Tag Archives: poetry collection

Bloom in Reverse by Teresa Leo

birSeries: Pitt Poetry Series

Paperback: 104 pages
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press; 1 edition (February 5, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0822962977
ISBN-13: 978-0822962977
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Review by: g emil reutter
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Teresa Leo has always been a poet who never hides behind the curtain. Bloom in Reverse is a collection of poems presented in stark realism in both subject matter and words. There are none of the current clichés used by those language folks nor are there any tee hee moments or a need to figure out exactly what the poet said. Leo is one of a growing group of poets who can return poetry to the mainstream by presenting poems people often have experienced in their own lives. As much as it may pain some, truth be told, people want to read poems, if at all that reflect their lives, losses and loves. Leo accomplishes this in this outstanding collection of poems written by a poet with the heart of a story teller.
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From – Elegy, Two Years Later
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I will no longer think
of her last moments on earth-
 
her final thought
or what random thing her fingers
 
may have touched
the  residue of warmth
 
that radiated there, pulsed
an undercurrent that looped
 
back into the body, spun
thourgh the neutral net
 
past organs and bones,
traveled up the spine
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so that the brain
would recognize touch
 
in its form as pen or chair,
an image that might have stayed
 
in her mind, lodged
the last image
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It is in poems such as this that Leo reminds us of the importance of passion and substance. That in fact ideas and the motivations behind them lead to poetry with a heartbeat.
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From – Home is a Four Letter Word
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There are other ways to say it-
trap, cell, rope, hell,
 
the kind of place
where she’ll pull up daylilies
 
on a cold morning
wearing only a thin nightgown,
 
and after that with dirt
still odged beneath the fingernails,
 
she’ll tear down photos
like the pornographic ransom notes
 
they are, trace evidence
of the felon she once loved,
 
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In Bloom in Reverse, Leo, brings us into her world of loss of a friend and at other times a lover. She chooses her words carefully and with great honesty.
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Teresa Leo in The Fox Chase Review http://www.foxchasereview.org/10SU/TeresaLeo.html
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g emil reutter– g emil reutter lives and writes in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa. (USA). http://gereutter.wordpress.com/
 
 
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On the Street of Divine Love: New and Selected Poems by Barbara Hamby

 DIVINESeries: Pitt Poetry Series
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press; 1 edition (January 21, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0822962888
ISBN-13: 978-0822962885
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Review by: g emil reutter
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Her words whirl along the pages encased in a cyclone of metaphor and images, full of passion and reality. Hamby is comfortable eating barbecue in southern Georgia, hanging out at the town hardware store as she is in Paris or flying with angels, dealing with Satan and idols, saints and old cowboys.
 
From – Questions for My Body
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Your brain like 100 million hornets in a Campbell’s Soup can,
                 so where’s the axe to split it open?
Speaking of can openers, what is it about midnight that makes
                 your spine shake like the hand of a holy roller
                 shooting craps against a back alley curb?
                 Click, click, click — snake eyes, and all your pretty dresses
                  lie in tatters, Ave Maria and her butternut squash.
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From – Ode to Barbecue
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We are lost again in the middle of redneck nowhere,
                  Which is a hundred times scarier
than any other nowhere because everyone has guns.
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Hamby sets the stage and takes a twist near the end of the poem
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                … we bear Adam’s stain, and the only way
To heaven is to be washed in the blood of the Lamb,
                 Which is kind of what happen when out of the South
Georgia woods we see a little shack with smoke
                  Pouring from the chimmey through it’s August
And steamier than a mild day in Hell; we sit at a picnic table
                   and a broad-bellellied man sets down plates of ribs,
a small mountain of red meat, so differenct from Paris
                    where for my birthday my husband took me
to an elegant place where we ate tiney ribs washed down
                   with a subline St.-Josephe. Oh, don’t bet me wrong,
they were good, but the whole time I was out of sorts,
                    squirming on my perfect chair, disgruntled,
because I wanted to be at Tiny Register’s, Kojacks
                J.B.’s, I wanted ribs all right but big juicy ribs dripping
With sauce, the secret recipe handed down from grandmother
                to father to son, sauce that could take the paint off a Buick,
a hot, sin lacerating concoction of tomatoes, jalapenos
                and sugar, washed down with iced tea, Coca-Cola, beer,
because there’s no water in Hell, and Hell is hot, oh yeah.
 
