Secret Letters cover art by Marnie Weber
This isn’t going to be a standard book review, so much as a small array of thoughts and feelings derived from partaking of its content.
Well, I guess the first part could be perceived as akin to a semi-standard mini-review – but then the red part in the middle is focused on personal divergence regarding female blood flow and clots and positive/negative creative horrific overly personal goop – and then when the font color turns black again, the two perspectives fuse together and end my review. I’ll go ahead and number them into three sections, in case some people would rather avoid the overly personal section two.
Part 1: (Mini- Review)
“There are ways to turn the orbs inside out without having to break them.”
Like most of j/j hastain’s poetry collections that I’ve read, much of the content fuses visceral imagery with the mind’s perception of mental/physical relationships, how the body responds and why. The mind and body fusion is not just focused on the outer body, but also inwardly. In “Secret Letters”, this inward focus includes positioning, the liquids inside, and different kinds of perception of (experimentation with) insemination and reproduction, both mental and physical.
“I told them to tie me to the cross that had never been forced upright.”
The liquids inside could be explored as an attempt to discover one’s own non-traditional mind/body connections and/or desires and/or spirituality - to find oneself (and/or another variation of oneself and/or a partner for oneself) on a deeper level.
“Digging in the moist meadow I unearthed a set of swan wings that had been dyed red. The wings were somehow animate and flapping without them having a center”
Much of j/j’s work is described as having a cross-genre, trans-genre focus and while I don’t disagree with that, most of the recent content I’ve read by j/j strikes me as uniquely feminine, in which the primary genre amalgamation seems womanly and earthly – female mind and body combined with the ground, dirt, water, plants (transplants), animals, birds, and blood flow. Underground, buried down, dug up, re-birthed, renewed and open to more exploration.
Click here for more about Rain and Gravestones.
Secret Letters cover art by Marnie Weber
Click here for more about Blue Graffiti.
Click here to buy Blue Graffiti via Amazon ($5 for paperback, $2.99 for Kindle book).
Click here for more about author Dianne Borsenik.
Krysia Jopek’s poems have appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, The Wallace Stevens Journal, Phoebe, Murmur, Windhover, and Artists & Influence. She has written reviews of poetry for The American Book Review and a review of literary criticism for The Wallace Stevens Journal. Maps and Shadows, her first novel (Aquila Polonica 2010), won a Silver Benjamin Franklin award in 2011 in the category of Historical Fiction. The Glass House of Forgetting, her second novel (literary fiction), is forthcoming.
The Monday at Mahall's Poetry and Prose Series happens the first Monday of each month at Mahall's 20 Lanes, 13200 Madison Avenue in Lakewood, Ohio. It's almost right across the street from the long gone Bela Dubby beer cafe and art gallery where Dianne Borsenik and I hosted the Lix and Kix Poetry Extravaganza for years.
Beginning on April 7th 2014 I will be helping to carry on the great tradition of hosting Monday at Mahall's. We hope to make founder Catherine Criswell proud, and we are very excited to meet and hear this month's acclaimed featured poet Frank Giampietro!
About Frank [stolen from his website]:
While earning an MA at Washington College and an MFA from Vermont College, Frank Giampietro was the president and general manager of a retail appliance business in Dover, Delaware. His first book of poems Begin Anywhere was published by Alice James Books in 2008. He is the co-author of Spandrel with Denise Bookwalter and Book O' Tondos with Megan Marlatt. Awards for his poetry include a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship from Sewanee Writers' Conference, a Kingsbury Fellowship from Florida State University, a fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and a Florida Book Award. He is the creator of La Fovea, and Poems by Heart. His poetry, nonfiction, short-short fiction, and book reviews have appeared in journals including 32 Poems, American Book Review, Barrow Street, Black Warrior, Cimarron Review, Copper Nickel, CutBank, FENCE, Hayden's Ferry, Ninth Letter, Poetry Daily, Poetry International, Ploughshares, Rain Taxi, Subtropics, and Tampa Review. He was a resident scholar at The Southern Review from 2010 to 2011 and the managing editor of Alice James Books from 2011 to 2012. Currently, Frank Giampietro serves as the interim director of Cleveland State University Poetry Center and visiting assistant professor of English at Cleveland State University and in the North East Ohio Master of Fine Arts program.
So come hear Frank, buy his book, have some brews, roll a few strikes and spares (if you dare) and share your latest spoken word masterpiece-in-the-making at our open mic. RSVP, if you wanna, on Facebook.
Frank Giampietro [photo also stolen from his website]
I've learned that the guy who hit my car on I-490 is trying to say I swerved to the left and cut in front of him. Fortunately, I'm fairly certain there is a witness who saw that I was firmly established in my lane when his truck struck me (I saw police approach and talk to a vehicle that was on the shoulder behind me). I did not swerve. I intended to get off at the Broadway exit that was coming up on the right to pick up Geri from work. The dog didn't run out in front of me; it ran out in front of the SUV that slammed on its brakes in front of me. I slammed on mine and was lucky I was able to come to a stop and avoid hitting the SUV. There was no room in the 4pm traffic for me to go right OR left. Only then did I notice the dog running out from in front of the vehicle in front of me, whereupon the truck hit my rear end, I went into a short spin and the vehicle in front of me drove off unscathed. If anything, the truck driver swerved slightly to the left while slamming on HIS brakes.
Here's the police report: http://clevelandoh.policereports.us/viewreportpdfrawv.html?sid=s4js65tj114gdevpc4qeq92q65&rid=0&f=report.pdf