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

Neighbor

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

Sun Stigmata

“Sumptuous Sculpture”

In 2009 I reviewed Eileen Tabios’ Reproductions of the Empty Flagpole (2002, Marsh Hawk Press; http://newmysticsreviews.blogspot.com/2009/01/poetic-meditation-review-of-eileen.html). I encourage the reader to take a few moments to read that review, because what follows, including a reconstitution of that review as a poem, proceeds directly from where it ends.

Always pushing boundaries, Tabios, after 12 years, took the prose poems from Reproductions and reworked them as “written-sculpted” poems, likening the process in her Preface to a sculptor releasing the image from a block of stone.

While the prose poems in Reproductions employed mainly painting metaphors, this re-constituted collection brings in music, dancing, architecture, writing, and, of course, sculpture. Continue reading

Bewilderness

‘We blow the pants off our competition.’

Review by Grady Harp

Missouri poet Marc McKee teaches at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri and has published both chapbooks (What Apocalypse?), winner of the New Michigan Press/DIAGRAM 2008 Chapbook Contest, works in journals (Barn Owl Review, Boston Review, Cimarron Review, Conduit, Crazyhorse, DIAGRAM, Forklift, Ohio, LIT, and Pleiades) and collections of his own poems – the first in 2011 FUSE and now BEWILDERMENT. His stature as an American poet is in the upper echelon as reading this magnificent anthology will prove to the reader. Continue reading