. Continue reading

The Orphan

Reviewed by Dyane Sherwood

In The Orphan: A Journey to Wholeness, Audrey Punnett has brought this powerful topic to our attention in a thoughtful and multifaceted book that is engaging, carefully researched, and clearly written. As a Jungian analyst, she concerns herself with the effects on individuals of losing a parent in childhood and with the universal questions of the Orphan in each of us—that is, the underdeveloped aspects of our personalities that have lacked the nurturing, structure, and sense of security that they have needed to grow.

In her opening chapters, Dr. Punnett recounts the way the theme of the orphan seemed to find her, rather than her consciously seeking it out, after she had moved alone to Zurich to enter analytic training. Throughout, one can sense her deep empathy with the loneliness of the parentless child. Continue reading

Humans Need Not Apply

It isn’t ‘science fiction’ anymore. . .

Review by Grady Harp

Author Jerry Kaplan gained international recognition with his book “Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure” and is now a well-traveled speaker and futurist as well as a serial entrepreneur, technical innovator, co-founder of four Silicon Valley startups, two of which became publicly traded companies. He is currently a Fellow at The Stanford Center for Legal Informatics. He also teaches Philosophy, Ethics, and Impact of Artificial Intelligence in the Computer Science Department, Stanford University. He holds a BA (1972) from the University of Chicago in History and Philosophy of Science, and an MSE (1975) and PhD (1979) in Computer and Information Science, specializing in Artificial Intelligence and Computational Linguistics, from the University of Pennsylvania. Continue reading

I’m Not Dead, Am I?: A Paranormal Family Living in Rural New York

“Guidance from Beyond”

A Review by Joey Madia

When I first heard about the experiences of the Berardi family, through a mutual contact, I was immediately drawn to the core elements of their story because of certain similarities in my own life: Italian Catholics, the Berardis have experienced paranormal events, in their case, through the gift of mediumship that runs through the maternal side of the family and through their many clients for readings and house clearings.

As readers of my reviews, blog essays, plays, and fiction are aware, I have had a lifetime of paranormal experiences, some of which have involved visitations from deceased family members, and I believe that, although I am no longer a practicing Catholic, my experiences growing up in the Roman Catholic Church (complete with Catholic school, CCD, and church on Sundays and Holy Days) have informed my relationship with the paranormal. Continue reading