Hamby’s unconventional style causes page after page to turn and upon reaching the last page of this selected poetry collection, the reader is left looking for more. She is a poet of energy, breathing life into words with passion. The way a poet should.
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g emil reutter at Chop Suey Books– g emil reutter lives and writes in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa. (USA).

Cities Hidden by Rain – Edgar Cage

Cities-HiddenISBN: 978-0-9897051-3-4

Rain Mountain Press

Published: 2013

106 Pages

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Review by: g emil reutter

If the sound of rain were translated into language, Edgar Cage is the guy who can do it. Cage is a minimalist who envelopes the reader in images from the opening stanza, “Broken payphone/a man without change/ working inside a snowflake.” A sense of hopelessness, a breakdown in communication yet restores hope in the fresh image of working inside a snowflake.

Cage travels to scarred rivers, empty streets to a never ending stream of rain and cockroaches, crickets and leaves, crooked lines and ants, of talking to cicadas. He writes of the winter gaze of a window sill, of knowing how he lost mountains and where they go. Cage brings us to the fifth chamber of a lake, “a snail drags away/ the muffled sobs of someone/ who wants all water to die.”

Cities Hidden by Rain is a solid read of transcendent poems written in a minimalist style woven with fresh imagery that never fail to surprise.

You can check out the book here: http://www.rainmountainpress.com/books26.html

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g emil reutter-g emil reutter lives and writes in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadlephia, Pa. (USA)

New Release from Chad Parenteau

patron emer

Patron Emeritus is now available for order from FootHills Publishing.

“Chad’s work is perceptive, fresh, and eminently listenable.”
Simone Beaubien, SlamMaster, Poetry at the Cantab Longue

“From nimble, spicy haiku and sharp political satire he can leap to the most intimate and subtle craft.”
Prabakar T. Rajan, poet, author of A Slice of Water

You can read the poetry of Chad Parenteau in The Fox Chase Review at these links: 2008 WS2008 AW

Gimme Five- Poems by Philip Dacey

Gimme FivePaperback: 74 pages

Publisher: 1st World Publishing (February 8, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1421886618

ISBN-13: 978-1421886619

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Review by: g emil reutter

Philip Dacey is a quiet and subtle poet. In his latest collection, Gimme Five, Dacey weaves images and words from his life and middle America throughout the collection. If there were a Poet Laureate for middle America, Philip Dacey would surely be at the top of the list. He is above all a realist whose poetry reflects who he is and where he came from coupled with a fine use of language.

Gimme Five, winner of the Blue Light Press Poetry Prize, gains its title from Dacey’s use of 5 stanzas of 5 lines each that he calls 5X5. The poems date from 1975 to the second decade of this new century. Dacey describes his use of this format as similar to a sculptor’s standard armature of which one can build up an unlimited variety of shapes and configurations.

For example, the poem Rosary, he describes the beads in the first and second stanzas as:

So many mad ants/ forming a loop, my childhood’s/black border/ This is all about the fingertips/how a god can be held thus.

No, a lariat to twirl/at a religious rodeo/lovers’ toy for trying wrists/found object d’art to drape/over Duchamps urinal.

Ending with:

The Crucifix at one end/is like a river’s source/to which the river returns/Hand-warmer in the casket/Girdle abandoned by the bride.

Dacey weaves images around an object in a refreshing, original manner.

Her Fingers, is a sweet and loving poem to his mother who was a secretary in the age of typewriters he ends with:

…I have my mother’s hands and fingers/ their dance on the top of letter/like a pair of tap-dancing feet/the bare ones on hot coals/getting everything said/before the soles burn up 

In Homage to John Ashberry, Dacey hits stride in the middle of the poem:

Familiar words/strange now//with odd protuberances/and little dents/To take notice anew/is to remember the chainsaw-like

Danger of language. To build or destroy. Whose fingers that/ in the dirt? Lay your tongue lightly/ athwart the tasty metal of syllables/lest in the cold your skin stick. 

