It is clear to see why Fractures was the Winner of the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry, selected by Natasha Trethewey. It is emotional and raw in its delivery of profoundly looking into the past while keeping the reader rooted in the present’s social struggles.
This is no self-pitying record of defeat, but a book of rebirth and restoration, a fact suggested by several poems’ titles: “O Forgiveness,” “Therapy Dog,” “The Art of Meditation,” “Battered Victory,” “Stand Up,” “As I Meditate,” “Learning to Glide,” and “Inner Work.” It is a book of candescent triumph.
Rodríguez looks and looks again at childhood, family, religion, and the Colonias of South Texas. Amidst the unincorporated residential areas along the US/Mexico border, these poems take root, rise up, and open their mouths to speak about what is found there.
There is no way to separate a book published by 3: A Taos Press from its evocative layout. In this case, Carlson, Reed, and Dibella Seluja’s poetry collection, We Are Meant to Carry Water, takes for its cover image a sculpture by Lene Kilde, “The Nutmeg Princess,” part of The Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park near Grenada.
Opening with hunger and appetite, Took House, an alluringly haunting poetry collection, invites the reader to the table to dip in and out of love, obsession, and what remains hidden.
The chapbook “More Than Watchmen at Daybreak” opens by addressing the reader as pilgrim, a traveler, one who has come from afar or is seeking a holy place.
Each poem shows the reader a bright flash of an extinguished life through the journey of forty-three poems, each honoring a María murdered between now and 1993.
My world cracked open in fourth grade when we learned our planets. In college, when my chemistry professor said, “Sometimes I wish I had studied astronomy instead of chemistry,” my universe expanded again. Moments like these are precious. The poems in Mary Peelen’s Quantum Heresies offer a similar shattering-of-the known-world effect.
Mosaic of the Dark is drenched in metaphor, mystery, and prayer. Dordal, in her acquired wisdom, has produced a book of poetry that transcends a woman’s story to become a spiritual awakening.