Saturday, February 06, 2010

Gnawed Bones: Poetry by Peggy Schumaker

Gnawed Bones

By: Peggy Schumaker

Reviewed by: E. Hanson

Peggy Schumaker in Gnawed Bones, writes from an interior landscape as well as one based on nature. Her approach is observational.
Her usage seems to me to be perfect. Her constructs building upon the general, leads us to personal truths with a teaming desert of the universal and is a pleasure to read.
I have many favorites in this admirable chapbook. However, if I had to pick just one poem out of the collection it would be “Mother Tongue”. It has an elemental feel with intuitive knowledge. Her credentials are impeccable. (The only thing missing is a translation.)
I love that she likes to use visual art as a springboard. (i.e. “Deliverance”, “That Painting I Didn’t Buy”, “Upset Woman”, etc.) My other favorite is “Sea Change”. I feel that this writer understands the richness of language but also understands that less is more.
There are wonderful poems in this collection that deal with loss. I especially like “Chickens”, “Ha Ha Ha”, and “Albondigas” which stands out for its sheer pathos.
In Gnawed Bones, the reader will come away with a very personal sense of who this author is and the basic nature in all of us, which makes us what we are.
Thank you for a good read!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Shake Down by Andie Ryan

by Andie Ryan
Lenox Road Publishing © 2009
ISBN 978-1-935365-05-1
Review by Steve Glines

Every Saturday morning our editor arrives with a bag, or on a bad day, a box of books to be reviewed. The poetry books are grabbed first, most of the Bagel Bards are poets and a chapbook is a quick read and an equally quick assessment and review. A quick thumbs up or down. The books that remain on the table are eyed warily. They are large, they are fiction, they are novels. They are daunting. The last book on the table carried the title “Shakedown.” A few picked it up, thumbed through it and put it back down. Some snickered, some just skimmed a paragraph or two, and some read the blurbs on the back. I picked it up. Someone rolled their eyes and said, “It’s about a company called ‘Sledd Payne’.” I put it back down.

As our meeting ended our editor, waving “Shakedown” in the air said, “OK, who’s going to review this book?”

When no one answered I said, “I will.”

It’s an hour long train ride back to my house in the burbs, enough time to get a feeling for what a book’s about:

• A murder mystery set in the 1970’s involving a Sledd Payne employee.
• Someone notices that things don’t add up, is money be4ing embezelled?
• A man named Hollister, a senior executive at Sledd Payne is on the case.
I almost missed my stop. At home I opened the book again, reading through dinner, through the 11 P.M. news, well past 3 A.M.:
• A young rising executive discovers hidden accounts with huge sums that are traded daily.
• She’s mysteriously killed.

I won’t go on. The story is a gripping who done it. We know who the villains are and we think we know who the good guys are but the twists and turns make this novel a great read and anyone who’s followed the ENRON or WorldCom story this story is completely plausible. It makes you wonder what skeletons are hidden inside the boardrooms of America’s major corporations.
This book is recommended for anyone who likes a good light thriller.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Two Somerville presses strut their literary stuff Feb.13 at the Somerville Public Library

(Cervena Barva Press)

Two Somerville presses strut their literary stuff Feb.13 at the Somerville Public Library

Ibbetson Street Press and the Cervena Barva Press will hold a joint celebratory reading at the Somerville Central Library Feb. 13, 2010 -- 2p.m. The two presses are Somerville-based and have prolifically published local, national and international poets and writers. Cervena Barva Press was founded by Somerville resident Gloria Mindock; the Ibbetson Street Press was founded in 1998 by Doug Holder, Richard Wilhelm and Dianne Robitaille.

The reading, held at the central library, is located at 79 Highland Ave. in Somerville. Buses to the library leave from Davis Square and stop at the venue on a regular basis. Open mic and featured readers will be included. Books will be on sale from both of the presses.

The reading’s purpose is to launch the new issue of Ibbetson Street , the literary journal. Ibbetson 26 features poetry from Zvi Sesling, Patricia Brodie, Kim Triedman, Dorian Brooks, Lyn Lifshin, A.D. Winans, Kelly Jean White and others, as well as an exclusive interview with Fred Marchant.

Cervena Barva Press will feature part of its roster of celebrated authors: Francis Alix, Irene Koronas, Tam Lin Neville, and Mark Pawlak

Ibbetson Street publishes the best of the small press and is distributed nationally. They have received notice in The Boston Globe, Harvard Review, Small Press Review, Salamander, PRESA, and other respected journals. Ibbetson’s magazines and books are carried at a host of independent bookstores

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Climbing The Family Tree Nancy Morgan-Boucher

Climbing The Family Tree
Nancy Morgan-Boucher
nimboucher @
2009 $7.00

Once I get over the formatting in this self published
chapbook, and try to focus on the poems; when I'm
able to concentrate, because visually it is hard to accept
the machine like centering. Okay, I'm over it,
lets get on with the reading:

"There must be
something, he said that
turns you on, something
that sparks you, that you
once wanted to live

The poems speak eloquently of family, the poets particular
family and there are often universal instances, phrases
rendered with a knowing, "We are born oozing with thick
wet skin…" The reader is often presented with well written
personal beliefs, "like a witch, with an easy wave of her wand…"
Nancy considers each word and juxtaposes verses in that
same consideration. She gives to her readers a strong
feminine perspective with references that come from her
experiences. These poems are voiced succinctly and may
require an audible understanding to be appreciated more
readily. It is an intimate poetic look at one persons life.

Irene Koronas
Poetry Editor
Wilderness House Literary Review