Category Archives: Poetry

City Times and Other Poems
by Vihang A. Naik

Reviewed by Ronnie Alvarado

City Times and Other Poems is divided into six sections that all feature a similar theme. The first section, “Love Song of a Journeyman,” acts as the prelude to the rest of the collection. Each piece in this particular section speaks to the rather fleeting nature of many of the most profound moments in one’s life, whether those particular instances are filled profound joy, intense melancholy, or a deject apathy. A soulful reader will find commiseration in this section, as he or she will be able to reflect on the sparse beauty of the poetry and inflect his or her own respective emotions into the words.

Making It by Amanda Gibbs

Making It

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Love has many faces and Amanda Gibbs invites you to discover one of these through her book Making It. Her stories are not restricted to a single literary form, but take on whatever serves them best, so you can expect anything from prose and poetry to vignettes.

Actually, Making It is like a written photo album of a couple’s life. The chapters are like HD snapshots of adventures these two shared from the day they met to their 30th anniversary. The high-resolution imagery allows you to witness the smallest of details and the most intimate thoughts. What the reader sees about this couple is not restricted only to the material dimension, but it goes beyond that, to the magical and still largely unmapped minds of a woman and a man. The two main characters bare the burden of representing their gender, and they are both, in a sense the archetypal male and female. However, they bare the mark of our modern times. There is an interesting dynamic between what both of them think, say, and do. Their actions (just like ours) are not always smoothly linked to their thoughts and words. It takes time and dedication to get to truly know a person, sometimes it takes 30 years, and sometimes a lifetime is still not enough.

The Antigone Poems by Marie Slaight and Terrence Tasker (Artist)

The Antigone Poems

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Certain stories are timeless, and they can be reshaped in many ways, without losing their essence, such is the story of Antigone. First introduced to the world as a heroine by Sophocles, she now re-emerges in The Antigone Poems of Marie Slaight. However, the heroine of this volume is not one woman, but all.

This volume’s cover is haunting through the intensity of its simplicity. Before we read Slaight’s poems, we see Terrence Tasker’s work, to whom this volume is actually dedicated. Tasker’s charcoal drawings close each of the five chapters of the book and their raw quality matches that of the poems. Even if there aren’t that many drawings, they leave their imprint not just on the pages, but on your memory as well. The beauty in Terrence Tasker’s drawings lies in his ability to allow and almost unnoticeably push the viewer to project their own images over his. The images I saw were filled with pain, desolation, and silent despair. Also, the format of the book is very well thought out since it becomes a tool to control the reader. The empty page which faithfully follows each poem forces us to reflect – even if only fractions of a second – more on what we have just experienced. It dictates the tempo of Marie Slaight’s song.

Her words align themselves obediently to the rhythm of some foreign tribal drums. It’s not so much the words themselves, but how they are put to use that empowers these poems. Their order seems unnatural at first, but each time you read them, they speak to you more. Also, many unexpected associations challenge the reader’s imagination “like scattered dynamite/dissembled power/shattered glass”. There are certain words that reoccur almost obsessively (blood, daemon, sun) which haunt Antigone through her journey. But the beat that overshadows all the other instruments is the fusion of pleasure and pain. It is this fragile string which interweaves both of these contrasting emotions that ties all the poems together. There is a voluptuousness about pain, and a distress in pleasure that Marie Slaight is not afraid to explore.

Although the female spirit seems to be dominating throughout The Antigone Poems, the feelings these speak of transcend the rigid barriers of gender. Universal themes like love, passion, pain, lust, loneliness are combined in a unique way through a strong imagery. The poet makes use of all our senses to perceive inner states in a more organic way. So, we come to smell the odor/see the colors/hear the melody/sense the warmth/taste the flavor of Her emotions.

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