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Author: Broadsides to Books


Broadsides to Books: A Geometry of Grief

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Demoted Planet by Katherine Fallon Headmistress Press, 2021 ISBN 978-1735823607 $12, Purchase at bookshop.org Review by Joely Fitch In the opening poem of Katherine Fallon’s Demoted Planet, a daughter listens to a lecture she can’t understand. It’s a dream, and the presentation is illegible from the start; her parents appear with dramatic props and secrets that sound like the possibility of knowledge, but which fail immediately: “Mother didn’t speak and Dad wrote endless code / …


Broadsides to Books: Our Lady of Bewilderment

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Our Lady of Bewildermentby Alison PelegrinLouisiana State University Press, 2022$17.43, Purchase at bookshop.orgISBN: 978-0-8071-7679-5Review by Risa Denenberg Good poetry reveals the specific in order to connect with the universal—the more specific, the better the connection. Some poets do this by kneading the dough of emotional language. “I’ve been anxious since forever,” reads the first line of Our Lady of Bewilderment, the new poetry collection from Alison Pelegrin. In this book, we get a meaty taste …


Broadsides to Books: Charged and Changed

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 Transformer by Kathleen Winter The Word Works, 2020 ISBN 978-1933880853 $18, Purchase at Bookshop.org Review by Cameron Walker A transformer is something that can change an electrical current. Transformers lower the pressure of electricity for daily use so it can light your lamps and keep your refrigerator humming. They also boost electricity so that it can travel long distances, from desert solar panels to far-away cities, without losing power. The poems in Kathleen Winter’s 2020 …


Broadsides to Books: Deke Dangle Dive

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Deke Dangle Dive by Gibson Fay-LeBlanc CavanKerry Press, 2021 ISBN 978-1933880853 $16.56, Purchase at Bookshop.org Review by Andrea Van Dinther Editorial Note: This month, rather than a narrative review, we are “diving” into a book through the lens of a single poem that shows what drives a collection. We hope this approach, along with the brief interview with the writer that follows, compliments what the general description and blurbs can offer as a window into …


Broadsides to Books: A Dance of Frosty Silence

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The Tulip-Flame by Chloe Honum Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2014 ISBN 9780986025754 $15.95, Purchase at Bookshop.org Review by Nayoung Kim A young dancer in frosty quietude “glide[s]” across Chloe Honum’s debut collection, The Tulip-Flame, which revisits the deaths of her mother and best friend and the loss of love. Honum’s experience and memory as a budding ballet dancer traverses the book as inspiration and trope, crafting the entire collection into a meticulous choreography. I …


Broadsides to Books: As If We Live

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Dark Traffic by Joan Naviyuk Kane University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021 ISBN 9780822966623 $16.56, Purchase at Bookshop.org Review by Carolyn Ogburn Joan Naviyuk Kane’s Dark Traffic is a brooding, powerful meditation on place and identity. “Look at us as if we live,” she writes, “& inhabit our language / when we can.” Kane’s poems freely move between English, Inupiaq, symbol, and place code. Kane is an Inupiaq poet, an enrolled member of the King Island …


Broadsides to Books: Remade, Unshelled

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Daughters by Brittney Corrigan Arlie Press, 2021 ISBN 978-1-950404-06-3 $18, Purchase at Bookshop.org Review by Dominick Knowles In 1964, the now-forgotten poet Walter Lowenfels published a book of letters called To an Imaginary Daughter. Lowenfels, who had four real-life daughters but chose to write about an imaginary one, dedicated the book to his children, “hoping they won’t mind this addition to our family.” In a separate letter to English poet Cressida Lindsay, the poet explains …


Broadsides to Books: Who Belongs Here?

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Shrapnel Maps by Philip Metres Copper Canyon Press, 2020 ISBN: 9781556595639 $20, purchase at Bookshop.org Reviewed by Carolyn Ogburn Philip Metres’s Shrapnel Maps engages the conflict between people sharing the region that is Israel/Palestine. Metres is a Lebanese Arab-American and a Catholic who currently lives with his wife and children in a Cleveland neighborhood largely populated by Orthodox Jews. He has described Shrapnel Maps as a practice of “radical listening,” a fractured narrative told through …


Broadsides to Books: A Not-So-Silent Body

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women in the waiting room By Kirun Kapur Black Lawrence Press, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-62557-823-5 $16.95, Purchase at Bookshop.org Reviewed by Sarah Shapiro I’ve always lived in my body, yet I have not always paid attention to it. Kirun Kapur’s women in the waiting room, a book of both personal and documentary poetics, calls for women’s bodies to be heard as places of trauma, silence, song, and normalized magic. In this book, Kapur offers her own …


Broadsides to Books: Witnessing Ourselves

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The Earliest Witnesses G.C. Waldrep Tupelo Press ISBN: 978-1-946482-48-8, 121 Pages $18.95, Purchase at Bookshop.org Reviewed by Cameron Walker   In the first line of “American Goshawk,” the poem that opens G.C. Waldrep’s newest collection, The Earliest Witnesses, the speaker strides into the woods “in a brute faith, certain the forest / would give me what I needed.”  Throughout these luminous poems, I continued to walk alongside the poet, through forests and fields, visiting ancient …


Broadsides to Books: Who Teaches and Who Learns

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Object Lesson By Jennifer Jean Lily Poetry Review, 2021 ISBN: 978-1-734786934 Purchase at Bookshop.org Reviewed by Sarah Shapiro As I near the end of a book of poetry, I get excited wondering what new layers I will uncover in the endnotes. Sometimes the extent of the poet’s research is revealed, sometimes their purpose; at the end of Object Lesson, the reader learns about the depth of Jennifer Jean’s commitment to listening, asking, and writing with …


Broadsides to Books: Astrodynamics as a Lens

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Gravity Assist Martha Silano Saturnalia Books, 2018 $16.00; ISBN 978-1-947817-00-5 Purchase at Bookshop.org Reviewed by Deborah Bacharach As a person whose only knowledge of astrophysics comes from watching The Martian, I’m going to miss layers in Martha Silano’s book of poetry, Gravity Assist, if I don’t do a little easy research. Silano’s section titles–“Periapsis,” “Orbit Insertion,” and “Escape Velocity”–create a lens, a unifying theme for each section. Though I can always enjoy Silano’s humor and …


Broadsides to Books: Surprised by Joy

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 Not for Luck Derek Sheffield Wheelbarrow Books, Michigan State University Press ISBN: 978-1-61186-389-5, 90 pages Get at Bookshop.org Reviewed by Kali Lightfoot “Surprised by joy”—the title of a poem by William Wordsworth, a book by C.S. Lewis, and a phrase often quoted by mystery writer Louise Penny—is the phrase that may come to one’s mind after reading Not for Luck, Derek Sheffield’s new book of poems—a joyousness, not so much of celebration as of serenity. …


Broadsides to Books: Sublime Before, Sublime After

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Look Alive, winner of the 2019 Cowles Poetry Book Prize by Luiza Flynn-Goodlett Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2021 Perfect Bound, $15.00, 60 Pages, ISBN: 9781732039988 Purchase at Bookshop.org Review by Risa Denenberg Luiza Flynn-Goodlett’s new collection, Look Alive, is unabashedly queer and Southern. In these poems, we learn much about origins and escape hatches, both of which come with their own baggage. Flynn-Goodlet’s speaker alludes to escaping an inescapable childhood by way of her …