All Those Lilting Tongues is a chapbook consisting of seventeen masterfully crafted and nuanced pieces. As this collection unfolds, you'll be crawling along the Earth's spine, watching the fire's rain dance on the Eucalyptus in the front yard, and wondering what to do with yourself while you wait for the shops to open at nine.
These poems show us what it means to long for something lost—to walk the shore without the hand in yours or the warmth of skin beneath a coat. “What Was Breaking” whispers of false, fragile moments suspended in their own happiness until you can't stand it. These poems will remind you that “It's a waste of magic to wish someone dead.”
Each verse is laced with this raw wisdom and strength set in concrete details and potent word choice. She lets these tangible details – the leafless arms of the IV tree or the stained glass pieces pressed into a smile – do the heavy lifting. Her tactful use of form further demonstrates her mastery of this art.
These are poems we need. These are poems whose truths we crave. These are poems that will pulsate in the brain long after you set this chapbook down.
Find All Those Lilting Tongues here.
Photo credit: Theresa Hamman
Ever After the End Matter by Sarah Ann Winn is a gem from Pork Belly Press that has a hauntingly beautiful and fairy-tale like consistency that spans about 20 poems. Each piece is strong enough to stand on its own, though with the chapbook's careful construction, every piece works together to contribute to the whole.
Ever After the End Matter starts off strong with a series of snips titled "Exhibition Catalogue from the Grimm Forest Open Air Museum" and appropriately ends with a series of Appendix pieces. The chapbook offers an impressive variety of forms, notably in the above and in "Seven Reasons to Sew Shirts for Swans."
Winn also hits us with strong images and leads us down a path of precise word choice:
"See how centuries/ old houses crumble, / the futile words hurled / after the gone away, / the empty ever after" ("Exhibition Catalogue from the Grimm Forest Open Air Museum: Activity, page 10.")
"Even as the sky goes into pieces / they are glad for the fog / wear shawls and long sleeves to conceal their stories" ("Witch's Market Souvenir Snow Globe")
"The old woman once joked once with a baker about / going back to school for a degree in architecture, so she could / build gingerbread houses with open floor plans" ("Appendix Char")
This collection of potent poems will linger with you long after you close the book and put it back on the shelf.
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Cover art by Alexandra Eldridge.
If you haven't heard of Pork Belly Press, then you might be illiterate. It's going to be O.K. I won't tell anyone. Just head on over to their Twitter Feed and click follow before anyone else notices. I wanted to review their chapbook, Wednesday's Child by Lisette Alonso because I like the song “Thursday's Child” by David Bowie. Needless to say, I wasn't familiar with the material beforehand, but I'm glad to have acquainted myself.
The chapbook is a collection of poems from the perspective of a girl named Sofia. They each center around a different aspect of her life that she is observing, from her own lineage to determining whether The Incredible Hulk is a hero or villain. Alonso has a talent for reminding us of just how filthy and confusing childhood can be. This isn't a rose-tinted look back to our formative years. Instead, it's like wearing glasses for the first time and seeing things much more clearly, recognizing details you hadn't seen before. The book is full of interesting descriptions and memorable lines like, “Brown lettuce like confetti caught in her/eyelashes, moldy bread for a pillow” from the opening, “Dumpster Baby.”
There are ten pieces in this chap, easy enough to read in half an hour and pick up more than once. I've always said that you shouldn't judge a game by the length of its campaign but how many times you can replay it. I think Wednesday's Child has a lot to come back for.
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