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  • Citizen

    Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudine Rankine.  (Poetry)  “This book, a meditative poetry/prose hybrid was widely praised and short-listed for the National Book Award. Its main concern is the hot button of race in America but she addresses this huge topic in an intimate and personal way, with small, quiet snippets of conversation and scenarios in which the subtlety of racism (which go by the irksome name of micro aggressions) gets played out.  An important book which will be an eye-opener for many."

  • Do-Over

    The Do-Over by Kathleen Ossip.  “This wonderful, poignant and critically acclaimed book of poems (with some prose bits thrown in) is an homage to the poet’s beloved mother-in-law who has passed away and reflects the poet’s attempts to understand what this woman means to her, in life and in death (‘I never want to forget how this feels    I will of course forget’).  Her style is colloquial and varied, and always engaging.  Great even for novice poetry readers.”

  • Glttl Stp

    Glttl Stp – By Doritt Carroll.  I know, I know... poetry is not "fiction."  But I don't have a poetry section.  Yet.  I’m getting there, thanks in large part to the works of two brilliant friends Doritt and Kristina Bicher (whose collection Just Now Alive is also on the list).   Here is a sample poem from Doritt’s website that explains the title of her collection.

    Glottal Stop

    everything good

    is in the things

    that we don't say


    if we were sculptures

    in a gallery

    it would be the elegant

    space between them

    carved by their marble arms


    the moment after the scratch

    when the match

    flickers but doesn't yet

    burst into flame


    the tightening in the air

    as the black hand

    clicks to the minute


    the minute

    when the recess bell

    is going to ring


    if there were two birds

    singing in two trees

    it would be

    the moment

    when they both paused

    not to take in air

    but because it was

    the right place

    in both of their songs

    to pause




  • Just Now Alive

    Just Now Alive by Kristina Bicher.  This collection will be released July, 2014, but trust me and preorder it now.  Kristina (along with Doritt Carroll, whose poetry collection is also on this list) has lured me back to the wonderful world of poetry. Here is one of Kristina’s poems:

    The Woodcutter’s Wife

    Is Gretel happy?

    Why does she run from me into the trees?

    Why does she stare at her feet?

    Why does she chew her braids?

    Why does she cut herself with sticks, at night, and the blankets

              are spotted dark and I wash and I wash?

    Why does she try to clean herself with leaves?


    What is to be done with Hansel?

    Why does he hide my paring knife?

    Why does he fill my shoes with stones?

     Why does he sit on my lap, now at 12, and stroke my cheek

              and twist my hair?

    Why does his skin always smell though I use my  best lye?

    Why does he steal his sister’s bread? 


    Husband, dearest, where do you go?

    How far do you roam to look for wood?

    Why has your axe blade grown dull?

    Why do you return home after dark and bring home the silence of the forest in your eyes?

    Why do you ask if I’d like meat, perhaps a fat ham, when you know

              I could live on your love?

    Why do you furrow and gnaw at your knuckles?

    And what do you see out the window? 

  • Sorry You Are Not an Instant Winner

    sorry you are not an instant winner by Doritt Carroll. Another midsummer addition to the 2017 Great Beach Books top picks list!  Doritt's poems are powerful, so candid and true.  In reviewing one of Doritt's earlier chapbooks, Grace Caveliari of the Washington Independent Review of Books said it best: Doritt "hones each thought diligently until it acts  precisely the way she chooses. These are carefully made poems from  templates that have antecedents in our craft, but that are particularly  targeted on a page that could belong to no one else."  I owe Doritt a debt of gratitude. She, along with Kristina Bicher, whose book Just Now Alive was on the list a few years ago, reignited my love of poetry.  Poems, I've realized, make great vacation reading, wonderful for digesting and enjoying when our minds have some room to run.