“Black Light / Her Name in a Cup”: Scenes & Impressions: Reading David Dodd Lee’s Animalities

  David Dodd Lee has been there with me since the beginning—not since the beginning of my reading and loving poetry, but of my writing poetry and taking that progress seriously. Of taking poetry seriously, and the idea that there was something to be taken from poetry, to be understood, …

‘This is Not a Pipe’: The Powers of Nature & Grief over Perception & Definition: Reading Ross Gay’s Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude

  I don’t know about you, but in my mind, perception and grief are united. This is not to say that one cannot exist without the other, but only that our perceptions vary based on our state of mind—especially when we are talking about grief. On an average, typical day, …

The Division of History & Fiction: Reading Kristy Cambron’s A Sparrow in Terezin

  In Kristy Cambron’s A Sparrow in Terezin, the second novel in the A Hidden Masterpiece Novel series, two central female characters, Sera James and Kája Makovsky, bridge the gap between a past genocide and a present-day criminal investigation. Kája previously fled her home, escaping the Holocaust; Sera is dealing …

To the New York Times Book Review, Domestic Violence is Never Funny: A Response Review of Jill Alexander Essbaum’s Hausfrau

  Readers, let me explain first that I am not one to contest reviews, whether overly positive, unconstructively negative, or anything in-between. But when a review makes a claim that is societally problematic, I have to respond—not to the review as a whole, but to its thematic issues. A week …

The Waking, Danger & Consent of the Body & Love: Reading Lisa Mangini’s Bird Watching at the End of the World

  When we spend a lot of time reading poetry, I know we can become critical of the pursuit of love and the defining of boundaries in poetry—but sometimes, a poet chooses to address these exact topics, and they get everything right: they create something new, something meaningful, something entirely …