Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged poetry

The Butterfly Effect

While reading the first half of Susan Hawthorne’s newest collection of lesbian poems, The Butterfly Effect, I found myself lost in footnotes. Each poem reads on the right page, while footnotes to the poem fill up the left page. Most of the time, the footnotes are as long as, if not longer, than the actual poem. At first, I thought this was a brilliant idea. Then I started to get slightly annoyed by the footnotes and felt that they were a little pompous and unnecessary.

Broken World

Don’t be fooled by the title of Joseph Lease’s collection of poems, though the world may be “broken,” the collection spends its time rebuilding, rationalizing and living despite it. Repetition fuels the elegy, “Broken World (for James Assatly),” a poem built in sections, a poem that works to remember a friend and writer who died of AIDS.

Emergency Contact

If there is a politic of poetry at stake in Emergency Contact, it stems as much from the a politicized urban landscape, as it does from the poetic representation of that setting. Against the familiar backdrop of a neighbourhood in the process of an irrevocable gentrification, Ziniuk records the objects, people and small hi-stories―perhaps otherwise unregistered―of Toronto’s west end neighbourhood Parkdale.

Aqua Beats and Moon Verses: Volume I

Chicago based performance artists camil.williams and veronica precious bohanan (a.k.a. AquaMoon) explore womyn-centered issues, such as rape, molestation, incest, and women in hip hop from an African American perspective. These themes are interpreted through the use of choreopoems (poems intended to be acted out on stage), and there is also a CD that comes with the book.

Did I Wake You?

In her book Did I Wake You?, Beth Lapides gives a modern spin to the 5-7-5 syllable pattern of the Japanese poetry form of haiku.

Wild Mercy

Wild Mercy is a compilation of poetry that is directly inspired by the art of Tarot. It is artfully written and beautifully paced. Those unfamiliar with Tarot reading will definitely have their interest sparked and will appreciate Cunningham's exquisite execution of the collection. Wild Mercy had me spellbound from start to finish, with every poem being a unique spiritual endeavor. The journey of the compilation is unique in itself.

That Those Lips Had Language

Filled with surprising turns and bursts of imagery and imagination, That Those Lips had Language is an ambitious book of poetry. Blonstein seems awed by language itself, and she pushes its limits to upset readers’ expectations.

Crazy Mary and Others

Crazy Mary and Others is an emotion-evoking look into the life of a woman who has been destined by humanity to be the outsider. She walks in a world where simple communication to others is an effort too great to comply with. Mary, having been released from an institution (that the author keeps obscure) returns to a life unclaimed and she feels unlived.

Fringe Magazine (Feminism, February 2007)

Fringe Magazine’s Feminism issue is bursting with refreshing and candid short stories, interviews, poetry, photographs, and non-fiction essays. Standout pieces include “Young Mother: Three Portraits” (poetry), “The Harlot’s Curse: Feminism and Prostitution” (non-fiction essay), “Wanting” (short story), and “The Sideboard” (photograph). “The Harlot’s Curse: Feminism and Prostitution”, by Kate Morris, takes a look at how feminism has always been divided on the issues of sexuality, i.e.

Uncoded Woman

Anne-Marie Oomen’s first book of poetry, Uncoded Woman, is a narrative collection centering around a displaced Southern woman finding meaning and direction in a resort town on Lake Michigan. The “uncoding” in the title refers to a persistent theme throughout the book. The prologue very simply defines the International Code of Signals—the maritime form of communication that involves flags and pennants with shapes.

The Collected Poems of Muriel Rukeyser

Before there was Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath, there was Muriel Rukeyser. Before there were the Beats, there was Muriel Rukeyser. As Anne Sexton once pointed out, Rukeyser was the “mother of us all.” This is why a collection of her work is so important. Despite Rukeyser’s stature, and her prodigious output, she is not as often read or taught as her better known literary progeny. Furthermore, some of Rukeyser’s prime writing years were during the era of New Criticism, when politically charged poetry was not in vogue.

