Chapbook Editing

We will offer notes and edits on your chapbook of poems (less than 30 pages).If you have a specific goal for your chapbook (MFA work, publication, or just in search of general feedback) let us know in your cover letter and we will help you work towards that goal.

Please send all work in an editable format, preferably Word or Pages. We use Track Changes to mark up documents and will attach an additional letter with our thoughts.

Chapbooks will take 1-3 months to be returned, with one additional week of follow up emails to address any concerns or questions. The fee for a full set of chapbook notes is $100.

Poetry Manuscript Editing

We will offer notes and edits on your book of poems (30 to 75 pages). If you have a specific goal (MFA work, publication, or just in search of general feedback) let us know in your cover letter and we will help you work towards that goal.

For those of you working on collections longer than 75 pages please query us at straightforwardpoetry@gmail.com. We are not opposed to longer collections, we just want to make sure we have the time to do them justice.

Please send all work in an editable format, preferably Word or Pages. We use Track Changes to mark up documents and will attach an additional letter with our thoughts.

Books will take 4-6 months to be returned, with two additional weeks of follow up emails to address any concerns or questions. The fee for a full set of notes on a book length collection is $200.

New Reads: Corazón

Everyday for the past few months I've been learning to adjust to having two kids, enjoying each small success (and dwelling for way too long on each misstep). With my daughter in school two days a week now and my baby napping better I am finally finding time to read for fun again. While I may have the time I feel completely out of touch with what has been published in the past few months.

Amazon has these listed as the best-selling new and future releases by women. I am particularly interested in Corazón by Yesika Salgado.

Anyone have any thoughts on this collection? Is there anything else out that is catching your attention? What about audiobooks of poetry? Help this tired momma get back into the poetry game!

2017 In Review

Normally this time of year I am putting out the latest issue, sending cards, and enjoying some quiet time with family. We have been given a lot to celebrate this year, from the largest number of submissions ever, to the success of our editing service, to-most excitingly-the birth of our son.

As with any growth and change there are challenges. The honor of being trusted to edit submitters poetry and fiction has left me both proud and speechless. I take pride in treating your writing the way I do my own, or that of my friends. Because of our expanded services I can now offer free contributor copies and offer prizes for contests without paying for these things out of my personal money, as has been the case in the past. We truly have become a community of writers helping to support other writers.

This year hasn't been without its challenges. I have personally had some medical issues, compounded with the pregnancy, that has slowed down our response time. I can now say I'm proficient in self administering blood thinning injections and I can handle pelvic surgery like a bad ass. Since this is a one woman operation every personal hurdle I have unfortunately reflects in the speed of work here. Every time I feel the squeeze, when I feel pressed and overwhelmed, I come across a gracious and understanding writer. I do this for you, but more and more I keep find that this network of writers I am now connected to is good and kind and I am thankful for that.

Along with the bumps I was able to lecture and represent SFP at the Castle Rock Writers Conference. We've also seen a large number of past contributors publish books of their own this year. Please support Marlena ChertockMichael Brosnan,  Iris LittDevon BalwitAlina StefanescuLauren SuchenskiDarren Demaree and purchase their books or request them at your local library (if I missed your book shout it out in the comments so I can add it to the list!).

In the coming month Issue 14 will be live, giving me the pleasure to feature both brand new poets and several past contributors. Those of you who have submitted work for feedback will also be getting your notesand the schedule will be free for new submissions.

Now that we are rounding the corner into a new year I wish you-as an editor-the best of luck in setting writing goals, in reading great books, and in finding publishing success. As a fellow human on this crazy ride we are all on I would also like to extend a hand of friendship and support. Thank you for your challenges 2017, they have made us all stronger in some way, and welcome 2018.

Lindsey

What to Read

If you're preparing to travel for the holidays, or are up all night snuggling a baby who will only sleep if held, you may be in need of some book recommendations.

Right now I'm about half way through Matthew Zapruder's Why PoetryThe book reads like a thoughtful collection of essays (with some personal narrative connective tissue) that address why and how we all should read poetry. For those of us who write as well there is quite a bit to digest in terms of how we approach our own poems as well. I haven't finished yet, so I can't say a ton about the book, but if you want something with more substance for a long plane ride this would be a pretty decent choice. Or grab his latest book of poetry Come On All You Ghosts for those shorter flights back to see Grandma.