You can get the book here: http://www.amazon.com/GIMME-FIVE-Philip-Dacey/dp/1421886618/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366282154&sr=1-3&keywords=philip+dacey

g emil reutter– g emil reutter lives and writes in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia

A Sort of Adam Infant Dropped: True Myths by R. Scott Yarbrough

Yarbrough book_

Paperback: 112 pages

Publisher: Ink Brush Press (January 25, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0988383950

ISBN-13: 978-0988383951

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.Review by: Diane Sahms-Guarnieri

R. Scott Yarbrough attempts time and again to reconcile his world of the religious and the mythological through narrative, non-fictitious and fictitious poems, which center around his Texan life of conflicting roots (son of a Methodist minister and mother of Chickasaw descent).
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Intrigued by personal and universal myths he writes poem after poem (many believable and some not so believable) philosophizing about people (real and imagined) and personifying characters of old (Medusa, Tiresias, Icarus, etc.) in a new and entertaining, even thought provoking way. 
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The entire book, A Sort of Adam Infant Dropped: True Myths, is centered on his own “Personal Myths” (Section I) and his“Teaching Universal Myths”(Section II), all the while searching to make sense of a senseless world and answers to the unanswerable.  Hence, this may be why man/poet is driven to create myths/poems – to sustain him and us through life’s on-going inexplicable moments. 
Perhaps the saddest memory poem and the root of mythological stirrings at a tender, young age is Yarbrough’s “Icy Roads at Christmas” where“Christmas Eve has always been a problem for me,” that is when his father, the minister, died of a heart attack. 
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… He finally fell lifeless beside/ the sad cat’s meow that twisted around
his feet/like a small tornado….
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…Santa and Jesus/have always been the same person to me, really.
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There are actually two narratives that make up this one complete narrative – the second narrative, in this poem, is the description of grandmother Yarbrough mixing “Ruby Red Daiquiris,” numbing her pain and young Yarbrough’s
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  …Just eight, I slept drunk/ in her snoring arms all night.
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The first section of the book is not ego-centric.  Many of Yarbrough’s poems focus on characters and personal myths that include extended family members, as well as neighbors, friends, and people he has shown kindness to over the years.  In “My Soul Mate Called From Albuquerque,” he writes,
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We grew up the broken children of our own god,
 a Phoenix meeting itself in each morning’s fire.
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And in “Vein-Faced Dolls with Eyes,”
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…In West Texas, when I was in third grade, a teenager/stopped and drop-
ped a raw egg into my Halloween sack; a cruel adolescent trick; it soak-
ed, quietly chewed/a hole, then littered my candy out in little trails/ from
 door to door.    
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His strong similes carry this poem along,
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..the raw egg…eating away, dotting a trail/with all that free candy falling
out/likea spilled genetic code, funneling/ memory out of a hollowing
 skull/likeseeds sifted from the belly/of a Jack-O-Lantern?” 
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But this poem is not just about a horrific teenage prank that happened to him.  Not at all!  Sinister as this Halloween trick was there is another parallel world happening in the poem simultaneously, woven in and out of its fabric, and that is Nature’s prank to a nameless “she” in the poem and how this objective “she” was frightened by
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Those mindless, vein-faced dolls with eyes that won’t/close: Halloween.” 
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Further, the “she” adds:
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…“It was also tricks/and kissing game treats with boys in the alley…           
…knowing I’d never grow old.” 
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The poem weaves the “she” narrative into the “she’s” husband diagnosed with “Vascular Dementia,” ending the poem sadly and abruptly with the“she” following “that sweet candy trail” the one from the bag soaked by the raw egg
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over the concrete driveway/ past the wrinkled boys, home to her /
mindless doll where she’ll have to watch an /aging witch fly across
her mirror night after night.”   
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There’s a reason why I quoted many lines from this poem and that is because Yarbrough has dealt with time (present and past and future) in an extremely effective way and has seamlessly once again woven two parallel narratives into one narrative, lending here and borrowing there, so that everything adds up at the end and you ask yourself – How did he do that? Wow, such good crafting!  Even the lines of the poem that transport us back in time – “Strange how one random story can swirl back school desks/ and black rimmed glasses and hollow pumpkin heads and disguises”- are layered in meaning. Words and images layered in so many surprising ways.
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As a professor of Mythology at Collin College in Plano, Texas, Yarbrough’s poems blend realism with mythology in a way that entertain and question the obvious.  He has carved out a world he lives in and a world he imagines. 
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In the second half of his book, universal rather than personal myths tie the everyday present to the mythological past.  Titles like “Medusa in Kindergarten,” “Tiresias,” “Teaching Gilgamesh to College Freshman,” and oddly enough, “Didn’t Pinocchio Know?,” “Protesting Plath,” and “I Want to Die Like Johnny Cash,” reflect poems where axiom and myth blend past and present together.  These poems not only entertain, but question the everyday present and the ageless teachable moments of our classical mythological past. 
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“Oedipus Rex Meets Tiresias at Walmart” has smart irony from start to finish, as the speaker, Oedipus, is returning his wife’s (or is it his mother’s?) – “Do it Yourself: Family Tree” PC disk for a pair of toga brooches.   Now think about it “toga brooches,” you know those pieces of jewelry that fastened to a garment.  Hmm…it works, right.  A brooch is something your mother/wife would wear and a “toga” brooch – okay- keeping with the ancient Greek toga wearing theme.  Clever!
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Oedipus finds the “woman’s accessories aisle”and here is Yarbrough’s list:                        
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 -Togas, laurels,/ choreographing chorus cards, herbs for alters,
 wrinkle cream, drapes, Sphinx repellent – then, there/ they are, solid
 silver with zirconium heads, brooches perfect /enough for a queen. 
 Women don’t ever know what we/ go through to please them,
 such a riddle.
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Did he write “riddle”?  That’s what I mean.  The poem is a riddle. Women are a riddle. Walmart is a riddle.  Another riddle- me-this moment in the poem before it ends with Tiresias “blindly” wishing his life away to retirement “in the white clouds and calm of Colonus” is when Tiresias passes the “glasses shop” on his way to the door to exit his journey out of Walmart, and he says that he has to remind himself “to get an eye exam, soon.”  (Everyone knows Tiresias is a blind prophet of Thebes!)
And finally,
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…I hold /up my bag, like a secret, like they want you to, /like you found
the meaning of life at Walmart.
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Life is the riddle. What then could be the answer to what we do and why we do it?  Well, maybe, there is no answer to life’s puzzles/questions, but all in all, Yarbrough keeps it real as one can in A Sort of Adam Infant Dropped: True Myths.
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You can find the book at: http://www.amazon.com/Sort-Adam-Infant-Dropped-Myths/dp/0988383950/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1362057918&sr=1-1