Sing a Battle Song: The Revolutionary Poetry, Statements, and Communiqués of the Weather Underground, 1970-1974

Between 2002’s documentary The Weather Underground and such novels as Russell Banks’s The Darling, the radical revolutionary group ironically returned to the public eye in recent years. Thirty years after their underground activities ended, now that all the charges have been dropped and all of the living members of the organization have joined the establishment, albeit on the fringes (Dohrn, Ayers and Jones have become a legal scholar, an educational philosopher and an environmental activist respectively), Sing a Battle Song offers a complex, bittersweet perspective on The Weather Underground’s life and revolutionary work.

The Logan Topographies

Alena Hairston’s book of poetry, The Logan Topographies, embraces rural life in the coalmining town of Logan just as Faulkner encompassed Yoknapatawpha Country, or Welty composed Morgana. Like her predecessors, Hairston is inspired by the foibles of small town life. It is through Hairston’s feminine viewpoint that the reader is first introduced to Logan: Pregnant belly of coneflower and larkspur. coalcaves of lupine and barberry.

The Secret Lives of Punctuations, Volume I

Eilenn Tabios’ volume The Secret Lives of Punctuations shows how these modest marks deviate from their standard grammatical expectations to slow the reader down and make them notice the power of words. Poets like Alice Notley and Barbara Jane Reyes (an emerging poet cited by Tabios as inspiration) have visited this terrain before.

The Resurrection Trade

The Resurrection Trade is a collection of poems that details early anatomical research performed on female corpses from the point of view of the author, Leslie Adrienne Miller, who also provides glimpses of her own life as a daughter, a wife and a mother.

Grit and Tender Membrane

Both a teacher and an inspiration to women worldwide, Barrow received a Leeway grant to tour via motorcycle, tell her stories and hold workshops for other female survivors of sexual abuse. She advocates poetry as a way to express difficult moments, get her metaphorical demons out and as a means of catharsis and rebirth.

Check the Rhyme

Talk about a breaking silences; we finally have an anthology speaking to women of diverse backgrounds, backgrounds usually ignored or tokenized in more traditional publications. Check the Rhyme is a new anthology and one of the first dedicated not only to women of diverse backgrounds, but to both “female poets & emcees.” What do I think? I say: Hallelujah, Hallelujah; thank the stars this anthology exists! For one of the first times, female emcees and poets speak about issues as diverse as hip-hop, hair, Hurricane Katrina, and Black history.

Domain of Perfect Affection

The title of Robin Becker’s new book is contained in the last line of “Salon,” where the speaker’s mother goes for her weekly respite. In this “domain of perfect affection,” _ … my mother attends to the lifelong business of revealing and withholding, careful to frame each story while Vivienne lacquers each nail and then inspects each slender finger … Such delicate observations permeate the straightforward observations throughout the collection. Few poets achieve this mastery: Becker makes everyday observations, everyday knowledge, extraordinary.

Edge and Fold

Paul Hoover, author of Edge and Fold, amazes his readers with postmodern poetry. His newest work is a compilation is separated into two poems: "Edge and Fold" and "The Reading." Hoover carefully crafts couplets which express time, distance, vision, pop culture, and daily life. His ideas expand and evolve with the turning of each page. However, in postmodern terms, anything goes.


Elizabeth Robinson’s new book of poetry, Apostrophe, is startling in a number of respects: more white space than word, more whisper than yawp, poems with one-word titles like “Wind” and “Lost”—and, in fact, titles like “Anemone” repeated twice, as if the author were revising herself or perhaps offering variations on a theme. The language first encountered seems startlingly abstract and enigmatic, although moments of sensational contact invoke Whitman’s advice: “missing me one place, search another,” at the end of “Song of Myself.”

Om: My Sistagyrl Lotus

Occasionally a writer surfaces whose poetry is so imbued with authenticity, so intuitively wrought, and so keenly aware of its own integrity that we hardly realize while reading it that we are glimpsing both a protest and a celebration of the world around us. This is the case with Veronica Precious Bohanan’s collection of poetry and prose, Om: My Sistagyrl Lotus. With a voice that sounds at once humble and confident, Bohanan explores her response to life’s attempts to reign in and control the limits of her body and heart.