In a similar vein I also readYou, Too, Could Write A Poem by David Orr. This is a traditional collection of essays, which makes it a perfect choice for times when you have to stop reading to act like a functional person. I'm becoming a real convert to essays and short stories, since I feel like can accomplish a full reading experience while also being able to stop and change a diaper and take my kiddo to preschool without losing my place.

Need a pocket size collection of poems for an over stuffed bag or pocket? Pick up Don't Call us Dead or Good BonesGood Bones

Carrying books not an option? Try Audible. Audiobooks are great, but you probably already know that.

Tired of poems at the moment and just want to get lost in some fiction. I recently finished the YA series The Lunar Chronicles. I've snagged a copy of Tod Goldberg'sGangster Nation (sequel to Gangsterland)for my murder and mob boss fix.

If none of those fit you're reading needs then maybe you can sit down and read some poetry submissions like I need to do!

Book Review: Limousine, Midnight Blue: Fifty Frames from the Zapruder Film

Limousine, Midnight Blue: Fifty Frames from the Zapruder Film by Jamey Hecht

Pages: 66

Publisher: Red Hen Press

Released: 2009

I am late to the game with this one- I found it buried in a pile of books I was organizing after my most recent move- and that is all the worse for me. This collection of sonnets is so so so worth your time. Each sonnet is inspired by, and titled after, a different frame of the Zapruder Film. Following the few seconds before, during and after President Kennedy’s assignation there is a lot of ground getting covered here. Yeah, I went there.

In all seriousness, each sonnet is carefully formed without being distractingly rigid, as is often the case with formal poetry. Within each poem there is a mix of the concrete details and this thoughtful, kind of trippy, existential look at death, American society, and personal relationships that is stunning. I could pick nearly any line from any of the poems to demonstrate this point, but my particular favorite stanza is “This is my song of promises and lies, making me deaf/to warnings and alarms. Shot one opened up my throat/so when the sudden angel came commanding me to sing/I could reply like Caedmon: I can’t sing.”

I dog eared most of this book, partially because of it’s excellent crafting, and partially because of the unique take on history. The emotional connection made between Jackie and JFK, between JFK and the time period, between the poet and the reader, between humanity and it’s struggles with death… it doesn’t often get better than this. I am a fool for letting this get lost in my hot mess of a home library, don’t make the same mistake I did.

Dog Eared Pages:

17, 22, 25, 31, 37, 38, 39, 41, 43, 47, 48, 49, 50, 52, 53, 56, 57, 60, 63, 65

Originally Published on The Next Best Book Club

Book Review: Only for a Moment

Only for a Moment by Tabitha Vohn

Pages: 79

Self published

Released:October 2016

 In this first collection of poetry from writer Tabitha Vohn there is a wide range of both skill and emotion. Known more of her prose, Vohn has ventured into poetry, which she says she’s been turning to since she was 15 years old. Unlike many collections of poetry this particular book includes a forward to put the rest of the writing into context. I personally have mixed feelings about the inclusion of the forward, which details the writer’s intention and her emotional connection to the work. I some books a forward is necessary, especially ones that work with historical events or obscure details, but on personal collections I tend to think they pull the readers out of the book. A forward for a collection such as this subconsciously tells the reader how to feel instead of allowing the reader to simply feel; it puts a barrier up between the writer and the reader, preventing the reader from seeing themselves in the poems.

But that is a lot of talk about a forward and not the actual poetry. Onward. The poems within the collection read in a very linear fashion, as evidence by both the evolution of skill and emotion. As informed by the forward the first section, titled “Every Word From Your Mouth is a Heart Song,” feels like juvenilia. Thematically the poet tackles the aftermath of a death that is close to her heart when she was a teenager. The poems themselves feel very much like they were written by a teenager. This may serve as a boon for the collection, helping to demonstrate sincerity, but it can also be a bit distracting. If you read with an open mind the raw youth of the poems is heartfelt, or you may find them distracting.

