Reviews

First, A Place, A Feeling, Something He Said To You by Alexandra Naughton was a soul wrenching read. It made me pause, it made me numb, it made me angry. The subject matter is often horrific and difficult to read, but necessary…Writing about trauma and abuse can be a daunting task, but here it is done with bravery and a resolve to heal and be human again. At times so jarring I had to set it down to catch my breath. A book I will not forget, and one everyone should read. Razor sharp and real. Incredible. September 23, 2020

I’m From Nowhere by Lindsay Lerman is a perfectly cut gem of a book. A character study of a woman dealing with the dimensions of grief, but also with her own existential questions concerning life, love and meaning. Well crafted…A quiet tension runs through these pages, but also fantasy, memory,and from my view, a sense of hope. Like Mercé Rodoreda’s Time of the Doves, this book gives us deep insight into the modern female experience, and does so with grace and style. June 30, 2020

Tractatus Pneumatologico Philosophicus by Graham Freestone is a timely book. As a self-described mystic, I’ve been waiting for a treatise that examines the often dicey world that is called “magick” in all its modes and shapes. Graham succeeds in looking at our spacio-temporal world through a different lens, and through a thorough investigation gives the reader much to ponder in regard to magick and synchronicity and its relation to philosophical inquiry. I look forward to more of these publications. July 31, 2020

My late friend, Will Bernardara, used to rave about Amygdalatropolis by B.R. Yeager, and I can see in its pages a high water mark for inventiveness. Like Bernardara’s own “America”, Amygdalatropolis carves out its own space… I felt unsettled, trapped but ultimately sucked into the hermetic world of /1404er/ and the fibre optic orgy that is his world. This book evokes a whole range of thought and emotional density. So much so that at times I had to question my own sanity. A smart, challenging read. July 10, 2020

In Information Blossoms, Ryan Bry has produced a collection of poetry that is a mosaic of emotions and impressions. I feel that Ryan is a kind of whimsical Allen Ginsberg, delighting the reader with an overflowing of gems that have swelled from a stewing pot of memories, experiences and sometimes general zaniness. This was a fun and rewarding read from a poet who seems to be equally jester and sage. Give into his fruitful imagination if you haven’t already done so and laugh in the rain with him. April 7, 2020

To begin, Confidence Man by Anthony Dragonetti was one of the most honest books I’ve read in some time. It’s honest because it’s true and it comes from the heart, like all good literature should. There is no pretension here, no mask…As the collection progressed I saw shades of wry humor, but also a sadness that permeated the pages that made moments of reading difficult, in particular Funhouse and several others. It’s nostalgia is not one of sun filled days, but rather of the darker nights of the soul. April 15, 2020

Faceless in Nippon by Dale Brett was a somber, slow burn of a book, soaked in all the imagined vistas of Japan, coupled with the narrator’s lived experience in a foreign, mesmerizing world. The language hits the brain…like a double hit of codeine washed down with Asahi Super Dry and often blazing before touching the heart with crushing ennui and lost love. Equal parts Bladerunner and Eno’s Plateux of Mirror, reflecting a gentle soul’s journey in the midst of exile. Read it and slowly dissolve. July 30, 2020

From the first pages of Carrie Lorig’s Blood Barn I knew that what I was about to read was a work of true sincerity, and composed from the very depths of the self. Any sincere work cannot be analyzed, only felt. I felt a sense of growth and overcoming in this book, coupled with a great use of space and color to artistically articulate what I felt was a struggle with the body and its identity, as well as its pain. Honestly, I can also say that I cannot know the struggles described here. Yet I felt privileged to gain some insight into what it means to heal, and the always active process of doing so which demands so much of us. Through the multiple modes of expression Carrie uses here, Blood Barn articulates these demands perfectly. December 29, 2019

I finished Grant Maierhofer’s Peripatet last night, and the first thing I would like to say about this book of “ambient literature” is how fast I flew through its pages. Unique and wondrous. Sad and strange. What I loved about this work was how brutally honest it felt. Whether it was about life, the function of art or the failure of it, I was swept up in its power. It’s the kind of book I can talk about in terms of feelings rather than ideas, though there are plenty of great ideas. Often I felt saddened, other times exhilarated, caught in a web of apparently disparate elements that all seemed to hang together in a mosaic of, dare I say, awesomeness. This is the kind of book that I will proudly display with the others on my shelf. Thank you Grant for continuing my belief in the transcendent nature of art, even if in our darkest moments we believe it achieves nothing. Peripatet is the axe for my frozen sea…a rare and engaging work. That is all. October 15, 2019

The brief, subtle poems of Sophie Essex’s Some Pink Star evoke a myriad of images that oscillate between the cerebral and the erotic, leaving a trail of strange wonderment. The opening poem “Titian Blue” opens with a blast of air and ends in primal lust. As the collection unfolds, the contrasts heighten with such lines as “in immaculate summer heat” juxtaposed with ” each fist a readjustment”. Every poem a mirror of something equally beautiful and possibly dark and exciting, leaving the reader nicely unsettled. At other times, like a wisp of smoke, the poems seem to disappear without warning and the traces of the images linger in the mind before surrendering to the void before coming up for one final breath. These poems are alive with erotic tension, venom and dream-like quality. In short, this collection by Miss Essex proves that the relationship between art and experience is alive and well within her pages. July 5, 2019

Radia, a chapbook which weighs so little is deceptive, due to the fact that its contents have the density of a neutron star. The pull of its gravity is immense and I was reminded immediately how poetry can mesmerizing. From the first poem “Undertow” we’re taken into what I felt was the not so distant future where consciousness has achieved a final fragmentation, summoning up images of a strange past where we collectively saw the failing of the light. But the light still flickers in our minds. Perhaps that is what is meant in “Shameless Sun” by the line “a colourway cognitive hiss” where the last wisps of beauty flit through our minds. But Radia also embraces this flitting beauty in such lines as “amid the blue of day’s ornamental music.” The cadences of these brief poems reminded me of the best of Ginsberg and the flights of fancy in Kerouac’s “Old Angel Midnight” where there is a hypnotic rhythm that brings you deeper into the poem itself, bathing you in the juxtaposition of images. As Khomutoff points out in the poem “Anthem of the Heart”, “a poet must enact the shadowplay of grammar” and this is certainly accomplished here. This collection is all too brief, but one I will go back to time and again when I need a reminder of the beauty of poetry. August 1, 2019

As I entered the pages of Mike Corrao’s Gut Text, the first thing that became apparent to me was that I was interacting with a living, breathing text. A text that was born out of the ashes of Beckett’s Unnamable. Instead of a slow disintegration, we see the corpse having its muscles, bones and nerves reattached, trying once again to become aware and interact with the world. As the voice YY says in the book: “empty cavities are damp and often the birthplaces of new ecologies.” Yet, as this self awareness grows we see a kind of chaos ensue and the space in which this new consciousness resides becomes erratic. These new signs of life emanating from this fresh body quickly becomes choked in the following pages. Through the dreamscapes and labyrinths of this text we see the multiple voices interweave and take on new forms, rising and falling, struggling to actualize with a deep wish to be whole and corporeal and expand beyond themselves. The great joy of reading Gut Text comes literally from one’s own “gut”…a feeling of growth coming from deep within as questions of identity, space and consciousness fuel our existential angst as voices shift and fade. Gut Text hypnotizes us as we stare into its mirror. July 21, 2019

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