On the subject of serial killers, poet Ruth Danon writes that they “leave notes, write in code.” They “grow increasingly impatient.”
“They hate the dark,” she muses. “They want to be found.”
So do poets. And Danon’s latest collection, Word Has It (Nirala Publications, 2018) reads like a series of notes dispatched from the brink of an apocalypse. Birds fall from the sky. Red-eyed people weep. There is blood. Dark, ominous omens of all shapes and sizes rain down.
In a time of deepfakes and alternative facts, we often ask ourselves what is real anymore, how can we trust our own eyes? Chris Campanioni chimes in on our collective existential crisis with his latest book of hybrid works, the Internet is for real in which he proposes, as the title indicates, perhaps the most sure thing in our world is that which is simultaneously everywhere and nowhere. As if cutting and pasting a Pinterest of poetry, memoir, and essays, Campanioni invites us to join him through a pastiche of pop, pulp, and philosophy as he analyzes the internet and its impact on intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships, as well as identity within individual and cultural contexts.
*Notable Essay Best American Essays and Literary Nonfiction of 2018 The dolls never slept. They stayed wide eyed and unblinking on their shelf in my small, overheated room, watching me watch the man and woman in the apartment across the way. As a...
Amy Lemmon’s book of poems, The Miracles, is a meditation on life after loss, and its themes are motherhood, love, and aging. Lemmon writes, “The structure of the book was inspired by Leonard Bernstein’s Prelude, Fugue and Riffs (1949) for solo clarinet and jazz ensemble.”
I sat on the basement floor of the courthouse reading through old death records. Outside the afternoon sun blasted the streets and sidewalks of the small Kentucky town. But down there it was cool and humid. Whitewashed stone walls glistened and streaked with dirty moisture. An air conditioner rattled in the only window, blocking out the sun.
I got the results from the paternity test and an offer for a new job on the same day. The paternity test was positive; I was the father. The new job was cutting meat at Chives, a specialty grocery store in Boulder. On my lunch break I texted my twin sister Maria that I wanted to share two things with her on Skype. I told my coworker, Lance, the news after work at Hank’s, our regular bar.
Another surly October morning on Rathdangan Farm, the name of our rocky little homestead in the foothills of the Sugarloaf Range, and Mother Nature was in a nasty mood. Her swirling wind bossed the sycamore leaves around the farmyard, and wisps of her clammy fog still clung to the steep mountain peak in the distance. My mother—we called her Mammy— was a whirlwind of work, as usual: milking cows, feeding calves and pigs, washing clothes, holding it all together.
My wife and I are into season 3 of Victoria, the Masterpiece Theatre series that seems as long as the queen’s monarchial reign. It’s a slow-moving narrative in which a tea cup is picked up, put down. Then, for dramatic tension, the camera pans to a terrier that, on cue, lifts a hind leg to squirt on the carpet—a barbarous display in the palace household.
Winnie’s 350-square foot studio that she called home resembled a submarine, she liked to say to strangers, to offer them a quick image of what it was like to live in small spaces. A submarine was dark and hollow, challenged by gravity. Her apartment was on the top floor of a walk-up tenement building in downtown Manhattan, and got afternoon light. But at night she could squint and conjure the resemblance. Not that she’d ever set foot inside of a submarine.
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