I’m going to try to stay on top of books read this year, which is not say slipping on them underfoot.
6 days, 6 books.
- All I Have is the Moment: An interview with Barry Dempster by Maureen Scott Harris & Maureen Hynes (A Fieldnotes chapbook, 2020)
- If you are interested in Dempster’s work, or artistic process, or biography, this is a must read. I read it all silently, then again aloud. It has a lot of food for thought. It is comforting to know that he only consciously got under his poems in his 40s and 50s.
- These Days, issue #7, edited by Jeff Blackman (Dec 2020)
- Ink in the Blood by Kim Smejkel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020)
- This was an intense 444 pages, divided into 3 acts in this fantasy novel, set on an alternate earth with something that may remind you of the Catholic church. The female-god’s infrastructure rules with an iron fist. That falls so short of conveying the suspense and dexterous use of the genre to postulate new options.
- Ghost Face by Greg Santos (DC Books, 2020)
- Admission: I have his other 2 books and have been waiting for this one. It takes a turn for the personal from the surreal. I wouldn’t say hodgepodge of style, more mosaic. Some stellar lines and memorable poems, a soft spot of course is his haibun for his dead father, that being a project I do.
- 70 Kippers: The Dagmar Poems by Michael Dennis and Stuart Ross (Proper Tales Press, 2020)
- This book is like a 1930s movie in snappy turns of dialogue, movie references and cinematographic images. The play and poke, chime and support of the poems as they evolve in alternating lines is a thing of beauty.
- Sprawl: the time it took us to forget by Manahil Bundukwala & Conyer Clayton (Collusion Books, 2020)
- I think this is a form they evolved together, echoing and turning on lines each repeats in a collaborative exploration, in the end backforming a sort of villanelle of the repeating touchstones. I can’t summarize it but it did bring tears to my eyes so it is doing some poetic work.