PANK loves books!
Next month, we will begin reviewing them. If you’d like to join the team, please send us a greeting and brief writing/criticism sample at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll start coordinating. If you’re a small press with big perspective, we’d like to hear from you too.
ATTN: Book Reviews
Original poems and found images
–by Mia Sara
Style Is Character
so I’m buttoning up
a Brooklyn backwater
still pulpy and raw
like the gamy stare
of the subway groper
you thought you hated. Continue reading
Les Femmes Folles Press
38 pages, $14
Review by Jen Lambert
One of the things I admire most about poetry is that sometimes what’s not on the page is what’s most important. This vacancy is like an invitation in to the intimate space of self-interpretation, and it speaks volumes about the poet’s trust in her readers.
Intimates and Fools, a collaborative art and poetry book by Laura Madeline Wiseman and Sally Deskins, dedicated to the sometimes complicated female relationship with the bra, is the antithesis of vacant. Deskins’s own art, colorful sketches and body prints, unapologetically splash across the page in bright strokes while Wiseman’s handwritten prose snakes up and around, balancing and accompanying the art. The white space and sparse font that usually turns me on is clearly abused in this collection, but nonetheless, I found myself intrigued. This book required a different kind of poetic experience than which I’ve grown accustomed. It made me want to linger, to touch the page, run my hands across the color and script. It was more of an experience than just interpretation. The poems themselves were artistic, relying on a loopy longhand font, which at first I found distracting, but ultimately I grew to admire its comforting lines, personal and familiar. This collection has been called playful, fun, a “table top” book of color and tongue in cheek commentary on feminism, and while the premise is lively and energetic, even a bit feisty, I think it would be a shame not to recognize its deeply contemplative side as well. While the pages of this collection are full – Deskins’s brushstrokes and Wiseman’s stanzas crowd up against each other on every page – it’s what’s just under the busy surface that’s most appealing: the wildly complex social constructs of female body, and the symbol of the bra as the ultimate carrier of all things female: shame, sexuality, strength. Continue reading
77 pages, $18.00
Review by Anne Champion
Kristina Marie Darling, already an accomplished poet in her own right (she’s published sixteen poetry collections), has begun paving a new trail with her foray into collaborative writing. Her previous collaborations work alongside poet Carol Guess, but her newest work, Music for another life, collaborates with the accomplished visual artist and scholar, Max Avi Kaplan, and the finished product is a brilliant and moving piece of art. The cover, featuring a Marilyn Monroe look-a-like donned in Jacqueline Kennedy inspired attire, chillingly depicts a woman laying in grass in a corpse pose, and this image foreshadows what’s to come: stunning, delicate beauty that adheres to societal standards juxtaposed with hauntingly devastating realities.
The narrative, composed solely of short prose poems, follows a speaker named Adelle as she traverses her lavish landscape in heels, swanky sunglasses, and pencil skirts. Each page features a different picture of Adelle—either standing outside of her domestic sphere or lounging in nature. The work of light and shadow in these photographs speaks volumes to the Adelle’s search for self and inability to find it, either from being blinded, outshined, or blurred into unrecognizablity. Some of the poses only vary slightly, so you can flip through the pictures quickly and watch Adelle move as if she were an animation. Regardless of the various ways you can look at and interpret the images, the most important thing they do is immerse the reader in a very real and detailed world: paired with the poetry, it’s hard not to empathize with the character while also feeling as trapped and suffocated as she does, despite the fact that she clearly frolics in an upper class status. Maybe even because of it. Continue reading