Perturbations by Gary Beck
I’m always excited to pick up a new collection of poetry by Gary Beck, because his work challenges the status quo and our preconceptions, examining issues both universal and personal. His new work, Perturbations, is no exception.
Sometimes morose, sometimes with brief glimmerings of hope, it explores a variety of themes, some new to Mr. Beck’s repertoire and some revisted. For my full review of the book, you can find it here on Bewildering Stories.
If you'd like to learn more about Gary, I also had a great chat with him about his writing, which you can find on my blog here.
I really enjoyed reading Perturbations, and I hope you will, also.
Free Ferry by Ann Cefola
Free Ferry by Ann Cefola is a work of poetry that recalls post-war prosperity with an air of wistfulness. It contrasts the innocence of childhood and family with the harsh realities of world politics but still retains the double-edged sword of science versus emotion, knowledge versus love.
I thought this was a very wonderful work that combines a sense of world history with personal history. You can read a full review of the book at Bewildering Stories by clicking here. If you'd like to learn more about Ann, I also had a lovely chat with her about her book and writing in general, which you can find on my blog here.
I really enjoyed reading Free Ferry, and I hope you will, also.
Virtual Living by Gary Beck
For those of you who've been reading my book reviews over the years, you might notice that I'm a fan of Gary Beck's poetry. He's a prolific writer and he tackles the most relevant social and political issues facing us today. His new collection of poems, Virtual Living, is no exception, although it does take a new slant for its overarching theme: it explores technology and how it impacts society and the natural world. That's not to say the collection shies away from Mr. Beck's usual themes tackling politics and the modern world, but it does so through the lens of technology and how it impacts people. It was interesting to see Mr. Beck's take on tech as a force for change in all walks of life, big and small.
If you'd like to know more, you can read a full review of Mr. Beck's collection here at Bewildering Stories. I hope you enjoy reading Mr. Beck's collection as much as I did.
broken bottle of time by John Reinhart
One of my greatest joys about being a book reviewer is finding writers who are new to me. John Reinhart is a poet whose work is fun and funny, in addition to being serious and thoughtful. His writing mixes the speculative genre with literary, humor with pathos.
I read Mr. Reinhart's latest collection of poetry, broken bottle of time, and enjoyed it immensely. The full review of it was published today at Bewildering Stories, and you can read it here, along with some excerpts from Mr. Reinhart's work..
I hope you enjoy reading broken bottle of time as much as I did!
Mithila Review is a beautiful journal that celebrates international speculative fiction. Printed quarterly, it's based in Asia, and it has quickly gained a reputation as a leading voice in Asian science fiction and fantasy. It has been noticed by such publications as Wired, Strange Horizons and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, including one of its published poems being nominated for a Rhysling Award.
This latest issue of Mithila features women of color in science fiction, so it's definitely a great issue to check out. While you can subscribe, it's also free to read online.
I am thrilled to have a book review included in Issue # 9 of Mithila Review. I reviewed Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler, edited by Alexandra Pierce and Mimi Mondal. This one was near and dear to me, as I have been a lifelong fan of Ms. Butler and it was wonderful to read how many others have been touched by her work and continue to be to this day.
So please check out this wonderful magazine, read my review of a work honoring Ms. Butler if you feel so inclined, and take a look at Luminescent Threads, a truly inspiring book.
Tremors by Gary Beck
For those of you who have read my reviews for a while, you’ll know that a poet I enjoy reading is Gary Beck. One thing that I think informs his poetry is the breadth of his writing experience: in addition to poetry, he has written plays, he has written essays, and he’s the author of novels and short stories. I recently picked up his latest poetry collection, Tremors, which I think is one of his strongest poetry collections to date. The review was published today in Bewildering Stories. I hope you like it as much as I did.
And if you'd like to learn more about Mr. Beck and his writing, head over to my blog here to read my interview with him.
Perceptions by Gary Beck
Into the charged atmosphere of the lead-up to the U.S. election comes Gary Beck's new collection of poetry. Perceptions is unapologetically political, examining hot button topics that don't shy away from modern concerns, but rather examines them head-on in a straightforward, narrative style. Mr. Beck's message is seldom hidden, but is presented at the forefront of each poem--these are words meant to inform, to awaken.
There's a full review of the book at Bewildering Stories. I hope you enjoy reading the collection!
Becoming a Tree by James Graham
I'm a bit behind on my postings, since the kids and I have been sick for the past week. I recently reviewed James Graham's poetry collection, Becoming a Tree: Poems 2007-2015 for Bewildering Stories, which came out this past Monday. I thought it was a very thoughtful and beautiful collection of poetry - you can see the full review here. I hope you enjoy reading it.
Resonance by Gary Beck
I just finished reading Resonance, a poetry collection by Gary Beck. You can find a full review for it at the ezine Bewildering Stories by clicking here. I hope you enjoy reading both the review and Mr. Beck's poetry!
I have a number of poems published as well as short stories, and I never realized how biased my book reviews were until a friend of mine lent me a couple of collections of poetry by poet Mary Oliver. That's when I realized I've never reviewed any poetry on my website. So I figured I'd start with my friend's recommendations, which were fantastic.
The two books he lent me were American Primitive and Owls and Other Fantasies. I haven't read any other poetry by Mary Oliver, so I have no idea whether these represent her best work or only one period of her writing, but I must say I was quite impressed. I could see why she has won multiple awards for her work. Her poetry revolves around nature, history and often how people and relationships figure into both of them. Although some of her poems struck me more vividly than others, all of her poetry has very concrete imagery that effortlessly brings to mind the slices of scenes she is trying to bring to life. Each poem is like a photograph, capturing a moment in time, usually with the theme summarized by the very simple, often one- or two-word titles. The only thing that sometimes put me off from her poetry was her high usage of exclamation marks, which to me seemed to try to intentionally create an unnatural emphasis for the reader. But, other than that, I really enjoyed her style, which is composed of short lines and short stanzas. Most of her poems are short also, very rarely more than a page.
In American Primitive, there are are a number of historical poems as well as nature poems. While the historical ones were interesting, they weren't what most captured my interest. Some of my favorites included "August" (about berry picking), "The Bobcat," "Tasting the Wild Grapes" (which, oddly enough, brought to mind "The Tyger" by William Blake), "Flying" (about being on a plane and seeing a compelling stranger), "Postcard from Flamingo" (about missing someone distant), "An Old Whorehouse," "The Fish"... well, the list goes on. I could probably fully name half the poems out of the collection.
In Owls and Other Fantasies, the poems are all about birds and nature; while I enjoyed them, this might be one problem I have with themed collections by the same author/poet (and one thing I've found myself in writing poetry) - it can be easy to get stuck on a motif or repeat phrases or imagery, especially with such similar inspiration. While I also enjoyed this collection, I much preferred American Primitive, as it had a wider scope and breadth of themes.
Ms. Oliver's turn of phrase creates a cornucopia of imagery, despite her sometimes sparse style. I would highly recommend her writing to anyone who enjoys poets such as Robert Frost or Margaret Atwood. Ms. Oliver has a number of books published, so I know I'll be picking up more work by her in the future.
I read a lot - depending on my writing schedule, I can usually read about a book a day. Some of the books are fantastic and I would love to recommend to everyone - some, not so much. Either way, I thought I would share a few thoughts on what I'm reading at the moment.