Minor Confessions of an Angel Falling Upward

Review by K.P. Ambroziak

This is one of the most interesting, intoxicating, and innovative books I’ve read in a long time. It’s a journal, a confession, a celestial manifesto for the Fallen. But it’s also a throwback to all the great writers of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, those who lived on the edge of art and admission, paving the way for deep meditation and mental masturbation. Tortured thoughts and explicit scenes steeped in a rich vat of lush vocabulary, all make up this devil / vampire / possessor’s confessions—think Marquis de Sade (who makes an appearance), if he were a vampire.

But this isn’t an easy read, nor is it a read for those who’ve spent a lifetime ignoring the core of romantic literature and its predecessors. The wealth of literary, religious, and philosophical knowledge Planner Forthright possesses is astounding. One can believe he’s a fallen angel if only for the immense head on his shoulders. His voice is emotive and stilted at once, and his honesty would have anyone too embarrassed to read his words aloud. But he’s also shared more here than one could ever hope, teaching his reader about the ways of God and the power he’s usurped, a potency that may well have been split evenly. Planner tells us he is heir apparent to the Universe herself, but has no interest in power. If he had a talent, he says, he’d pursue it to the exclusion of all else because “forsaking one’s gifts, when you are lucky enough to have them, is one of the greatest crimes.” Continue reading

Way of the Diviner

Review by Joey Madia

Half a dozen years ago, a package arrived in the mail from a publisher. As I made the half mile walk back from the mailbox toward my house on a hill on the far side of a West Virginia hollow, I pulled back the tab on the top of the mailer and out spilled The Toltec I-Ching, a beautifully illustrated new take on the venerable divining method of ancient China.

Sending an email to the publisher that afternoon, I said that I would put the book thoroughly through its paces as a self-help guide, as I was in the midst of making several important decisions, both professionally and personally. The Toltec I-Ching, my review of which is available at New Mystics Reviews, was more than helpful—it was life changing. Taking the complexity of the trigrams and hexagrams of the I-Ching and breaking them down into understandable explanations, Horden, along with his illustrator, allowed me to access insights that yielded immediate results on application. I recommended the book to others, and shared it with many visitors to my home who were also seeking some guidance. Continue reading

Dear Mary

“The Reader as Mediator”

Review by Joey Madia

Dear Mary, Rupert M. Loydell’s twentieth collection of poetry, is a series of meditations on the Virgin Mary and the circumstances of her miraculous conception. True to form, Loydell, a painter as well as poet, approaches the mystery through the dual lens of words and images. And one does not have to be raised Catholic like myself to appreciate the large number of images available to us that take as their subject Mary’s receiving of the news from the angel Gabriel and her subsequent life as mother of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Indeed, “the appearance/of the angel,” as Loydell says in the poem “A Process of Discovery”: “the event/the moment/as pregnant/as the Madonna” (18). With this encounter heavily weighted from the onset, Loydell explores the crafting of the image, as in “Colour by Numbers,” although he does not take the elitist angle of painting as something only for the highly trained—especially with religious matters as its subject—but something for everyone, something as simple as a color by numbers painting, which you can “take… to the next level” (26). This is more Bob Ross than Old Masters, and refreshingly so. Continue reading

Stories of Music (Book 2)

‘Music is the universal language … it brings people closer together.’ – Ella Fitzgerald

Review by Grady Harp

Now and then along comes a book that simply changes everything. STORIES OF MUSIC, of which this is Volume 2, is that kind of book, though ‘book’ would hardly define this heart work: this is a multimedia project that includes audio and video aspects of the physical, very handsome book that can be held in the lap for musing and with the little miracles of modern technology expand that reading experience spherically. Art, poetry, stories, songs, photography from around the world are gathered as a tribute to the influence of music in our lives.

STORIES OF MUSIC is the creation of Holly E. Tripp, a musician, freelance writer, editor, and marketing consultant based in Denver, Colorado who stepped from the corporate world to respond to her own memories of childhood and stories from her grandmother, realizing the impact music has had in her history. Appreciating that relevance she decided to merge all of her talents to create a multimedia anthology featuring works from more than 40 authors and artists from around the world – a book that now includes poetry, nonfiction, photography, audio, and video presented in a print book with a free companion web edition. She is accompanied by California ‘blue collar’ poet Bill Cushing who has absorbed life across the USA, gaining his education from the University of Central Florida and earning an MFA in writing from Goddard College in Vermont. Bill teaches English at East Los Angeles and Mt San Antonio colleges and lives in Glendale, California. Continue reading

Improving Mental Health

‘We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.’ Anaïs Nin

Review by Grady Harp

New York’s Chief Psychiatrist Lloyd I. Sederer, M.D., is Chief Medical Officer of the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH), the nation’s largest state mental health system, an Adjunct Professor at the Columbia/Mailman School of Public Health, and has been Medical Director and Executive Vice President of McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA, a Harvard teaching hospital, and Director of the Division of Clinical Services for the American Psychiatric Association. His contributions to his field and to the community at large have been rewarded by the American Psychiatric Association (Psychiatric Administrator of the Year), Scholar-in-Residence grant by the Rockefeller Foundation and an Exemplary Psychiatrist award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. He has published books for both professional and lay audiences in addition to many articles in medical journals and non-medical publications like TheAtlantic.com, The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Commonweal Magazine, and Psychology Today. He is Medical Editor for Mental Health for the Huffington Post and Contributing Writer to US News & World Report. Continue reading