diane-sahms-guarnieri-signing-booksDiane Sahms-Guarnieri is the poetry editor of The Fox Chase Review

Listen To The Landscape- Linda Nemec Foster and Dianne Carroll Burdick

Listen To The Landscape

Haiku by Linda Nemec Foster. Images by Dianne Carroll Burdick

PAPERBACK; Published: 7/28/2006

ISBN: 978-0-8028-2898-9

72 Pages

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 On the surface, Listen to the Landscape is a beautiful book of quiet haiku and beautiful hand colored images. The work of Foster and Burdick between the covers is an intimate dance of words and images that compliment each other drawing the reader into the quietness and beauty of everyday images that surround us.
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New World
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You see the new world
How the end of ocean
Becomes land, pure flight
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This haiku is complimented by an image of the rocky shoreline in North New Jersey. We often think of the land ending, yet Foster reminds us that the ocean also ends. Burdick’s image reinforces the haiku in dramatic fashion.
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Guardian
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I rise from earth, I
Shelter all things you give me,
I Keep the secrets
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An image by Burdick of a barn located in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania compliments this haiku. The barn sits atop a small hill, manicured lawn surrounds it, yet the barn doors and windows are shut tight as the barn fulfills its duty to keep the secrets stowed away inside.
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The haikus in this collection are carefully crafted and the hand colored images are outstanding. The collection has a gentle voice and the landscapes are peaceful.

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You can find the book at: https://www.eerdmans.com/Products/Default.aspx?ISBN=9780802828989

– g emil reutter

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