The later poems show more poise-it is clear that the writer’s skill grew other time. There is also a more nuanced use of imagery, especially in the section “Forest Tales.”

Overall I could go either way on this book. It’s decent enough and I enjoyed it, but not sure if I would dive in for a re-read.

Dog Eared Pages:

14, 18, 24, 27, 29, 35, 36, 38, 46, 48, 55, 57, 73

Originally Published On The Next Best Book Club

Book Review: i be, but i ain’t

i be, but i ain’t by Aziza Barnes

Pages: 80

Publisher: YesYes Books

Released: 2016

Dog Eared Review 

In a sidestep from my usual reviews, this time around I am featuring a full length collection of poetry instead of a chapbook. Now, you may think that reviewing either length would be the same, but that would be a sad misunderstanding of each form. In a chapbook most poets explore a single theme, or style, or image, using their roughly 25 pages to put a spotlight on one thing. A full book, much like a novel compared to a short story, can dip its toes in many forms, emotions, and images. For me personally I find chapbooks to be a more intellectual experience while a full length collection to be an emotional one. But that, again, is just me.

Aziza Barnes has demonstrated many forms, ranging from blocky prose poems like “the mutt debates what it might come down to:” to the slim and streamlined left justified pieces, such as “descendants.” I’d go out on a limb and say the the signature style is the breathless free verse that is peppered throughout to great effect. On this train of thought the poem “a good deed is done for no good reason” is a wonderful example of the form and the key substance of the collection as a whole. There are many shades of the political within, be it the government pushing in, or society horning in, but in the end the reader needs to remember that “industry of human hands/you are just/ yourself & no one has made you.”

The personal and sexual sides of politics, how the world as a whole and the individuals specifically, are incessantly pressing their ideals and expectations onto us, trying to shape us, is so key to this collection. Another key theme, one that shapes almost all discussion, is race. No poem better encapsulates racial politics better than “brown noise;” the pieces travels over stereotypes and realities so deftly, and with such a restrained hand, making it all the more effective and devastating. There are also visual moments that support the content, with the poem “down like a shot” coming to mind. The physical structure of the poem matches the content, with the lines quickly diminishing like a shot. The lines also mimic that wordless slip into passion and the abrupt stop out of it with the second to the longest line “don’t start something you can’t finish is maybe the worst advice” coming after the shortest. It is all these careful content and style choices, this blurring between the art and the reality, that allows many of the poems to transcend the words on the page.

Dog Eared Pages:

14, 15, 18, 19, 25, 27, 29, 30, 33, 34, 36, 39, 40, 43, 44, 49, 50, 61, 62, 64, 65, 70

Check out more reviews and other awesome stuff at The Next Best Book Club

Book Review: The Delphi Series Volume II: Featuring Joy Ladin, Jennifer Litt, and Tasha Cotter

The Delphi Series Volume II: Featuring Joy Ladin, Jennifer Litt, and Tasha Cotter

Pages: 82

Publisher: Blue Lyra Press

Released: 2016

This second entry in The Delphi Series is a great way for readers to get a wide ranging taste of poetry styles all in one book! Featuring chapbooks Answers to the Name of ‘Lucky’ by Joy Ladin, Maximum through Zero by Jennifer Litt, and Torch by Tasha Cotter, this collection has a little bit of everything. If you want sad, more contemplative verse, to a bit of whimsy, to careful use of sound and form, it is all right here in one place.

Answers to the Name of ‘Lucky’ by Joy Ladin consists of sixteen poems, which struggle with both the idea and the physical manifestation of family. There is a lot of interesting back and forth with what family is as a child, as parent, and simply as an adult. Maximum through Zero by Jennifer Litt presents 22 poems, which have more of a prose style than the others. These poems are also more tongue in cheek, but no less powerful desire the witty titles and off kilter references. The final chapbook, Torch by Tasha Cotter, takes on bigger pictures thoughts on life and place and what gives something (a memory, a person, a life) meaning. Out of the nineteen poems within, my personal favorite from this chapbook has to be “I am the Wick and You are the Match.” Each chapbook has it’s own standouts of course, like “Julia Child Skis in Big Sky, Montana” and “Early Morning Flight,” along with the ones I’ve listed as Dog Eared Pages below.

