Friday, March 08, 2013

Books, Books & More Books: Quick Review of What's on My Nightstand #bookreview

I've been really behind on the books that are on my nightstand.  Some I've read, some I'm still reading and one that has just arrived.

Anyway, while I do want each of these books to get more attention (read: their own blog post or a longer review, etc), I realize since I've been more focused on my own work, Crab Creek Review and Two Sylvias Press, these fine authors are being neglected.

And I don't want that.

I want readers to know about the books I know about and am enjoying...

So readers, let's begin:


Rachel Rose's SONG & SPECTACLE:  Rachel Rose is a Canadian poet who is both an amazing poet and a wonderful person.  I have her two first books and was thrilled when I saw this was out.
Her third book, SONG & SPECTACLE is just as strong as the others.

Rachel writes in her sonnet "Laureate" --

From you I learned in order to be found
I must first find the words, the words for power.
How poems sleep like tulips underground
And then unfold in gratitude some hour.

In her poem "Tired" she writes:

It happens that you are tired of being a man,
Poet, and I am tired of men.

You're tired of barbershops,
they make you weep, and I am tired of men

whose oil leaks slick the sea and can't be capped. . .

Rachel's poetry is topped full of music, in rhyme and sound and in expected places and images.  He goes right to the story, whether of son seeing his mother fall and asking if "she's drunk again," she captures moments of motherhood, relationships, the history we are living and how we exist in this world with grace and wit and understanding.

OLD FLAME (The First 10 Years of 32 Poems) edited by Deborah Ager, Bill Beverly, & John Poch:  

First, big disclaimer, I have a poem in this anthology insert bias here.

But even if I didn't, even if it were all the poems minus mine, I would love this book.  Why?  David Kirby is in this book.  Brigit Pegeen Kelly is in this book.  Kevin McFadden, Bernadette Geyer, Erika Meitner, Daniel Nester, Lisa Russ Spaar, AE Stallings, Billy COllins, or this list goes on.

Let me just give you a sampling:

From Bernadette Geyer's poem "The Problem with Describing Night" --

If I said heat lightning. Pillow talk--

If I said there should be a Now, Yes, NOW moment-

If I sad cloud and penumbra, Orion
and Scorpio. If I said boogeyman--

The anthology is good poems, one after another, of poets you recognize and poets you will want to read more of.  Also, in the bio sections, poets describe how their poem came about, which I love. And the cover, like an old gas can, is gorgeous.

POSTAGE DUE by Julie Marie Wade:  When I say Julie's beautiful book on Facebook, I immediately asked her to see if she could get me a review copy.  And I learned--her press is my press!  Yes, this book, POSTAGE DUE was published by White Pine Press too.  (I knew White Pine Press had great taste, this proves it!)

I have heard Julie's prose, but never her poetry and it is just as much a treat to read.

She cuts to the chase, the poems are vulnerable and honest, and easy to fall in love with.  Some are in the form of letters--some are seriously letters (to Mary Tyler Moore, to her father, to Judy Garland as Dorothy).

But this one, I loved how it began.  In "Thinking of Carl Lull, His Deaf Mother, His Left Hand" she writes:

This will be a bloody, beautiful poem.

This will be my tribute to you,
Carl Lull, & to your name--with its perfect consonance
as if a literary character I'd created.

But it was me who invented you.  It was
your mother, a train whistle of a woman
who shaped words with her hands, & your father...


Just story interlaced with story, one after the other.  A beautiful orange book by a beautiful poet.


HOMELAND by LuAnn Keener-Mikenas:  LuAnn is a wonderful poet and what I love about this book is that it's her second collection--her first was published in 1994.  I love how she returns to the poetry world with a book called HOMELAND.

This book is filled with animals and art.  It's flowers and bees in amber.  It's our natural world and an interacting.

LuAnn writes in her poem "Fear" --

As when I lie down to the tenderness
of your hands, and afterwards
still freeze to a halt:  Fear
is a killer.  And the core of fear?
I will open the stopped mouth, press
the pencil point the constant page...


Jessie Carty's AN AMATEUR MARRIAGE (chapbook):  In Jessie Carty's chapbook, details mix with relationships until we wander into challenges, trial separations where "You tell her her hair looks like a blondish lampshade, which is does."

Jessie writes in her poem "Marriage Scales" --


The young bridge felt she was marrying her soul mate. This
thought implied she was a damaged organ; that like a river
bed she was missing the especially well worn rock that could
help her on her way to forming an ox bow lake...


For Poets:

The 2013 POET'S MARKET  (2014 is available for pre-order, fyi)  And comes with a 1 year online subscription for the only version.

And I have a poem in it.  And there are good articles on writing and promotion. Something for everyone who is interested in publishing their work.


Emily Rapp's memoir also just arrived today THE STILL POINT OF THE TURNING WORLD about her son who was diagnosed at 9 months with Tay Sachs disease, a fatal degenerative disorder.


By the way, my book just came out on KINDLE so anyone with an eReader with a Kindle app can get LETTERS FROM THE EMILY DICKINSON ROOM for $7.39!

Normally, a print copy of my book is $16, so that's less than half the price.  I wish I could virtually sign it for you!

Happy Reading!

~ Kells

  ~ Click here to subscribe to Book of Kells by email or in your favorite reader


  1. Kelli, there MUST be an app to virtually sign e-books! If there isn't, you better invent it!!

    --Nancy P.

  2. Whoa, that is some load of books! Sometimes I find myself day dreaming about breaking my leg, or in some other fairly non-permanent way becoming BEDRIDDEN, so I can read, read, read before my bedside table collapses under the weight. Can you relate?!

    I really appreciated your sharing of tidbits from the ones you have had time to dip into. Thanks!682 oceggrea

  3. I love hearing about what you're reading! And I love knowing that I'm not the only one drowning in books to read. I swear, every time I finish one, two more coming in the mail...


Always love to hear from you...and the anonymous option is open for those feeling shy.

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