Category Archives: Poetry

Saw the Forest: A Novel by Patrick L. McConnell

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

A read which keeps your heart as invested as your mind, Patrick L. McConnell’s Saw the Forest explores life through a multi-faceted lens, bringing attention to aspects of the human condition, wrapped in layers of emotion and motive through the experiences of life. Presented with a grove of eclectic characters, each on their own life’s journey but whose paths cross in dynamic and life-altering ways.

A deft storyteller, author Patrick L. McConnell, captures the attention quickly with his literate narrative, which features a well-drawn cast of characters, each as interesting as the next to meet, as well as somehow entangled within the same web of a diverse community collective. Moreover, the story divulges uniquely posed aspects of human nature, exemplified through the characters, inclusive of traits like love, bravado, religion, violence, as well as politics. Moreover, skillfully presented amidst relatable interactions which create an interwoven mosaic of human frailty and strengths, making exciting fuel for this evocative, character driven read.

Immediately, this literate, detail focused narrative brings into view the Right family; father, Artemus a doctor, Mother Taniaz, and their sons, Philip and Adam. The brothers are a unique pair, in that, younger brother Adam takes care of his elder brother Philip, who is considerably larger and stronger than him, but his mind is that of a child. As the family dynamic changes over time, after having lost both parents, the pair of brothers live humble lives as adults, still sharing a close bond. Adam, quietly stalwart, socially awkward, even reticent but well-meaning remains his brother’s faithful keeper who at times can become an unintentionally aggressive and intimidating handful.

The Gene Rasp: A Novel by Patrick L. McConnell

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

A noteworthy excursion into the world of science fiction, Patrick L. McConnell’s The Gene Rasp renders the heart and the mind rapt with its exploration of the heart and humanity through the journey of the inventor of a phenomenal life altering device offering hope to mankind for a future utopia.

Fascinating from its outset, the story takes place in the future, with the autobiography of
of central character Tom Spoon later known as Dr. Tom Maloof due to be published in the year 2165. However this is no ordinary autobiography because Tom is no ordinary person; as a matter of fact he becomes the savior of future humanity as he invents a revolutionary medical device called the Gene Rasp which can alter genetics of individuals offering cures for cancer as well as many other diseases thusly making the road to immortality a little clearer.

Easily engaging, the story captivates as Tom Spoon charms readers into his world with a humble and comfortable tone, drawing rich images as he reflects on his life, remembering people, relationships, and experiences which affected his journey from orphan to renowned doctor. He recounts having grown up in an orphanage of which we learn that life for Tom was lonely as a boy, although surrounded by many others, he was different, as he struggled with dyslexia. Believing his brain was broken but determined to overcome his affliction, he yearned to be both understood and connected to something, he began to write poetry, heartfelt masterpieces which appear interspersed throughout the story. Tom grows despite dyslexia going on to accomplish much with his life. He wins a woodworking contest at eighteen, attends college, and later graduate school. Altogether Tom’s journey culminates into a hopeful version of an immortal future.

Entirely a very likable read, The Gene Rasp garners the attention with an intelligent and richly woven journey through a science fiction narrative. I enjoyed author Patrick L. McConnell’s efforts within this work as he successfully brought forth a story that was simultaneously thought-provoking and touching. In particular, I appreciated the refreshing inclusion of intermittent QR code scanning tags and URL links as well as the inclusion of the end of the screenplay for the movie version, all served well to enhance the reading experience by creating deeper interaction with the reader. Also personally, I think this would make a great movie and I look forward to more works by author McConnell. This is a read definitely worth adding to your science fiction collection.

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.

Click Here to Purchase This Book (Author’s Website)

Click Here to Purchase This Book (Amazon.com)

Disclosure in Accordance with FTC Guidelines 16 CFR Part 255