It’s quite hard to sum up a book like this, since each voice presented is unique. That is also what makes this a great book as a whole. Blu Lyra Press has put out a book that is like your favorite poetry journal, only better. Instead of getting just one for two poems from a poet and being left with wanting more, you get to see a poet’s whole vision. Times three. That is some pretty great bang for your buck. If you’re just dipping your toe into contemporary poetry and want something that has weight, but is also approachable, you wouldn’t go wrong picking up this book.

Dog Eared Pages:

9,11, 13, 14, 17, 18, 21, 24, 36, 37, 40, 41, 44, 48, 50, 51, 54, 61, 63, 64, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 79

 This review, and tons of other rad book stuff, can be found at The Next Best Book Club

Book Review: Daughter Eraser

Daughter Eraser by Amber West

Pages: 29

Publisher: Finishing Line Press

Released: 2015

I want to start first by saying that this is a beautiful book. The actual physical artifice of the thing is just lovely, all the way down to the paper used for the front material. I know that is strange way to start a review, but I was really taken with how attractive this book is. In the world if digital media and online publishing it is great to see a carefully made book.

Now the reason we are all here- the actually words inside the book! Amber West, a self described feminist writer, has brought all things female front and center in this collection of poems. From discussing the struggle of parenthood, conflicts with family, and the infinite ways that men can be letdowns, her poems are thoughtful and unflinching. Many of these themes can be seen in the poem “Zebediah Loyd Skiles West,” in particular when the speaker says “Mom trying to push you past the failed IUD/Our father bicycling from the bar/to an ex-friend’s house.” It is encouraging to see a real woman’s situation, and a frank mention of birth control, without it pandering or cloaked in word play. These types of issues are real and relatable and told in a way that readers just plain get.

The stand outs of the collection are “Tiffany” and the final poem, “Banana Slugs.” Both use a strong voice to mourn- mourn a lost friendship, being pushed aside, even survivor’s guilt. The situations in each are different, but they are also heartbreakingly universal with emotion that is raw and personal. You don’t have to a woman to love these poems- they are just plain good- but coming at them from a woman’s perspective adds just that much more depth. This, and a glass of pinot, makes for a worthy read.

Dog Eared Pages:

2, 8, 9, 11, 14, 17, 22

This review, and other awesome stuff, can be found at The Next Best Book Club

Magnificent Middle Grade Poetry

Rhyme lovers of every age, rejoice, for April is National Poetry Month! We all know that little readers love silly sing song poems, and adults can get lost in the emotions of a good poetry collection, but what about middle graders? Wonderfully, middle grade readers get the best of both poetry worlds, with plenty of funny collections, serious books, and ageless crossovers that can enjoyed all month (and beyond!).

OldPossum’s Book of Practical Cats, Illustrated Edition,by T. S. Eliot, with drawings by Edward Gorey

 T.S. Eliot’s tale of stray cats and their nighttime wanderings has been retold for years, most notably as the Broadway show Cats. Made up of 14 poems, that are both very real and completely unbelievable, readers can enjoy the cat phenomenon the way it was before memestook over the internet. Books like this one are a great bridge between the funny sounds of younger books and the more serious fare of adult lit, but still 100% awesome poetry.

Poems I Wrote When No One Was Looking, by Alan Katz, with drawings by Edward Koren

 A silly take on the mischievous, these poems are just plain fun. Katz is also the author of the charming The Day the Mustache Took Overamong many other books, so he definitely gets middle grade humor. Whether read out loud together, or alone while tucked away in a cozy spot, these bits of verse show that there is a lot more to poetry than serious thoughts and beautiful landscapes. Make sure you have some tissues on hand though — you will be laughing until you cry.

