Emily Rose Cole, Love & a Loaded Gun (Minerva Rising Press, 2017)

Courtney Bambrick

Emily Rose Cole won the 2014 Sandy Crimmins National Prize in Poetry for the poem “Self-Portrait as Rapunzel,” selected by judge Jeffrey Ethan Lee. Her poem considers the relationship between Rapunzel and her mother and how a person accepts or rejects various aspects of abuse or isolation because of the attention or even affection that […]

Dawn Manning Packs a Subtle Punch in Postcards from the Dead Letter Office

Nicole Marie Mancuso

Philadelphia poet Dawn Manning brings a historic influence to her writing in Postcards from the Dead Letter Office, using a form of Japanese lyric poetry called the Tanka to create quick, hard-hitting poems that float on the tongue and leave lasting images on small pieces of page. In an engrossing debut, Manning weaves snippets of […]

Oil and Candle by Gabriel Ojeda-Sague (2016, Timeless, Infinite Light)

Basia Wilson

Gabriel Ojeda-Sague’s Jazzercise Is a Language is forthcoming from The Operating System in 2018. In his debut collection Oil and Candle, Gabriel Ojeda-Sague writes, “if you must have the blood, you must also take my plantain chips and my unfortunate life.” The vulnerability and rawness the audience demands of the speaker must also be accompanied […]

The Hitchhiking Robot Learns About Philadelphians by Vernita Hall (2017, Moonstone Press)

Basia Wilson

Vernita Hall serves on the poetry board of Philadelphia Stories. Vernita Hall sends the reader on a tour without a tour guide in her chapbook, The Hitchhiking Robot Learns About Philadelphians, winner of the 2016 Moonstone Chapbook Contest. The hitchhiking robot is tossed into Philly neighborhoods, parks, historic venues and cavernous churches with even bigger […]

Flesh Enough, poems by Darla Himeles (Get Fresh Books, LLC, Union, New Jersey, 2017)

Amy Small-McKinney:

Let me begin by stating outright that I believe it is not easy to write poems about the environment and endangered species, such as the elephant, the white rhino, and the blue whale, without veering into the country called “preaching.” I have tried some myself, and I have not succeeded. In her debut chapbook of […]

Walking Toward Cranes, Amy Small-McKinney (Glass Lyre Press, 2017)

Donna Wolf-Palacio

  Many startling images weave through Amy Small-McKinney’s new book of poetry, Walking Toward Cranes.   One of my favorites is  “there is a turtle in my mouth…he will not be banished.” Small-McKinney is creating a moving landscape that mirrors her struggle and journey with breast cancer and what comes after.  Her images are stark but […]

Loplop in a Red City, Kenneth Pobo (Circling Rivers, 2016)

Courtney Bambrick

Seen as pleasant and enriching in easy times, in times of crisis the arts take on greater significance. In his collection Loplop in a Red City, poet Kenneth Pobo uses ekphrastic poetry, poetry inspired by works of visual art, to consider scenes from domestic life as well as scenes from an apocalypse. Intersecting in subtle, […]

Splendor

Courtney Bambrick

By Emily Bludworth de Barrios (H_NGM_N BKS, 2015)* Emily Bludworth de Barrios’ poem “All Souls’” was selected as an editor’s choice in the 2013 Sandy Crimmins National Prize for Poetry In her 2015 full-length poetry collection Splendor, Emily Bludworth de Barrios grapples with morality and virtue as qualities at odds with a contemporary, consumerist lifestyle. She […]