Poets of the Week Books

“Of course I believe in God. I have a cat, don’t I?” And I believe in Ryan Quinn Flanagan. His newest collection, Kiss the Heathens, ruminates on what is right in front of us. Taking the ordinary and inspecting it with his poet’s eye, Ryan forces us to look at the world around us in a new light. Sure he is “not the first/to such discoveries,/but perhaps the first to care.” My favorite poem in the collection was “Badasses Don’t Live With Their Mother.” It made me think back to my favorite Robert Browning poem, “The Lost Leader.” With a critical eye and scathing words, both Ryan and Browning prove words are indeed mightier than the sword. From dreams to funerals, bathtubs to Legos, nothing escapes scrutiny. Kiss the Heathens is one of those books you’ll read again and find something new every time. Buy a copy for a friend. Or an enemy. Start “a gang war and supplied both sides.”—Karen Cline-Tardiff; Editor-in-Chief, Gnashing Teeth Publishing

Paperback, 230 pages, Roadside Press, February 202

A Short Supply of Viability by Annette Gagliardi

Annette Gagliardi’s poetry offers compassion for the compassionate. Her poems are informed by the shift of comfort that occurs with caregivers, from the decision to provide care, to the fatigue and grace of caring for others, then to the grief and relief of saying goodbye. A Short Supply of Viabilityprovides insight, thoughtful consideration of issues, glimpses of those being cared for, and relief from grief. It is a must read and a welcoming balm for anyone faced with becoming a caregiver, whether it be in a professional capacity or taking care of a loved one whose health is declining.

Paperback, 102 pages, Poetry Box, July 2022

Quarantine Highway by Millicent Borges Accardi

Quarantine Highway (FlowerSong Press), book cover art by Ralph Almeida:  From re-definition to re-calibration, the poems in this book are artifacts of the early and mid-days of the pandemic. Though not specifically labeled as “Covid poems,” they strike to the heart of the universal yet individual struggles of solitude, confinement, justice, isolation and, ultimately, self-reckoning. The poems push and pull between the constantly knocking global news cycle to the stillness of a surreal inner world.

Paperback, 106 pages, FlowerSong Press, October 2022

The Wicken Bird by Geoffrey Heptonstall

We find that the poet is able “to strike the barren rock for the gushing moisture” due to his power of seeing things in a new way. The sharp conciseness of the style aptly shows that the poet is a meticulous artist.

Paperback, 85 pages, Cyberwit, November 2022

I Am the Flame by Elizabeth P. Glixman

In I Am the Flame the author revisits her female ancestral lineage, women she knew and women she can only imagine, ancestors who immigrated to the United States in the early twentieth century from Russia, and the women who stayed behind. These poems of remembrance search for connection, reflect on culture, family dynamics and life cycles. They also remind each of us that we are shaped by the men and women who came before us and that making peace with the past is how we can learn to move forward.

Paperback, Finishing Line Press, January 2012

Alicia Elkort’s arresting suite of poems makes magic by complicating survivor archetypes and superimposing the author’s journey of healing onto her inventive recreations of mythic figures. A Map of Every Undoing rips through Elkort’s girlhood memories with an unflinching intensity, re-assembling her life history in a hard-earned act of self-love. These poems are defiant in their vulnerability, daring readers to look away at the same time they compel us to continue.

Paperback, 126 Pages, Stillhouse Press, October 2022

With ambitious repetition only a masterful poet could perfect, John L. Stanizzi’s poems in Feathers and Bones combine the imageries of the garland with the voices of the ghazal. The pairs speak to each other and complete a poetic circle—the echo of response returned to a pleading call. This is a lyrical braid of intersecting and repeating visions of the natural, external world and the inner personal—almost magically wrought, and then shown to us. The ending line of an early poem, “bones like feathers and feathers like bones,” is immediately followed by a poem which restates, “My bones have become feathers”: repetition within individual poems; repetition throughout the collection. A kind of incantation, or prayer. By expanding the epigraphs heading each one, these poems explore ordinary experiences, the pulse of living, and ancestry as they pay homage to poetic forerunners and instructional musicians—an escalation and repetition of the most beautiful kind. As the book ends, we hear, “If You Don’t Live It, it won’t come out your horn,” by Charlie “Bird” Parker, and so the book comes full circle.

D. Walsh Gilbert is the author of Imagine the small bones, by Grayson Press, Connecticut

Paperback, 77 Pages, impspired, October 2022

Lines and sentences, stanzas and paragraphs, Controlling Chaos combines elements of both poetry and prose, a hybrid creature like a Centaur, not all human, not all horse either, but a combination of the two, the best of both worlds some might say.

