Elevate Difference

Reviews by Jonelle Seitz

Unrest: Poems

The poems in Joanna Rawson’s recent collection, Unrest, have the quality of things scrawled in the harsh fluorescent light of insomnia. The lines scurry in jagged lengths, infesting the broad pages with buzzing images of immigrants suffocating in a boxcar, feverish babies, a suicide bomber, and war.


A first day in a new school. Stomach butterflies, lunchroom trades, art projects. Kids asking why you’re not the same color as your dad. This is the story of Violet, a children’s picture book by Tania Duprey Stehlik with edgy illustrations by Vanja Vuleta Jovanovic. Violet’s mom is red, her dad is blue, and Violet is, well, violet. Back home at the kitchen table after school, Violet asks her mother to explain.

Poems from the Women’s Movement

It’s debatable whether collections of work by “women poets” (or, shudder, “poetesses”) are legitimate groupings. I tend to regard these types of collections with a raised eyebrow, imagining a group of women having an outdoor party, having been shut out of some stuffy jackets-required club, now herded together and pushed through the doors all at once to their dismay.

The King: Poems

I’m trying not to look at Rebecca Wolff’s new book of poems, The King, as a self-help book, which, of course, it’s not at all. But as a fellow writer and mother whose venture into the latter ’hood punted me way out of my cozy work-life comfort zone, I can’t help but look for clues and compare notes while reading Wolff’s crystallizing poems.

Let Me Down Easy (4/28/2009)

If you're squeamish, like I am, on the topics of death, dying, and illness, you shouldn't let that stop you from experiencing Anna Deavere Smith's Let Me Down Easy. However, you might not want to see it during a global health scare.

The Clean House 7/10 - 8/17/2008

Sarah Ruhl's play The Clean House opens with Mathilde, a Brazilian housekeeper, telling a long and very funny joke - in Portuguese. I don't understand Portuguese, and I doubt very few of my fellow audience members in Austin, TX did, either. Luckily, Mathilde's self-induced laughter, gestures, and a summary translation projected for the audience onto a screen make it easy to get the gist. The joke is dirty, and it's hilarious. Mathilde goes on to tell the story of her parents: They were in love, and they made each other laugh.