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Short Reviews

Recommended Reading


Books on writing are plentiful, and I would guess most of them are helpful in one way or another. But of those I have read only a few warrant rereading.


The Writer's Portable Mentor by Priscilla Long is a most thorough and insightful examination of the most important basics of the craft.


The Haiku Handbook by William J. Higginson and Penny Harter explores the history the present and the techniques of haiku and how to teach haiku. Many of these lessons are very much applicable to any poetry or writing.


Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg answers concerns writers tend to distract themselves with and cures writer's self doubt and block.


A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver explores sound and imagery and inspiration in a very resonant visceral and inspiring way.


Not Aloud


In Christopher J. Jarmick's Not Aloud catharsis is a journey as well as destination. Profound absurd funny insightful biographical fanciful rational and illogical, Not Aloud captivates pulling the reader along as witness. And oh what a witness we will be and what sights to seeingly see, ghosts of dead poets examining produce, the sound of not breaking up, Poem Starters, fathers and sons, fathers and daughters, baseball, and dragons in the sky. Some day they'll make a movie out of it, but trust me, the book is way better.


Tree Talk


Tree Talk by Cindy Hutchings proves that if you are quiet enough and still enough you can hear even the smallest whispers. Her conversation with the tree across the street ranges from simple to sublime, from mutual concern to unwanted grooming. Cindy's precise poetry leaves little leaves of imagery and smiles across the eyes of whoever leafs through.


The Existentialist Cookbook


In this not-a-cookbook, Shawnte Orion channels ghosts of poets past and present to serve up well worded quips and whipped metaphors. Whether he is Basho eulogizing Edgar Allen Poe of the anonymous fast-food employee chronicling Freudian slips at KFC, Shawnte Orion serves us succulent dishes seasoned to poetic perfection.


The Quiet Year

The Quiet Year by Laura Allen (Two Ponies Press, 2017) is a trip into a collage world where oil and print images intermingle creating angelic centaurs of air and fire; bringing to life mythologies as old as time, transforming the everyday into prayer. Laura's lovely poems offer insight, inscrutable and evocative, while her images taunt with deeper mystery. The pairing makes both picture and poem all the more wonderous and will leave you happily lost in a collage world of words.

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