BecauseI Could Not Stop My Bike … and Other Poems, by Karen Jo Shapiro, illustrated by Matt Faulkner

 This super smart collection is a modern twist on classic poems. From William Shakespeare to Emily Dickinson, kids won’t even realize they are reading funny takes on the works of some of the world’s most famous poets. Faulkner’s zany illustrations take this book to a whole other enjoyable level. It won’t be until later, when your kids recognize the rhyme and meter of the poems in their textbooks, that they will catch on that you had them reading classic poetry in junior high. This book is so clever that you will probably find yourself reading it, and falling in love with poetry all over again.

Neighborhood Odes, by Gary Soto, illustrated by David Diaz

 Gary Soto and David Diaz take the small moments of childhood, the beautiful little event that stick, and present them in a way that readers of all ages can love. Parties and pets, family celebrations and long summer afternoons all get the thoughtful treatment that Soto is known for, and the simple black and white illustrations are frame-worthy. This book is a terrific addition to any middle grade reader’s collection, as it will probably turn out to be one of their favorite books — both now and later.

Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings, by Shel Silverstein

 An ageless classic that can be read in elementary school, laughed over in middle school, and reminisced about as an adult, Where the Sidewalk Endsis a childhood-defining collection of poetry. The rhymes are silly, the illustrations create a fully fleshed out world, and the quiet meanings can bring adults to tears. Shel Silverstein is a master like no other and the beauty of his writing makes him a must read, and not just in April, but all year long. After your kids have devoured this book, grab A Light in the AtticFalling Upand Everything On Itfor years — really, years — of amazing poetry experiences.

Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry, by Billy Collins

 For a slightly different twist to your National Poetry Month reading, tackle Billy Collins’s collection, Poetry 180. Collins, Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001–2003, put together this collection, and its sequel 180 More, to introduce school-aged students to modern poets. His idea is that students should have a love of poetry first; poetry that is written in modern language kids can understand, before jumping into the classics. Given this idea, this book contains 180 poems, one for each day of the school year, from some of the biggest names in contemporary poetry. Before you know it your kids will have a new favorite poet, be it Lucille CliftonKenneth KochPhilip Levine, or Naomi Shihab Nye.

What poetry does your middle grader love to read?

Originally published at www.barnesandnoble.comon April 7, 2016.

Book Review: Ophelia: A Botanist’s Guide

Ophelia: A Botanist’s Guide by Emily Alta Hockaday

Illustrated by Sam Hockaday

Pages: 24

Publisher: Zoo Cake Press

Released: 2015

At turns an academic and emotional collection, Emily Hockaday’s chapbook Ophelia: A Botanist’s Guide is fascinating. The collection is told from the point of view of Ophelia, from Hamlet, as she is taken for granted and abused by nearly every one, and it highlights the many plants mentioned throughout the play. There is a lot of depth within, adding the scientific names for the mentioned plants, along with their historical uses, in addition to a clear and nuanced knowledge of Hamlet (the play and the character).

Nicely, the collection can stand on its own well enough without relying too much on the play, which had been my initial fear when I approached the work. None of the characters are named in the poems, save on the cover and the dedication lines, so the narrative could apply to many women who feel unappreciated and disabused in their lives. When taken as such, another powerful level is added — that is how you know a collection has staying power, when it can be read and appreciated in many levels. Obviously connecting the poems with the play, as the poet intended, is the way it probably should first be read, but there is something timeless in the way that the same emotions can translate into many other situations.

To accompany each poem there is an artistic depiction of each plant along with it’s scientific name. The art is a nice touch that isn’t seen often enough in poetry. If you keep in mind that this is a botanist guide, done by Ophelia, the inclusion of the art work helps to make the world created by the poems more real. It is as if Ophelia herself is detailing her thoughts, feelings, and histories about the plants while intellectually analyzing them and the roles they have played in her life. The combination of the two will leave readers a little smarter, and a little more emotional, than when they started.

You don’t have to be a botanist, or a Shakespearean scholar, to see the craft and beauty in these poems. I personally would love to see more lovely poems along this line, maybe pulling similar inspiration from other plays, since 12 poems and illustrations over 24 pages just couldn’t satisfy me enough. Hockaday’s chapbook does add so much depth to the short life of Ophelia and helps widen both readers perception of the play, along with the use of plants in literature.

