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Blitzkrieg, John Gosslee’s latest poetry collection, recently released by Rain Mountain Press, defined by the poet himself as “a surprise artistic assault by massed electronic, air, sea and ground forces under close coordination” is structured in an unusual way.

After the epigram (“Father, deliver me / I am a pelican / that has swallowed a fish / being reeled in by the fisherman), I read the table of contents, then embarked on my one-sitting read. I found the poems at the beginning of the collection to be straightforward. They can be characterized by possessing concisely rendered images, clarity of insight, descriptions of space and place, musing on time and freedom, human volition and statements about the self’s relation to the universe. They were elusively quaint, yet also absolutely raw and rugged. I felt transported and felt ready for more. One of my favorite poems, entitled “I Stop Like an Axe Flung into a Tree,” has a hellfire immediacy, yet gripping imagery: “I stop like an axe flung into a tree / my hand on the deer’s neck rests / its antlers point at the constellations.” (more…)

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Eating the Heart First (Press 53) by Clare L. Martin is a haunting, lyrical collection that cannot be read in a rush, or in a single sitting. Martin cleverly divides the book into several sections, which are micro-poems in themselves: “Fables of Skin,” “A Fire of Words,” and “All That We Conjure.” Nature’s dark side is revealed: images of winter, death, and storms abound. Martin pulls us in and out of a dozen different worlds in this collection, but nature, and its ubiquitous presence even in the most ordinary, domestic moments, grounds many of the poems. (more…)

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