Fanny Howe’s latest poetry collection Second Childhood muses about the mundane world, including everything from chance meetings to the joys and sorrows of being a parent. Unlike other poetry collections, Howe’s poems have an impersonal narrator who muses on both the mundane and spiritual aspects of the world we live in. From chance encounters to pondering life’s mysteries, her work is a loving homage to the wonder of the world around us.
However, there’s a melancholy air as Howe yearns for the innocence of childhood as she delves deep into the rollercoaster ride that is raising a child of her own. She also mourns the loss of the active imagination that one has as a kid, because once you hit adulthood, it’s basically stamped out.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Friday, August 8th, 2014||No Comments »|
Unlike other sugary-sweet love poems, the pieces contained in poet Sally Wen Mao’s Mad Honey Symposium highlight the dark and often feral nature of desire. Based off of the ancient Greek writings of Plato, who often held symposiums where guests would drink and banter with one another, as well as the ancient tale of the “mad honey” (nectar created from the rhododendron ponticum that caused hallucinations for those who ingested it), the poems set the stage for a mad honey drinking party. At this party, Wen Mao’s poetry shows how desire can add an element of unquenchable hunger into one’s life and lead the hapless soul onto the very edge of danger. However, she uses unusual symbols to explore the nature of desire—badgers, plants, bodily organs, etc.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, June 18th, 2014||No Comments »|
Spoken word poet Indigo Williams made an appearance at TEDxBrixton to discuss using poetry to “confound stereotypes.” Williams, who was the 2012 New Generation Slam Poetry winner and currently works at Goldsmiths University, began by reciting her piece “Dark Black,” which explored the racism that has plagued her all her life.
Williams lets her audience get a glimpse of the shame and racism she felt as a child and how it’s ingrained in our society that having “too dark skin” is considered not ideal. However, the piece ends on a lighter note with Williams’ mother teaching her daughter that having dark skin is nothing to be ashamed of, no matter what society and its bullies say. One by one, Williams deconstructs many of the racist stereotypes she’s been faced with over the years with eloquence and wit in one short but still mesmerizing performance!
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Thursday, May 1st, 2014||No Comments »|
Up-and-coming writer, poet, and visual artist Meg Cowen is a master at creating works her readers can return to again and again. Her latest publication is a chapbook called If Tigers Do Not Come, which won the Palettes & Quills 3rd Biennial Chapbook Contest for Poetry. If Tigers Do Not Come seamlessly blends the surreal with the profound. Each poem is full of surprises as Cowen reveals layers of meaning with her unusual use of imagery. She takes readers on a horrifying journey where they watch one narrator transform into a dog and another where the dead return to give one final goodbye.
However, despite the curious mixture of horror and fragile images, underneath it all is one underlying message: language has the power to transform each and every one of us. Whether it’s metaphorical bindings that need to be broken or one last goodbye, language is what brings humans together and ultimately sets us free.
Her other chapbook, When Surrounded By Fire was published by Dancing Girl Press in February 2013. Cowen’s work can also be seen in the following publications as well: the Los Angeles Review, THRUSH Poetry Journal, Harpur Palate, The Pedestal Magazine, Gargoyle, and the Pinch. With her keen eye for well-placed imagery, Cowen is certainly an up-and-coming poet to keep a sharp eye out for.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014||No Comments »|
Two of the most complex emotions revolve around love and loss, and Teresa Leo’s Bloom In Reverse is a collection of poetry that confronts both. Instead of starting off in the future and reminiscing about the past, Leo’s poems are told in reverse order and revolve around the death of a close friend and the end of a very turbulent relationship. The poems begin with the soul-crushing grief that surrounds the loss of a loved one, and in her depression, the narrator makes the conscious decision to try and work through the devastating losses in her life by visiting local bars and attempting to heal her heart’s wounds by giving online dating a try as well.
As the poems move from soul-crushing grief to the heartache of having to learn to live without a loved one, this burgeoning desire to heal and start over is the catalyst that allows her to finally find a true love connection in another person. At the end of the collection, the readers are able to watch as the narrator comes to terms with her losses and is able to start a healthy, sustainable relationship with their new significant other.
From the deepest grief to the joyful start of a new relationship, Teresa Leo’s Bloom In Reverse takes readers on an incredible journey via poetry through the best and worst emotions that life has to offer.
Top image by Ervins Strauhmanis
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, March 26th, 2014||No Comments »|
Poet Cecilia Llompart’s debut collection allows her readers to sip from the glass of human emotion and experience all that our souls have to offer. While many of the poems published within are full of subtlety and scale, which invites readers to reflect several times on the meaning of the words within, she also gives a unique view of the world around us as well. By taking a metaphorical time-lapse camera and giving her readers a pair of binoculars to fully examine not only her thoughts on the world but also our own experiences as humans, Llompart shows the beauty in being still and observing everything around you.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Thursday, March 13th, 2014||1 Comment »|