Dog Eared Pages:

2, 4, 6, 14, 20, 24

Originally published at thenextbestbookblog.blogspot.comon February 11, 2016.

Book Review: Bad Baby

Bad Baby by Abigail Welhouse

Pages: 28

Publisher: Dancing Girl Press & Studio

Released: 2015

If a book could be a best friend, I’d want this one to be mine. This succinct chapbook is able to create a fully realized personality, one which is wholly enjoyable. With each page readers are introduced to a multidimensional speaker, who is both relatable and as unfathomable as all human beings are.

The title poem shows up first in the collection and establishes the strong, self-reliant, feminist theme. Stating “That’s not a rattle. It’s my scepter./You will obey me or else/I will make a noise/you will never forget,” the final stanza should really be a rally cry for anyone (and everyone) who is looking to make themselves known. Later in the collection “Dawson Gets A Haircut” is a coming of age ode to all 90s babes, saying “I don’t want to relax./I just want to huff ocean./I skipped church in favor of baptism./This is the new holy water.”

Not all of the poems follow this personal journey, or this call to action. Several seem to mirror the way the mind works, with wandering paths that are both tired to the concrete and surreal. “Cows, Mad” and “Q&A” are two examples where, literary, there are times the reader may be lost, but emotionally every word makes sense. Often times this is how the human mind, and heart work; a flowing mix of memories and imagined scenes that form who we are and who we feel.

Of all the poems I can actually see myself framing “Hell Is” and hanging it over my desk. I don’t want to spoil the poem, since I think quoting any of it would pull the beauty out of context. Let’s just say that hell in Welhouse’s world is a scary, caffeine free place. I also would not be supposed to see the closing poem, “Stable,” show up in an ode to Plath collection, given the lovely similarity to the poem “Ariel.”

Basically, hunt down this collection, grab a cup of coffee, and meet your new best friend.

Dog Eared Pages:

1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 22, 24, 27

Originally published at thenextbestbookblog.blogspot.com on January 27, 2016.

Guest Post: Using Insomnia to Advantage      

by Carol Smallwood

There‘s a good side to insomnia for poets. When writing poetry like triolets and pantoums, words often comes more easily than when fully rested, rhyming is less tedious, especially when phrases, words, are already down and there’s been time to brood. When we’re tired, our critic or self-censor is present to a lesser degree allowing a flow, a stream 

that’s often better than when every word, every phrasing, each punctuation mark is debated, revised, tossed out until often there’s little left of value or we just give up. Having the memory of instructors, critics, readers peering over our shoulders (besides our own censor) waiting for mistakes can constrict any writing. 

      

Write down any nibble that comes in dreams and at odd moments that can be used—a freebie so to speak from the muse that often seems to be helping someone else. Having a word, a phrase, or topic already on hand makes starting less intimidating and brings to mind Hemingway’s iceberg theory: “If a writer of prose knows enough of what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.” 

     

The subconscious is always with us and controls more than we can guess or care to know. To me it is a pilot light that is always working—at once scary and also a friend. But no one else has ours and it can’t be taken away or dismissed. Perhaps science will figure the subconscious out in but I think it will always keep a bit of mystery, and what control it has in the 3-4 pounds of brain that’s working all the time is a good question. It impresses me to think Freud and Einstein were contemporaries—they did write letters to one another and what amazing reading they’d be if corresponding on sleep, the brain and time.

Book Review: Resurrection Party

Resurrection Party by Michalle Gould

Pages: 70

Publisher: Silver Birch Press

Released: 2014

For an example on how to handle death and levity, stark and revelation, check out Resurrection Party by Michalle Gould. From the title on, which in and of itself is a unique contradiction, Gould juggles the unrelenting reality of death with relief, fear, even celebration. There is a great deal of religious illusion (and out and out discussion) but the real strength of the collection comes from the concrete and unexpected details.

To read the rest of my review, pop over to The Next Best Book Club!