Paperback, 130 Pages, Atmosphere, June 2022

Hues of Darkness, Hues of Light contains the pieces of a soul as she tries to make sense of the world and her life in it. Born Catholic, she might have found those answers earlier in her religion, but circumstances dictated that she emphasize her education; she became a poet, eventually a PhD in English. In reality she seeks goodness and kindness in places where there may not be much, and puzzling through her experiences has led her to making poems that reflect them. Sometimes she digs deep into herself; others, she observes what is around her. Her adventures may be small, but they become important in her writings.

Paperback, 74 Pages,   eLectio Publishing, August 2013

Aimee Nicole’s first collection of poetry focusing on her experience as a submissive in the BDSM lifestyle. It reflects on the vulnerability and care presented in service of another. This creates the need to set clear standards and expectations for yourself and others. Through this collection, she ponders the balance that isn’t always successful. She considers the parts of herself that are exposed through submitting. In her experience, incorporating BDSM into a relationship is sort of like driving with the high beams on–everything is brighter and hotter to the touch.

Paperback, 66 Pages, Laughing Ronin Press, December 2021

THE DROWNING HOUSE by John Sibley Williams is the winner of the 2020 Elixir Press Annual Poetry Award. Contest judge, John A. Nieves, had this to say about it: “In the dark and shifting world of THE DROWNING HOUSE, Sibley Williams dives deep to try to understand the ghosts of our country and our historyóthe violence inherent in displacement, in wiping away. The poems that populate this doomed architecture reach out in every direction to try to find purchase on truths that often shift a quickly as tides. Whether music or fire or flesh, these poems find the worn seams of our nation and our world and lay them bare, or as Sibley Williams writes: ‘Skin can be its own broken republic.’ This collection explores the depths it engages and challenges us all not to look away.”

Paperback, 102 Pages, Elixer Press, January 2022

Mallarmé’s symbolism invoked early on, DeCarteret’s poems speak of a life spent in conversation with the self and other poets. The poems weave themselves, tease out meaning the more you read them. Anagrams constantly talking back to themselves, they honor as they grieve for poets and poetry. Genius segues link these poems’ motifs, hold them up to the light: from window to water, sun to flame, pen to tongue, words and wordlessness, paper crumpled, balled up like asterisks, webs to madness to mazes. They are the lack as much as the purposefully left blank. These poems will make you pay attention – to elements, ghosts and chairs – reckon with religion. The poet’s trick, “throwing one’s latest voice”, tricks the poet. Marrying language with meaning. Leaving punctuation to ampersands, question marks, and slashes, the line break is the modus operandi. Not a period in sight, the poet ends lesser case with itches still left to scratch. They reach the reader, who might be holy if they would make the poet whole. 

– Jessica Purdy, Author of Sleep in a Strange House

Paperback, 100 Pages, Nixes Mate Books, November 2021

Poetry and art by KJ Hannah Greenburg, One-Handed Pianist means to serve as a catalyst for imaginative efforts. People become willing to seek favorable outcomes in uncertain domains after they’ve evidenced others doing so. “See one, do one, teach one.” By exemplifying the value of crossing over into new types of dialogue, One-Handed Pianist can help artists move beyond their inventive comfort zones.

Paperback, 236 Pages, Hekate Publishing, October 2021

“Ron Kolm’s Swimming in the Shallow End is a touching, beautiful collection. Kolm offers a savvy mix of short, pithy poems; seemingly straight-ahead anecdotes; and mysterious poems like What Remains, The Argonaut and The Ascension. Refreshingly free of pyrotechnics, Swimming in the Shallow End is a very human snapshot of our current moment.” ~ Peter Bushyeager, author of Citadel Luncheonette, editor of Wake Me When It s Over: Selected Poems of Bill Kushner

Paperback, Autonomedia, August 2020

The opening and closing poems in Charlie Brice’s wonderful new collection All the Songs Sung, serve as bookends that celebrate our “blessed insignificance in this world.” These poems are about the most essential things: love, loss and the beauty we can find in each and every day, despite the tragedies time will put before us. So find a quiet corner, a favorite chair and hunker down. Savor the flavors, marvel “at the miracle of breath, flesh, life itself,” that fill these pages.

–Jason Irwin, author of The History of Our Vagrancies

Paperback, 60 Pages, Angels Flight Books, April 2021

It’s better to attach life experiences to poems than to let them fly high and out of sight. Literature worth resources speaks to our guts. More specifically, when groupings of words, like these one hundred instances in Flames and Fire, make us feel uncomfortable, we’re on to something good. Writing’s ability to interact with our viscera can save us, or, in the least, can shepherd us toward achieving vital goals.Whereas it’s hardly useful to lark about, perusing worlds where venomous wildebeests run amok or where two-headed hedgehogs rule, it’s equally ineffective to stay closeted while attempting to legitimize the entirety of civilization. We might not be able to be friends with everyone, but we should, in general, manifest a little understanding and a lot of tolerance. Accordingly, the questions raised by the poems in Flames and Fire are important.

