April is National Poetry Month! if you are not writing poetry, you should be reading poetry (Ideally, I would love if everyone did more of both). In the last few months, I have read three great poetry collections that everyone should put on their reading lists.
Echoes of Tattered Tongues: Memory Unfolded by John Z. Guzlowski (Aquila Polonica Publishing, 2016)
Part poetry collection, part work of lyrical prose, Echoes of Tattered Tongues takes the reader into the life of John Guzlowski. whose parents barely survived Nazi Germany. Patching together fragments of memories, Guzlowski traces his parents' lives through the concentration camps, through refugee camps, and through immigration to the United States where his family struggled to build a new life while trying to forget the past. Still, as we all know, the past is never easily forgotten, and any reader who picks up this book, will not forget Guzlowski's work.
In Which I Play the Runaway by Rochelle Hurt (Barrow Street Press, 2016)
In her newest collection, Rochelle Hurt explores the idea of place in America through surreal stories that reek of rust and grittiness. Where else will a reader be able to hear the story of someone born "a fleck of mill trash" as described in the poem, "Self-Portrait in Hurt, Virginia" or the tale of the constant limbo of residents in the poem, "Self-portrait in Between, Georgia"? Between these portraits is a retelling of the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy ponders her fate and wonders the true meanings of family and home. A fascinating read!
When We Were Birds by Joe Wilkins (University of Arkansas Press, 2016)
Through a jagged road map of place, Joe Wilkins traces the rugged landscape of America, intertwining memory with observations of the outside world. In this journey, Wilkins not only recalls his own life by detailing letters and odes to his son, he also speaks for the injustices of those whose own voices are often lost in their struggles. I have been a fan of Wilkins' work for many years now, and this newest collection did not disappoint me.
The week started out with a snowstorm (here in Western New York/Pennsylvania, we didn't get hit nearly as hard as the East Coast) and a closed college. Now, however, I am officially on Spring Break. I joked on my Facebook page that I would start out my Spring Break shoveling snow. Yes, that is what I am going to be doing.
On a brighter note, my essay "The Great Egret" has recently been published in Zoomorphic. (The picture above was published in Zoomorphic along with my essay, so I have to give credit to the editors, James Roberts, Susan Richardson, and Stephen Rutt, for the great job they do with this journal!) The essay can be read here.
I am a poet and professor from rural Pennsylvania. This page is dedicated to my publishing news and events; for book reviews published online go to the Reviews tab above. For my own personal reviews, explore the Book Picks tab.