Book Review: Humanly

Humanly by Stevie Edwards

Pages: 113

Publisher: Small Doggies Press

Released: 2015

While I’m not a fan of the phrase trigger warning, I feel like I need to start with that when discussing Stevie Edwards new book Humanly, out from Small Doggies Press. Trigger for what you may ask? Basically everything, at least everything that can be held “deep behind the heavy velvet drapes of Klonopin,/Lamictal, Lexapro, Abilify, Propranolol—“ (83). This is an emotionally challenging collection of poems that face down suicide, rape, abuse, neglect, death, hospitalizations and more. Few punches are dodged and no details are spared. The speaker reads like the friend you have always wanted to ask the hard questions of, but never had the courage to do so; Edwards brings readers to the face of what so many try to hide from.

Read the rest of the review at The Next Best Book Club

Book Review: Movement No. 1: Trainsby

We've got a new review of the fantastic chapbook Movement No. 1: Trainsby Hope Wabuke, from dancing girl press. Read the full review over at The Next Best Book Club.

Movement No. 1: Trains is a single prose poem broken up into a chapbook. Some poems function better when left in their long form (they gain momentum and power as one piece) but Hope Wabuke’s poem gains strength from the pauses in between.

The speaker spends the course of the book reflecting on moments in her life, and relationships, while riding the subway. The lines are clear and very sensual, without being overly sexual; “it is only when she thinks of him that her body becomes soft; she is so conscious them.” There are so many moments where it is clear the speaker realizes this blur between memory and present, between the sensual and the mundane. The level of alertness and self analysis was very engaging.

Also, make sure you continue to support indie publishers and authors. Check out this book, and others, in the dancing girl store.

An Excerpt from My Review of A Week with Beijing

A Week with Beijing by Meg Eden

Pages: 32

Publisher: Neon Books

Released: 2015

A Week with Beijing, the fourth collection from Meg Eden, chronicles the trip of two women, one a foreigner and the other a personification of Beijing, China. Together the women experience day-to-day life in one of the largest, most populated cities, in the world.

The collection walks a line between the personal, unique, experience everyone has while traveling and universal issues of culture, assimilation and individuality. No poem better exemplifies this duality than “Beijing Burns CDs.” The speaker of the poem observes (which is much of her function throughout the collection) a woman- “Beijing”- selling burned CDs, and she says “Maybe I expect her to grab me/the way the market women took me/like a wishbone, fighting for the larger/piece. Maybe I expect a price.” Beijing heartbreakingly responds “If I have/a daughter, I will have to kill her.”

You can read my full review here, at The Next Best Book Club. You can also help support indie authors and publishers by buying a copy of the book. I know there are plenty of people out there who will appreciate you for it.

Book Review: Audiobooks

As many of you know I contribute over at The Next Best Bool Club, and together we are celebrating Audio Book Month. Here are my selections, but feel free to jump over to there site to find some additional- amazing- choices to help flesh out your audio collections.

Harry Potter 

Jim Dale could read me a phonebook and I would listen raptly for hours. Of course the books are fantastic, but there is a special life and joy and sense of wonder that Jim Dale brings to the whole series.

Outliers

My husband and I listened to Outliers while we drove across country a few years ago. The facts were interesting and kept our conversation going for the long green hours across the Midwest. There was something very immediate and connective with Malcolm Gladwell reading the book himself too, as if he was so truly involved in his writing that he couldn’t wait to share it with you.

Billy Collins Live

This is a bit of a cheat, since it’s not an audiobook in the truest sense. Billy Collins does have an audio collection of poetry, The Best Cigarette-and it is fantastic- but I adore, and replay, his performance at the Peter Norton Symphony a few times a year. His delivery, his comments on the poems, and the general selection of poems he shares make this a must for poetry lovers.

The Hunger Games Trilogy

When I was pregnant and suffering from terrible insomnia I listened to the Hunger Games books on a loop day after day. I liked the plot of the novels when I read them, but I’ve never been a big fan of first person narration. That changed drastically when I listen to the audiobook versions Suzanne Collins’ novels. Hearing the first person thoughts and actions in someone else’s voice, other than the one in my head, made the story and the characters even more lively- more fleshed out some how. Not the best audio performance in the world, but these books will likely stay in my listening cycle for a while.

For more reviews, again, visit The Next Best Bool Club. I promise you will find something to love.