Paperback, 143 Pages, Independently Published, May 2021

A bandanna (from Sanskrit “to tie”) is a large colorful kerchief for the head or neck. Those colors travel through the poems, as maples in a gutter turn red, and a half-eaten apple lies by a massage parlor. Color and movement culminate in an autumn sunset of a hundred latte drawings, and the mystery of the bandanna. These savvy observations include both haiku and senryu verses, those poems “of the small” those overlooked dust motes of detail we often bat aside in our daily lives.

ALAN SUMMERS, President, United Haiku and Tanka Society and co-founder, CALL OF THE PAGE

Paperback, 123 Pages, Brick Road Poetry Press, Inc., April 2019

The poems in David Supper’s second collection reveal an impressive tenderness and have a very great variety. The ceaseless radiation of sublime ideas is perceptible in these poems.

Paperback, 77 Pages, Cyberwit, October 2020

In the underground urban landscape each of us finds ourselves in these uncertain days, bleakness, loneliness, and cavities of the soul are most prevalent. We feel like cages and boxes, steel and cardboard. We act like cobras and rats. Not because we want to, but because we think we have no choice. In the red-streak alarm America of today, sidewalks and street corners are the most potent and pregnant reminders of that emptiness. We forget what, where, and how we traversed and what each space looks like because we are taught from grade school to concentrate on the important matters in our lives.

Paperback, 128 Pages, Christian Faith Publishing, September 2019

This is a book of stories as much as a collection of poems. In it, the characters swerve between the rain-drenched, tree-lined, concrete plains of Houston and the voluptuous, dynamic terrain of Los Angeles. They face multiple realities, and though they’re earnestly grounded, they sometimes swim in the waters of magic realism. Their story is both relatable and a little bit surreal.

Paperback, 106 Pages, Odeon Press, December 2018

a week ago we soared through the sky with all parts intact and fully functional. I didn’t need to look out deep, endless windows we will never have the biology to fly, no matter our construction, no matter the fantasy of the air– and the air is a fantasy you breathe easy and pure descend slowly on telephone lines beyond reach to know what I am made of will never be enough.

Paperback, 44 Pages, Independently Published, May, 2017

I only care about my sons, how they are fruit a garden full of misunderstood leaves Lyrical and reflective and painfully honest, David LaBounty’s debut collection is an exploration of faith, love, fatherhood, and fidelity all weaved around a series of poems dealing with life, parenting, and the wake of a changing family.

Paperback, 128 Pages, Silverthought Press, December 2011

All poems included in the poetry collection successfully explore the deepest emotions of the soul. It is quite remarkable that the poet has discarded the obsolete or worn-out phraseology.

Paperback, 78 Pages, Cyberwit.net, February 2020

In his new collection, Jeffrey McDaniel confronts the insular and expansive qualities of loss. With electric language and surrealistic imagery, McDaniel’s poems deliver the quotidian elements of middle-age life while weaving us in & out of childhood and adulthood alongside body and mind. The tragic and life affirming share the same page and the same world, reminding us how close corruption can be to innocence; domesticity to fantasy; aging to youth.

Paperback, 230 Pages, Plum White Press, July 2020

Mark Tulin is a surgeon of great majesty in a heartfelt verse. Like a well-trained physician, Mark Tulin brings extraordinary linguistic skills to bear on the injuries of neglect and abandonment. The author offers a compassionate operation through his poetry. Awkward Grace isa must read as a medication for moral sickness.—Tim Truzy, author of Plastic Bags and Medical MelodiesMark Tulin’s chapbook of poems, Awkward Grace, is a fascinating read, specifically incorporating his theme, about people living on the marginal side of life. The collection of poems is both enthralling and enchanting, delving into both despair and hope, of those people in our society who are less fortunate. Readers will be emotionally touched with every one of the twenty-seven heart-felt pieces in the book.—Ivor Steven, Geelong Writers Inc., Australia A moving collection of downtrodden tales speckled with moments of virtue, humor, beauty, and calm. Tulin writes not just of deprivation but of the acceptance of it—a learned helplessness, a passivity, that fills the heart with that strange, sad beauty, with that awkward grace, that Edward Hopper once put to canvas. This is poetry with a mission, and it succeeds. —Brian Geiger, Editor of Vita Brevis Poetry Magazine

Paperback, 43 Pages, Kelsay Books, January 2020 

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