Tobias Wray reviews Susan Firer’s Milwaukee Does Strange Things to People

firer-susan.jpgFor many poets, place is more than physical or lyrical proximity. Place can be an impetus, the inspiration for how and why their verse goes where it does. But, where it begins and where it ends is something of a protean contract between poet and process, between reader and time. We humans are ever locating ourselves. The recent discovery of a potentially habitable world orbiting, as Susan Firer calls it in a new poem, our “next nearest star,” reminds us how much imagination is at play in place: despite the facts, that this planet has no seasons, an 11-day year, that the sky is likely the general color of orangutans, etc., the news exploded with headlines translating those findings into hope, the Most Earth-like Planet Has Been Found! It seems we care most about places we can imagine being in, inhabiting. Continue reading

Freesia McKee reviews Lesléa Newman’s “I Carry My Mother”

lsleanewman.png“I know how to make matzo balls/big as fists/and how to live on nothing/but cottage cheese, cigarettes, and air/but I know, too/that my mother is involved/in everything I know”

Last year, I watched my mother lose her mother. As my grandmother approached hospice care, we sorted through her stuff. My grandmother hoarded things: coffee mugs, clothes bought from garage sales, cookbooks, newspapers. My mother and her sisters spent weeks clearing out half a duplex stuffed with our matriarch’s many belongings.

My grandmother saved many things, including items from her own mother—my great-grandmother. On the day I visited the emptying house to divide up items with the other grandchildren, I found my great-grandmother’s purse stuffed in a drawer, full of what was in there when she died in 1990—a full wallet, pens, tissues, all the items intact.  Continue reading

Sarah Richards Graba reviews 100 Chinese Silences by Timothy Yu

Join Timothy Yu (100 Chinese Silences) and Mike Hauser (Red and White Balloons) on June 2, 2016 at 7 PM for a FREE Book Release Reading at Woodland Pattern. More Information Here.

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100 Chinese Silences
Timothy Yu
Les Figues Press, 2016
$17

I read 100 Chinese Silences out loud.

When I settled in the read Timothy Yu’s first full-length book of poetry, it was raining, I was alone, and I didn’t turn on background music. I read the first ten Chinese silences in, well, silence. Then I realized I didn’t want to do that; I didn’t want to read this particular book in particular that way. So I started over and began reading them aloud, to myself, one by one, in my empty home, surrounded by steely sky. Continue reading