Four Way Books
$15.95, 84 pages
Review by Rachel Mennies
In Greek myth, the seven sisters we call Pleiades committed suicide after the death of their father, the titan Atlas (tasked with separating the heavens from the earth upon his back). While alive, each individual sister lived at the mercy of the impulses of various gods and men, sometimes even bearing their children; in their individual mythologies, their legacies are not kept separate from the ones men made with them or onto them, and they appear in our sky today as a unit of sisters—bound together as stars.
In Blood, Sparrows and Sparrows (Four Way Books), the poet Eugenia Leigh’s first collection, we meet Sisters; we meet Father, too, and Mother. Leigh builds these figures out to the scale of myth throughout her book, both as forces bound together by trauma and as personae often compromised by their fraught, epic-scaled loves. Steeped in questioning worship and a profound hunger for bodily life, the speakers of Leigh’s gorgeously imagistic, lyric book search for ways out of and back into the family unit, casting an unflinching stare on abuse, desire, and the destruction wreaked by both forces. Continue reading
Joy Katz, All You Do is Perceive
(With a bonus New Year’s Day Black-Eyed Pea recipe)
By Sherrie Flick
For the past three years I’ve celebrated New Year’s Eve in Key Largo with the writer Chuck Kinder, his wife Diane Cecily, and my husband Rick Schweikert. Chuck and Diane’s rental has a beautiful deck on which one can drink coffee, wine, and cocktails while watching dolphins frolic and manatees loll in the Gulf of Mexico. The view is like the idea of love manifested. The view reminds me of the wonderful last line of the title poem of Joy Katz’s new book: “I was given nothing but the air, and the air dazzled.”
I ring in the New Year with friends and a sunset, eat fish, sip cocktails, with a final clink of champagne glasses around the table. “Let’s toast to another year!” we say. “I’m still alive!” Chuck says. And we laugh and toast again.
New Years Day I make spicy black-eyed peas. I’m actually doing this right now as I write this post. They’re bubbling on the stove. Simmering away—offering up potential, celebrating hope.
While I wait on the peas, I’m also reading the poetry collection All You Do is Perceive by Joy Katz. I’m perched on a bar stool at the kitchen counter, palm trees sway outside the big picture window. Continue reading