Sunday, March 13, 2011
Review of TOPLESS, poems by Eileen McClusky, Deborah Mead, and Kara Provost, Main Street Rag’s Editor’s Choice Chapbook Series, Main Street Rag Publishing Company, PO Box 690100, Charlotte, North Carolina 28227, www.mainstreetrag.com, 47 pages, March 2011, $10
Review by Barbara Bialick
The chapbook TOPLESS has a bottom-less selection of well-written, somewhat erotic poems for and by three women who love their men and children. While they use a
number of sexy allusions, the book isn’t so much about sex, but how their sexuality is couched in the workings of Mother Nature. Since there are three distinct poets
represented, I kept thinking this one or that one is the better writer. By the last page, I realized that each of them turned out to be the best. So I got a good impression of Main Street Rag’s Editor’s Choice Chapbook Series. Main Street Rag is a popular
In “Transformations,” Kara Provost fantasizes about “what it would have been like to have a boy-child/…but we gave birth to girls like ripe poppies, pearlized bulbs opening into brilliant black-eyed scarlet…”
“Before Loving” by Deborah Mead reads, “First I would want to know/the salt of
things;/the sweat of palm/or the air when it comes/off the flat of the sea…”
In “Your Pink Bra,” Eileen McCluskey speaks of her daughter: “Your pink bra
brings me/back to my own girlhood;/the way those wings/opened my wonderment,/cradled promise…”
The poem “Nipple” by Deborah Mead is a funny if not surrealistic description of a woman breast-feeding her baby in front of a subway car full of 5 p.m. rush hour commuters: “…We are turned on/and hosed down like a riotous mob/flushed to the far end of the car./The warm thin milk washes over us, carrying away our coffee cups, our market analyses,/our MP3s and Oprah novels…/”
Eileen McCluskey is a poet and freelance writer who has had work in MIT News, WPI Transformations, Main Street Rag, Ibbetson Street, and others.
Deborah Mead is a freelance writer and poet, and has published articles and essays in
The Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Main Street Rag, Iodine Poetry Journal and Haz Mat Review.
Kara Provost’s chapbook Nests was published by Finishing Line Press in 2006 and recently, a micro-chapbook, Figures of Speech, with the Origami Poems project. She has published poetry in Main Street Rag, Hurricane Alice, The Newport News, Tar Wolf Review, The Aurorean, and others.