Thursday, October 10, 2019

Roget's Illusion by Linda Bierds

Roget's Illusion by Linda Bierds
Bierds finds inspiration in the work and notes of Peter Mark Roget, most known for his expansive thesaurus.

The poems in this collection emulate Roget through not only direct quotes but what feels, from Bierd, a personal connection with the man. Ponderous and curious, the poems bring to mind images of their creator hunching in the dark, writing by candlelight, brow furrowed lightly.

The sloping language and careful attention to meter, spacing, line breaks, stanza breaks, and pacing create a mood calm and intense all at once.

The poems are sectioned into four sections,  each beginning with a poem called Roget's Illusion, followed by its respective number in the series.

The collection is concerned with what lies beneath the surface of words, of ideas, and how we make meaning from both, using one to inform the other and vice versa. 

Post Subject: A Fable by Oliver de la Paz

These DEAR EMPIRE poems explore the ever-growing mechanism of empire. Each poem is addressed to the empire and begins with the phrase "These are your [blank]..." creating a shape to the free-wheeling witnessing of the empires reach.

From the publisher:

First Hand by Linda Bierds

First Hand by Lind Bierds is a series of connected poems that tell a story of scientific and historical facts and achievements over the centuries. Her poems include characters such as Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton, and Gregor Mendel. The collection has three parts, along with a prologue and epilogue. A few poems are written in italics. 



Irradiated Cities by Mariko Nagai

Irradiated Cities by Mariko Nagai is a collection of prose poems and photographs about the destruction of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Fukushima by nuclear weapons. The long prose poems are comprised largely of fragments of narrative, research and voices of the victims. The dialogue is sometimes in italics, but not always, and not always specified where it has originated, either from documents, conversations and interviews or the imagination of the poet. The collection traces the impact of the bombing and resultant radiation on the area, surrounding areas, on its people and infrastructure over time (from the bombing through the present) through medical documents, scientific reports, personal testimony, interviews, personal experience of the poet, news articles and other avenues. Notes for the poems are found between the collection’s sections.

the author’s website:

The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart by Gabrielle Calvocoressi

The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart by Gabrielle Calvocoressi is a collection of poems about spectacle and disappearance largely in rural American life (specifically mining and factory towns), and, sometimes, the queerness in these spaces. The collection begins with a series of persona poems about the last time individuals from her town, her life, and her team saw Amelia Earhart. The speakers include Earhart’s husband, a housewife, a school teacher, a flight mechanic, and bystanders. Another series of poems is threaded throughout the collection, “From the Adult Drive-in”, are also persona poems written in the voices of the various viewers of the adult films, many of them including lesbian encounters between actors. There are a series of poems about a “Circus Fire, 1944” including poems in the voices of attendees, workers, performers, the coroner, an abandoned child and even the arsonist himself. The collection interrupts itself, here, with the poem “Backdrop” in which the poet claims that all of these things “never existed” – not the town, the fire, the films, even parts of the speaker themselves. The book closes with a series of poems about the death of Margaret Fuller, a 19th Century feminist scholar and transcendentalist, who was lost in a shipwreck off the coast of New York – her body and the body of her husband were never recovered. There are no notes on the research for the collection, but most of the poems are titled using the names of their speakers and dates and locations are often provided as well.

the author's website:

Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York

Buffalo Dance is a collection of poems by Frank X Walker about the experiences of York as a slave and his journey to freedom. 

You can buy the book here:

author's website here:

faculty page listing his "artist statement"

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Names Above Houses by Oliver de la Paz

In Names Above Houses by Oliver de la Paz, we are introduced to Fidelito, a Filipino boy and his family.  The book explores the experience of a Filipino family moving to San Francisco and the obstacles they must face.  It is told mostly in prose poems with magical realism.  The poems feel like fairy tales, intertwining animals, faith, myths, cultures and religions to show us the view point of a child and a difficult thing.  Fidelito is obsessed with flying, symbolized by wings on his back (real or imagined), airplanes, and his constant obsession with the sky. 

You can learn more about the poet here:

buy it here:

and read more here:
and here: