Category Archives: Reviews

New blog! New blog! New blog!

Hello, everyone!

As I posted previously, I have moved to a new blog!! Quite a few new posts have been generated there by this point, and I’d love to know that you’re not missing out!

Please update your bookmarks or subscribe to my new blog, if you’re interested! I hope you’ll continue to follow me there; you’ve been such a great community!

my blog has moved


My blog has moved!! Please follow!!

Hello, all!

Pack your bags!! Update your bookmarks!! My blog has upgraded and moved to a new location. I hope you all will follow; you have been such a supportive community.

Here is a link to the new location: here.

my blog has moved


Preparing the Way for My Daughter: Reading Lori Day’s Her Next Chapter

Lori Day_Her Next Chapter Upon reading Lori Day’s Her Next Chapter: How Mother-Daughter Book Clubs Can Help Girls Navigate Malicious Media, Risky Relationships, Girl Gossip, and So Much More, I am completely floored with possibilities. Her Next Chapter, at first glance, may be meant as an organizational tool for beginning and maintaining effective Mother-Daughter book clubs (which is covered in the Part 1 chapters); but Day’s book additionally discusses current issues and obstacles our young girls are facing, ways of handling those obstacles and teaching our girls about them through conversation and—get this—reading books (covered in the Part 2 chapters).

Being twenty-six years old with my first child (a daughter) on the way, this book was pertinent and timely on a personal level. Upon entering this book, I had never even heard of Mother-Daughter book clubs and loved the prospect of someday starting one with my own daughter, opening new avenues and conversations through the power of reading and discussion. I started making personal lists of all the books I would want to include in my library and was eager to see Day’s suggestions. What I never anticipated about these book clubs was the prospect of collaborating with other mothers, getting to know my daughter’s friends and peers, and how long we might be able to be together as a group. Not to mention the attention to detail in Part 2 on identifying and discussing key issues in our daughters’ lives, via our observations of our daughters, the books we read with them, and the discussions we may have within the book club and other book-club-related activities and events.

All of that being said, however, the timeliness of this text in a larger global setting is much more important—and this is an extremely timely text for our nation. Never before have issues with gender normativity and stereotypes, rape culture and the sexualization of women been of greater focus and importance; and this book largely focuses on these topics, among others, explaining not only the theoretical meaning behind these terms, but how they impact our girls, how our girls may embrace them (or be captured by them), and how we can discuss these topics with our girls to bring greater meaning, authenticity and value to their lives than is offered by hypersexualization.

Perhaps what is the most interesting (and startling) to me is the velocity at which all of these topics have become prevalent, and even accepted and embraced (by some), in our society. When I was a child, there were well-defined toys-for-girls aisles in the stores where my mother shopped, and all of the toys we looked at were offered in pink; but it was still a new enough idea that buying the colorful or gender-neutral option was not considered out-of-bounds by observers. However, issues with sexuality and the new pressures of social media were totally lost on my mother, a Baby Boomer; and we were left with little to get us through the tween and teen years. Though I am in a far better position in this way than my mother, I carry no delusions that I understand every single thing my daughter will have face and the sorts of pressures that will be presented to her that may have not been prevalent when I was her age. However, having Her Next Chapter on hand, as “cheesy” as this might sound, is a great reassurance and what I believe to be a much-needed tool in my future as a mother.

Whether or not we are ever able to generate our own Mother-Daughter Book Club, I still envision myself returning to this book for the purpose of staying current with the topics presented in this book, and for book recommendations for my daughter’s library (which will be present and discussed on our own time in a more leisurely fashion, if a Book Club does not manage to thrive). Lori Day and her daughter, Charlotte Kugler, have compiled an invaluable tool—for expectant mothers, for mothers with young daughters, for mothers with daughters in the throes of teenhood, and (in my opinion) even mothers with older daughters who need a better understanding relationship with their mothers about the goings-on in their lives and the decisions they’ve had to make along the way. Written in an approachable, at times funny, manner, this text functions as a dialogue about societal theory, literature and film, and generating communities, at a time when we could not need them more.

 

 

LORI DAY speaks in schools, libraries, bookstores, and a variety of other community settings about mother-daughter book clubs, girl empowerment, media literacy, or any other topic of interest related to today’s girl culture and raising girls. To schedule Lori for a workshop, author talk, conference presentation, parent education event, or individual consultation, please contact her through her website for more information and fees. Lori loves to “visit” book clubs anywhere in the world via Skype free of charge, so if that’s of interest, let her know!

View Her Next Chapter: How Mother-Daughter Book Clubs Can Help Girls Navigate Malicious Media, Risky Relationships, Girl Gossip, and So Much More, here.

 


The Spectrum of Mood & Mind: Reading Kyle Muntz’s Green Lights

Kyle Muntz_Green Lights Dreamscape; Existentialism; Echoes of Religion and Tradition—these, among others, represent the themes that are presented to us, and challenge us, in the reading of Kyle Muntz’s Green Lights, a novella structured within a surrealist neighborhood that responds to and depends upon the current spectral landscape.

That is to say, color, and the narrator’s fixation on and repetition of the phrase, “I want to talk about color.” Whether or not this is a literal reference to the desire to discuss the color spectrum, and whether or not this desire is ever achieved, is somewhat unanswerable within the context of this work. Green Lights, from very early-on, becomes a dreamscape. This is not to narrow the focus of the novella, or an attempt to devise one umbrella term for it; rather, it explains some of the expectation, and even the overwhelming acceptance, of the surreal, the unreal, the sublime, as they are presented through these various worlds of color, strung within the landscape of one neighborhood.

Imagine, for a moment, one of your strangest dreams in which you felt the need to do something, to achieve a particular goal; you were then probably met with distractions, diversions, tangents, that all at once abstracted that goal, even buried it, until such a time came that an event, a sight, triggered a reminder of that earlier goal. Until that occurs, however—until the narrator can again say, “I want to talk about color”—those distractions are perceived as real (as normal, even) until such a time comes that the actual goal, the reality from which the dream is based, can be presented as a contrasting point, and the strangeness of those previous occurrences, upon awakening, can be scrutinized. Without that contrasting point, without that goal, though, all the strangeness contained in that dream can simply exist without further explanation—which would, in turn, allow some of the beauty of the surrealist aspects of the story to deflate (as the surreal has a way of not only normalizing itself within the context of a piece, but also spends some time drawing attention to itself, its weirdness, and its weird beauty).

What becomes so fascinating about this repetition of a fairly-simple want—the desire to talk about color—is not only the return to it, from strange observations of large flowers and a man eating children and a talking octopus, but how its simplicity draws greater attention to the impact of these colors on the neighborhood and its inhabitants within. We find ourselves—or, at least, I find myself—looking for patterns in this varying spectrum: How does the narrator’s mindset change from color to color? How do we explain E’s disappearances? The connections between the moon and the girl with the violin and her hiding places? The octopus? The man who eats children and later attempts acts of sacrifice? How do these inhabitants, this neighborhood, change with the passing of colors—everything in green, everything cast in a blue light, seeing red, et cetera?

Can we actually create a correlation between color and act, color and mood, color and the mind?

Perhaps, if given enough time, we could—but I don’t think that is the point. Given that this is a surrealist piece, and (in my mind) a dreamscape of sorts, such a set of correlations would ultimately contain exceptions, inconsistencies, and would fall apart. And that is the point. While the narrator may be under the guise of wanting to talk about color, trying to portray specifics of what can occur within each color-scape would be overly systemic for something so rooted in the surreal . . . But this fascination with the correlation between color and mind, however brief, remains so because of our very-human desire for explanations, for answers, which dreams often do not (cannot, will not) give us, just as the surreal doesn’t.

. . . Which is perhaps where the importance and power of the existential, and even religious, ties come into play. I’ve come to expect certain complexities in Muntz’s work, including (but, by far, not limited to) questions rooted in existentialism: Why am I here? What is my purpose? What do these happenings mean? While Green Lights does not constantly ask these questions verbatim, they are rooted, both, in the happenings of the story, from color to color, and in the narrator’s reactions to and thoughts about such happenings. Such moments as the narrator’s interactions with M, or the confrontation with the octopus, or the inability for the moon to remain out of the sky forever all point to this larger interconnectedness. What’s interesting, too, are the subtle elements of religion and even tradition that occur in the text—from M’s ritualistic act with water that seemed to take root from a Native American wake, to the ritualistic aspect of sacrifice with the old man. These moments, when paired with the more existentially-rooted questions, stand out against the dreamscape, because (whether or not they are occurring in a dream-state) they are real to us, these questions and the desire to connect, whether or not the situation in which they are presented is unusual, or even impossible, in waking context.

Perhaps that is what I love most about Muntz’s work, particularly Green Lights—the connections we as readers can make, through the interconnectivity of dreamscape and existentialism. Whether or not we are meant to know the exact role of each color, whether or not we are meant to know the exact consumeristic meaning behind the man who eats children or the moon’s rendezvous with this neighborhood, we are in some manner meant to connect through those experiences we possess and those acts we perform: we dream, and we desire, and we desire to know our place and purpose within a larger context, whether that context is the size of a neighborhood or the universe.

Kyle Muntz’s Green Lights may, at the foundation, be about the goings-on in a town in which a color spectrum is highly integral and what occurs in these various color settings, but when we begin to look deeper, at all the layers beneath, we find questions of possibility and purpose, and observations of joy and wonder, weirdness and beauty . . . We find life, in all its complexity and strangeness, through one of the scopes of greatest potential for exploration and observation: the dreamscape. This novella, while complex and with many possibilities of interpretation, leaves itself open to our intentions of connection as readers, while continuing to confound us and present us with new avenues through which these characters may traverse and transform and grow, with us and before us.

 

 

KYLE MUNTZ is the author of three novels and two novellas: Green Lights (Civil Coping Mechanisms) and The Crippled Giant (forthcoming from Mixer Publishing). Recently, he’s also the writer and designer of The Pale City, an independently-produced role-playing game for PC.

 


Looking Back: Lessons in Complacency Taken from Frank Stanford and Dean Young

The Singing KnivesThe Art of Recklessness

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THE SINGING KNIVES

The dogs woke me up
I looked out the window

Jimmy ran down the road
With the knife in his mouth
He was naked
And the moon
Was a dead man floating down the river

He jumped on the Gypsy’s pony
He rode through camp
I could see the dust

There was the saddlebag full of knives
He was crazy

When Jimmy cut a throat
The eyes rolled back in the head
Like they was baptized
I tell you
When he cut a throat
It was like Abednego’s guitar
And the blood
Flew out like a quail

He had the red hand
He poked the eyes out

I dreamed I stepped over a log
And there was fire in my foot
I dreamed I saw a turkey and two wildcats
Jumped on me at the same time
I dreamed Jimmy was pouring ice water
Over my head at noon
I dreamed I heard somebody
Singing in the outhouse
I dreamed the mad dog bit the Gypsy
And they tied him to a tree
I dreamed I was buried in the Indian mound
And moon Lake rose up
I dreamed my father was wading the river of death
With his heart in his hand
I dreamed Jimmy rowed out the front door
With a hawk on his shoulder
And I was in the bow kneeling down
I dreamed the blacksnake rode the guitar
Down the river
I dreamed the clouds went by
The moon like dead fish
I dreamed I was dragging
A cotton sack with a dead man in it
I dreamed the fish bandits stole the hogs
Off my lines
And one of them was a hunchback
I dreamed the night was a horse
With its eyes shut
I dreamed I had to fight the good man with the bad arm
And he had the dynamite
I dreamed I trailed a buck from Panther Brake to Panther Burn
I dreamed the Chickasaw slit his throat in the papaw
I dreamed that rising sun was smoking blood
You could pick up and throw
I dreamed the Chinaman’s peg leg
I dreamed I was fishing in heaven with Sho Nuff
and Jesus cleaned the fish
I dreamed a man flies wouldn’t bite
I dreamed I was riding through Leland in a dragline bucket
And the cotton making everyday
I dreamed we got the bootlegger’s truck out of the mud
I dreamed the levee broke
I dreamed the Gypsy was laughing under the water
And the minnows were swimming through his eyes
I dreamed I reached down in Moon Lake
And untied his arms and one hand
Floated up the way it did
When he threw those knives
I dreamed the pony that fights in the water
And the boat that towed the dead man
I dreamed I felt the knife singing in Abednego’s back
I dreamed I pulled the ring out of his ear
And Jimmy put it on his finger
And swam through the water
I dreamed he was looking for Abednego’s boot
And when he came up
He had the jackknife between his teeth
I dreamed he was so beautiful
He had to die someday
I dreamed a knife like a song you can’t whistle

“Let’s go, I got to throw tonight!” he says

He had the bandanna around his neck
And the pilot’s cap on
He played the harp in the moonlight

I led the horse out back
I tied him to the Chinaberry tree

“What you want” I says
But I knew he wanted me
Standing at the back of that outhouse
“Shut up” he says “don’t move”

The dirt dobbers flew around my head

He threw Boo Kay Jack at me
He threw Django at me
The mosquitoes drew blood
I looked on the ground
I saw the shadows coming like gars
Swimming under me at night
I saw the red moon too
I wished I was running a trot line
I wished I was in a fight
I wished I was fanning myself in church
But there was a heart on the fan
With a switchblade through it

And the knives came by

The bone handled one
The hawk handled one
The one with a blade like a skiff
Out of his boot
Behind his back
Mexican style
The way Abednego showed him

Singing in the outhouse
Like a horse breaking wind

He took the knife and ran it
Across his arm
Then he ran it across mine

Blood come out like hot soda

He tied our arms together
With the blue bandana
And we laid down in the cotton
I wished I was riding a mule somewhere
Blowing a jug
With a string full of crappie
And the cotton making everyday

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Poetry has a deeply personal relationship with memory; like music, it foils and complicates prior experiences and memories through its reading and presentation.

This morning, I spent a few hours revisiting Frank Stanford’s The Singing Knives, and it took me back to my first semester of creative writing in my undergraduate career. Since I was unable to take any creative courses during my first year of study—I had to get as many of those general education requirements out of the way early, after all—I decided to take two courses in creative writing, in a sense, to make up for lost time: an “introductory” creative writing course and an art & aesthetics course, in Fall 2008.

The reason The Singing Knives took me back so readily to that year had everything to do with the fact that there was a writing assignment, a poem assignment, centered around the title poem. We were required to use the poem as a model, writing in the “I dreamed” structure, with a topic of our choice. After I had finished reading the title poem, I dug back through my oldest undergraduate work and opened the file for my own Singing Knives poem… and was disappointed at what I found. While I had clearly attempted to create a dreamscape, and certainly had compiled some interesting images that could be put to better use now, I bailed in the end by literally waking the narrator from a dream, creating a clean line between what was real and what was dream. This premise was far from the truth of Stanford’s poem, in that the dream images not only are complicated in the “waking” areas of the title poem, but are repurposed in later poems later in the book!—through the use of outhouses, horses, the moon, animalistic personification, and the like.

This is where Dean Young comes in—last night, I visited the first half of his book, The Art of Recklessness; and it, too, took me back to my first year of study—though, this time, to my first year of graduate study, Fall 2012. My poetry professor at the time stated to the class, about halfway through the course, “When writers are on the verge of change, when they are finally on to sometime great, that is the moment when they absolutely cannot become complacent.” While this is immediately not verbatim, he did use the term “complacency,” which relates immediately to Young’s following statement:

“In the case of art that defines itself as resistance, its continued effectiveness is dependent upon the continued health of that which it resists, just as the vitality of a virus depends upon the continued health of its host. (Viruses, as we know, may be ingenious but they’re rather dumb and often polish off their hosts, the definition of a bad houseguest.) Once that critique has been assimilated or worn out, it becomes defanged, domesticated, no longer combative, rather quaint. Quaintness may be the worst that can happen to an art, its fire replaced by a lava lamp. The worst thing that can happen to an artist is to become a bore, to become complacent” (Young 8).

This resistance Young refers to specifies not so much resistance to an object or topic, but rather, how that object or topic is approached—creating that object or topic in a new way in poetry, or other art forms. This resistance, then, can only continue if the artist—in this case, to be more specific, writer—is continually willing to resist sameness, to risk recklessness, in doing something they have not tried or are uncomfortable with. In this lies my disappointment: while I was creating a poem that was different, that was edgier than my prior work, I remember becoming uncomfortable with the content, worrying how readers would view what was written, and so I hid those images under the premise of literal dreamscape, under the cloak of “what occurs in dreams is unexplainable and, therefore, should be excused.” I had yet to learn what artists have to learn in order to be successful: the idea that an artist need only please him/herself, and the idea that the artist must risk being a little bit reckless in order to stay fresh.

Both of these ideas—hell, rules—are readily complied with in Stanford’s The Singing Knives. In reading the collection, I was struck with the shift made approximately halfway through, beginning with “The Bass,” when the narrator seems to shift from focusing on humanistic relationships in the context of nature to more readily focusing on observations and relationships with nature itself (though with the occasional exception of still including humanistic relationships where nature is the more-central topic). While this move could simply be marked as a “shift” in the collection, it also functions as a move of recklessness, allowing the collection to focus on, both, man and nature, and man’s place and context within nature. Because of this shift, the collection is able to focus more so on the Native American implications of the poems, rather than simply on relationships and, in a sense, animal sacrifice. The movements made in the relationships and the violence done unto the animals is given more authority, and a touch of gentleness and grace, through this Native American presentation that may send some readers off to Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony and some of Sherman Alexie’s edgier poems.

In revisiting Frank Stanford’s collection, I was provided with an imagistic example of what it means to be reckless, in what it means to provide that necessary shift in a poetry collection, or even in one longer poem. While I may not be able to revise that 2008 poem to meet the needs of truly reflecting Stanford’s poem, that may just be okay, because it represents a learning curve. Instead, another poem may be written, and as Dean Young states early in his book, when speaking of writing a poem without knowing how it will turn out, “it is impossible to know what will happen next but certainly we may be assured that the world will not be made worse” (3).

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Frank Stanford’s The Singing Knives (Lost Roads Publishing Company, Number 18, 1979)

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Dean Young’s The Art of Recklessness: Poetry as Assertive Force and Contradiction (Graywolf Press, 2010)

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“Silence, silence…which is in me / like a hill”: Lessons to be taken from Robert Creeley

Robert Creeley Selected 1945-2005Admittedly, whenever I sit down to read “one of the greats” for the first time, my inner-skeptic finds her way out and asks, “What’s with all the hype?” I ask this question not for the sake of propelling myself forward, or of devaluing late-writers, but for the sake of asking what contemporary writers should be taking from their predecessors. Especially the ones widely marked as “great.”

While I like to see myself as well-read, there are still some significant holes in the foundation of my reading (at least to any great extent) of these predecessors—Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and Robert Creeley, to name a few. These writers, along with John Ashbery and Robert Hass (again, to only name a few) are among those that I either have or will question and/or challenge when I first turn to their work. When I sat down with Robert Creeley’s Selected Poems, 1945-2005, this afternoon, I went in only having read a few poems previously, knowing a lot of opinions about the writer’s work and feeling skeptical about whether or not his work would meet the demands of all the praise.

In a word, no—I was not disappointed.

Referring first to the title of my blog post, Robert Creeley’s work offers many lessons to his readers who are also writers; and these lessons are written well enough to be taken note of and are subtle enough to be ignored (if the reader so wishes). Beyond simply admiring the wide range in Creeley’s writing style and topic choices, I admired the ways in which he described the Body and, oddly enough, the Weather, as well as his meta-critiques of language, and even built-in lessons on such writing provisions as enjambment.

In looking specifically at Creeley’s exploration of the body and of weather (or natural conditions, to expand the view), his stance on the relationship between the body and nature, or humankind and nature, becomes clear: they are interconnected.

THE DEATH OF VENUS

I dreamt her sensual proportions
had suffered sea-change,

that she was a porpoise, a
sea-beast rising lucid from the mist.

The sound of waves killed speech
but there were gestures –

of my own, it was to call her closer,
of hers, she snorted and filled her lungs with water,

then sank, to the bottom,
and looking down, clear it was, like crystal,

there I saw her. (58)

Reading a poem such as “The Death of Venus,” the poem is both about the exploration of a woman and the man’s relationship with her, but also the mysteries of that relationship, both unpacked and complicated further through the use of metaphor. There is also a sense of enlightenment through nature, when the man seems to see the woman through the water “clear [as] it was, like crystal” for the first time, clearly (58). This enlightenment is similarly carried over into other poems and is also used as a form of explanation for worldly issues. The poem, “The men in my life were…” describes, first, the male role models or influences in the narrator’s life, but the scenario is then complicated and expanded upon through the final two lines:

The wind rises in a
fucking, endless volume. (139)

In looking at a poem such as this, the initial explanation may be a simple listing of male familial figures; however, ending on a note of nature’s sheer size and endlessness, the relationship between the narrator becomes, both, violent and seemingly hopeless. Using nature’s conditions as a means to describe and complicate the layers of relationships seems to be one of Creeley’s many talents, and though this first Selected compiles poems from a series of sixteen individual poetry collections, this method of relating the body with nature is not exhausted.

However—not only does Creeley model the use of nature in poetry effectively, there are also many other writing lessons that can be taken, simply by looking at what Creeley does within the context of a poem—take, for instance, his poem, “3 in 1.”

3 IN 1

The bird
flies
out the
window. She
flies.

*

The bird flies
out the
window. She
flies.

*

The bird
flies. She
flies.

Granted, this poem is still largely about nature, and there are even implications placed on the female body, through the use of “she.” However, a poem such as this one also teaches the reader something about the importance of enjambment, in that the first two sections are identical, other than their spatial integrity. In the first section, “the bird” is somewhat removed from the action of “flies,” as if she has not yet flown, though the second section more immediately suggests the bird’s current motion. Finally, in the final, reduced section, “the bird” and the pronoun “she” are directly paralleled after being visually separated by “out the window” in the preceding sections. Now, why is this important? After all, if the decision is ultimately left up to the writer about where to place the line break, or how to use

white space,

why should the writer, in a sense, point out that he is making these decisions? Perhaps in a poem such as this one, the intent could be used as a means to suggest motion to the reader, in a sort of step-by-step form. Then again, it also provides the reader with a reminder of the importance of line breaks and enjambment, despite whatever Creeley’s intent might have been.

Though these are very minor, and brief, explanations of some of what Creeley has provided to writers, a review such as this one is only meant to provide a snapshot, and can only provide a snapshot, of what such a profound writer has done. In the words of John Ashbery, “these poems are “so fantastically simple and so satisfyingly complicated [that they] band together like the days in ‘One Day’”:

ONE DAY

One day after another –
perfect.
They all fit.

And to add one final thought to Ashbery’s account, these poems, just like days, can all be perfect, and can fit perfectly together, if the reader has an open mind when sitting down to ask the question, “What’s with all the hype?”

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all quotes and poems from Robert Creeley’s Selected Poems, 1945-2005, edited by Benjamin Friedlander (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008)


KabbaLoom: Reading Lisa Fishman

Flower Cart Upon first impression, Lisa Fishman’s Flower Cart may appear to be somewhat inaccessible and scattered, due to its intellectual leaps, orientation-variations (horizontal and vertical) and multimedia-feel insertions.

However, through further exploration, the collection is, both, extremely intuitive and strategic. Fishman displays a clear understanding and mastery of language and syntax through her use of repetition and the evolution of words (including references to the OED); and her intuition then appears in the intellectual leaps made and in the transformation of repeated phrases. My favorite culmination of these assets is Fishman’s poem, “KabbaLoom,” which originally appeared as a chapbook by Wyrd Press in 2007. In this reader’s opinion, the poem is meant to be read aloud—slowly. The beginning—and majority—of the poem functions through the “evolution” of various words, such as in the opening line: “Material mater matrix womb (check oed)” (63). This particular moment in the poem suggests not only references to the OED but also a word’s potential evolution purely through the changing or omission of a letter, or an adjustment in pronunciation (which is a move Fishman makes more frequently as the poem continues). The particularly intuitive movements of the poem, however, are involved more directly with the few phrases that appear in the poem, often isolated on their own pages, such as, “sometimes a shape is a wall” and “Do not kneel,” which appear on two separate pages, side-by-side (70-71). Why these sentences become so important is the fact that these phrases act as summations of the previously listed words; they function as the logical pauses and foundational check-points in the poem. Through these particular lines, a reader can maintain balance and better appreciate the movement and evolution of words in the otherwise heavily-moving, enjambed, white-space-ridden poem.

Fishman’s poems, admittedly, require quite a lot of intellectual effort from the reader—from time, to the opportunity to read a poem out loud, to making the intellectual leaps, etc—and there may even be a question for some as to whether or not the ends justify the means; that is, whether or not the ending, or culmination of poems, justifies the effort the reader may have had to put into the collection. It’s a fair question, and I can honestly, immediately think of several people—enough to fill one hand, at least—who either would give up on the book, would hardly attempt it, or would feel cheated in the end. However, I feel Fishman, like many poets, requires a certain type of reader. If the reader is willing to work her way through a book for several days, taking the time to enjoy the sounds and language and movement—both visually and intellectually—and opens her mind to the intellectual leaps Fishman aims to make, then the reader will be presented with a very powerful collection of poems. I personally really enjoyed them, as I am constantly involved in poetry that is abstract, lyrical or surreal in some aspect and that which requires that additional investment. This collection was entirely worth the effort, in my mind, and I would recommend that anyone and everyone give the collection a try—after, first, opening their minds.

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Fishman, Lisa. Flower Cart. Boise: Ahsahta Press, 2011.

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If you’re interested in purchasing Flower Cart, please visit Ahsahta Press!


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