A Kiss Risks a Prince: Recent Reading

Known by Salt: Tina Mozelle Braziel
A fantastic debut by an Alabama writer. I won’t say much here as I’m in the process of getting my thoughts in order for an interview with the author. She’s really busy these days.

If you like poetry of place, then I think you’ll like this book. It’s about growing up, particularly about growing up poor in the South. It’s about making one’s way in a particular place and making a place of one’s own. 

Splinters Are Children of Wood: Leia Penina Wilson

This book continues to grow on me. 

The poems operate like a series of liturgies, chants, invocations, and laments. They reclaim a voice of women through warrior / witch goddesses (in part Nafanua, but I feel others are represented). It gives voice to the parts of the world that generally don’t get a chance to speak through epics. 

Similar to Gardener’s attempt of giving voice to Grendel in his novel, this book could be seen as a way of giving voice to Grendel’s mother, who is here not seen as strictly good or evil, but both. The persona says, “I fill my own emptiness,” which hints at reclaiming the void within and without.

The line structure, use of space, and themes recall Sappho, Emma Bolden’s Malificae and Anglo Saxon poetry.

While reading I came across this quote that I felt related to the book:

“The witch is at once female divinity, female ferocity, and female transgression. She is all and she is one. The witch has as many moods and as many faces as the moon. Most of all, she is misunderstood.”  – Kristen J. Sollée, Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive

I think this book could be read as an attempt toward understanding Sollée’s ideas through the poetic consciousness.

Romance or The End: Elaine Kahn

I was initially interested in this book because it was from a publisher that I liked years ago when they just did comics. Also, Kim Gordon liked it, so I figured it wouldn’t be terrible–and it wasn’t–I just think either I am not the audience for it or it’s not the right time for me to connect with it, and that’s okay. That just happens with poetry. 

And while I didn’t relate to it as a whole, there were some fragments and images that I found thrilling and beautiful and grotesque. 

The Prosody Handbook: A Guide to Poetic Form: Robert Beum and Karl Shapiro

Sometimes I scan poems for fun. This probably comes from finding Poe’s poems at a young age and copying his rhythms as a type of play. Beum and Shapiro’s book is a very readable guide and reference for poetic form and meter. Most people find this subject mind-numbing, but it’s one of those areas I like reading about. I’ll definitely be dipping back into this as a reference and reading entries in the glossary here and there just for the joy of it.

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