Invent[st]ory: Selected Catalog Poems & New

“Introductions to Infinity”

Review by Joey Madia

The arrival of a new Eileen Tabios book has become no less than an Event for me. Not only is it inspiring to see what new forms and source material this award-winning and prolific poet and editor is working with and drawing from, but it inevitably leads to my own experimentation with whatever creative works I am bringing to life at the time. Tabios is very much a writer’s writer, and one of the leading poet-practitioners in the realm of how to make the reader participatory with the experience. In essence, Tabios is such a writer’s writer that she wants everyone to be, if not a writer, than certainly an active author of their own experience and engagement. This is an aspiration that is beyond resonant with me as an artist, mentor, and storyteller. Continue reading

Others Will Enter the Gates

‘I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’ – Emma Lazarus, 1883

Review by Grady Harp

The editor of this impressive collection of works by immigrant poets is Abayomi Animashaun, a Nigerian émigré whose poems have appeared in such journals as 5A.M., African American Review, Southern Indiana Review, Diode, The Adirondack Review, The Drunken Boat, and The Cortland Review. He is the author of two poetry collections published by Black Lawrence Press, THE GIVING OF PEARS (2010), winner of the 2008 Hudson Prize, and SAILING FOR ITHACA (2014). He teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Knowing well the works of many of these poets (e.g., Jee Leong Koh, Ocean Vuong, Lisa Birwan and others), this book is particularly fascinating. Continue reading

A Sense of Regard: Essays on Poetry and Race

An urgently important book – especially at this time

Review by Grady Harp

After reading Editor Laura McCullough’s book of poems SPEECH ACTS this reader wrote the following; it is pertinent because she maintains this same degree of observation in selecting the works in this important volume: It is difficult to find a poet as smart and as sensible and as gifted as Laura McCullough to have the energy and the daring to explore the words that act as intercourse between the reader and the writer. SPEECH ACTS radiates fine writing – as we have all come to expect from McCullough (‘Panic’, Women And Other Hostages’, etc) – but is a collection of works that goes beyond where she has been before. As one person put it ‘Located in the nexus of mind and body, the poems in SPEECH ACTS use language as a weapon, a tool, a sex toy, a map, a love letter and argue with alternate provocation and tenderness that language is the sexiest and most intimate mode of intercourse that humans have.’ Continue reading


product_thumbnail“Thru the Windows and the Blinds”

Review by Joey Madia

Some poets write in a minimalist, Eastern style that reads like a sutra or a prayer, as opposed to the at-times very dense poetry of Western writers. Poets writing in the former style give the reader ample space in which to graft their interpretations and morph their experiences with the work, allowing their poems to operate like myths, folk tales, and fairytales.

It was five years ago that I first reviewed Ed Baker’s work, when I received for the purpose his Restoration Letters (1972–1978)—co-authored with Cid Corman—and his solo book, Restoration Poems (1972–2007). I had been a fan of his writing and goddess illustrations for years prior, and since publishing that review, we have kept in touch through email. Continue reading

Bury Me in Her Eyes

‘For you I accelerate!’

Review by Grady Harp

Non Nomen is Latin for “no name.” Not much is known about the author other than his professional work as an artist and writer. He uses a very distinctive method of writing that has become known as Graphic-verse. Some readers may argue that a moniker such as this is a wall behind which to hide. In Non Nomen’s case it seems appropriate in that he is walking a line between poetry and visual are and entering a region not explored – a book that is in twenty-eight languages, a challenge at first and then a mystical experience as the reader explores as the pages of this mystery unfold. It appears that he lives on Cyprus.

The book is divided into two parts; Part One explains the genesis of this book and its concept (this portion is in English) – its motive: to express the pull between the eyes of a lover and the poet. Continue reading