Friday, March 20, 2020

Maya Salameh's "rooh"




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"Maya Salameh’s rooh deftly works the familiar into the defamiliarized, in poems crackling with exuberant fluency. I read these poems and language feels boundless, looking feels boundless, form feels boundless. I read these poems and feel the possibilities of poetry stretching, evolving, breaking open to make room for the true refreshment that is Maya Salameh’s voice—its mischief, its enormous eyes.”

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Sarah Cooper's "Permanent Marker"




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Sarah Cooper’s Permanent Marker is a stunning elegiac sequence for a brother and the family he’s left behind. But the chapbook is also about living through tremendous pain with grace and generosity, honest anger, and empathy. The poems are elegant in their imagery, evocative in their details, and artistic in their narrative focus. Sarah Cooper is a superb poet of witness. -- Denise Duhamel
Put simply: Sarah Cooper’s Permanent Marker enchants us. In “Grandma’s House,” we find the young Cooper siblings playing Ouija in the basement, casting spells with pebbles and bird feathers, hypnotized by the "oranges and pinks and blues of the jams glistening on shelves.” Such youth can’t be preserved. And though Cooper’s poems make this gut-wrenchingly clear in narrating the loss of that brother from the cellar, all the mystery of youth — that strange potion of great joy and deep sadness — is carried into these poems like a talisman. Like the BB left in the sister’s chest, forgotten, until years later she steps from the shower, runs her wet fingers over the lump, "and remembered your face / in shock as you realized you had shot me.” -- D. Gilson
Sarah Cooper's Permanent Marker is about the ways we are marked by loss and all the forms that loss may take. The ephemeral smell of her brother's cologne. His number and birthday, which she refuses to remove from her phone. Her brother’s baby teeth, which her father keeps in an Aleve bottle, suggesting the links this book traces between memory and pain. This is not a book about PTSD or addiction or brothers and sisters. It is about the collateral damage, the reverberating impact of loss on those left behind.
--Ed Madden

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Kimiko Hahn's "Brittle Process"




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"...relentless formal experimentation." Adam Boretz, on Brain Fever

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Ananda Lima's "Translation"



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There is so much unbridled joy and pained tenderness in Ananda Lima’s Translation. Inspired by the poet Nathaniel Mackey and the musician Caetano Veloso, her verse streams effortlessly down the page, plaiting English with Portuguese, as Lima sings of the thrills and terrors of her new life in America, the pleasures of motherhood, and what she inherited from her family. Her voice is singular and wise and fresh. I love the poems in this chapbook.
Cathy Park Hong

Ananda Lima's Translation is as much a mother's grappling with how to raise her son amid the danger and violence of today's America as it is an investigation of a daughter's inherited, migrant Brazilian past. Lima's poetry has the rare power to let us feel and "know the terror" of the present moment, while reflecting on and ancestry and passing on familial legacy to the next generation. Her poems aren't afraid to "shout 'I’m an American citizen' " across borders and languages, while shattering the security of presumed identity and recognizing both the precarity and privilege of citizenship. Piercing and poignant, Lima's voice and music stay with you, "undisturbed / by wind or water, there will always remain/ a footprint" guiding your way home.
Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach

Lá na Bahia or on the 7 train, Ananda Lima’s poems house a stillness that moves gracefully on the page. Translation is altruistic in its soft haunt, its fleshly reminder that our daily self-discoveries are just the bones of ancestors waking for attention. The collection is a sun of moments gathered to greet us when and, wherever we may land after a long day of feeling like “other.”
Shauna Barbosa

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Meredith Boe's "What City"



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"Moving with deft concision from location to location, this collection of eight pieces of brief prose feels like wandering through a city and stumbling upon treasure: a geocache of place and its associated feeling--not just where things happen, but how and why they matter. The stories leave the reader with a soft illumination, the way 'lightning bugs emerge from a blanket of black sky.' "
Kathleen Rooney, author of Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

"In What City Meredith Boe’s prose inhabits neighborhoods of circumstance and memory. These essays delicately navigate love, loss, and moments of being, tracking terrains both intimate and urban. What city? Her city."
Barrie Jean Borich, author of Apocalypse, Darling and Body Geographic

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Robin Littell's "Flight"



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Robin Littell holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Miami University. Her stories can be found in Tin House, Two Hawks Quarterly, Literary Mama, Mud Season Review, Found Polaroids, Adanna, and others. More work is forthcoming in Fiction Southeast. Robin lives and writes in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Andres Rojas's "Looking For What Isn't There"





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"These colorful swaths of memory and lost language have their own smart beauty, forced open like an amaryllis in winter to enrich and warm the heart. Andres Rojas' poems feel like rare birds migrating through a drizzled landscape, surprising and subtle and transformational all at once. What a remarkable pleasure it is to read each one."

D.A. Powell


“Reading Looking For What Isn’t There, I remember the feeling of encountering Andres Rojas’s poems for the first time; I’m right back in that electric headspace. This poet is not walking a worn path, not echoing anyone else’s voice. Each metaphor,each line—“the radio waves/ lobster-boiled in the censored air”; “a boulevard/ of moonlight on water”—feels both brand-new and full of deep, hard-won wisdom. What a balancing act! I know I’ll return to these poems again and again.”

Maggie Smith


“The poems of Andres Rojas are succinct, pared down to the essentials: crystalline phrasing, striking imagery. His language, though concise, reveals and complicates longing and exile: ‘What we can’t miss /makes us whole.’ Among the sorrow, the necessity of insight urgently blooms. Empathy allows us to see ‘[a] skeletal Ford. [i]ts vaguely human form.’”

Eduardo C. Corral