Melismas Review: Directly addressing the inadequacy of language

The cover of Melismas

By Hayden Bergman

Early in Marlon Hacla’s second chapbook, Melismas, this reader gets the sense that Hacla must speak, though for him, the stakes seem to be much higher than they are for most, and, perhaps, more violent. But maybe that’s too strong a word. The poet speaks of arrival in an inhospitable place, a place that’s both familiar and foreboding:

After I was returned to the primeval nature
of the ordinary, I felt as if an eruption
of words went off in my chest. I suspected
movement of the divide that stifles the articulation
of whatever it is I let roll across my tongue,
that night has fastidiously gathered from nearby places

Continue reading “Melismas Review: Directly addressing the inadequacy of language”

Book Review: Someone You Love is Still Alive

Book Cover provided by Jacar Press

A geography of sex and violence permeates throughout Ephraim Sommers’s
Someone You Love is Still Alive. This energetic text presents readers with
contemporary insight into poetic archives that contort racial violence and love, shifting kisses amid murder reports that bend quietly under police badges. Sommers’s pragmatic aesthetic aligns with the vigor of Ai’s fairy-horror narratives in Dread and stands firmly with the dynasty-naming skills displayed in Harryette Mullen’s Sleeping with the Dictionary. Throughout 69 dynamic poems, his use of documentary and investigative poetics incorporates intimate scenarios that engage current topics ripped from contemporary news headlines. Continue reading “Book Review: Someone You Love is Still Alive”

Strange Landscapes of Loss and Longing in Michael Credico’s Heartland Calamitous

Heartland Calamitous by Michael Credico

By Couri Johnson

In Michael Credico’s debut collection of short stories, Heartland Calamitous, he takes us from fever-dream to fever dream in a strange and fragmented Midwest. Corpses bloat in backyard pools for days, dissolving alongside a marriage; a bear is taken into a family to replace the son he devoured, only to be devoured by longing; babies are born by being found under the sink; and lovers are turned to goldfish and are flushed away. But behind all the fantastic conceits in this collection remain very real, very poignant questions that will cut readers to the bone. Questions about what it means to be a man, questions about what it means to have a home, what we owe our families, and why these things often hurt more than they should. These are the fables of the modern-day—the stories that place us in myths and dreams that distort the world around us so that we might see it all the more clearly.  Continue reading “Strange Landscapes of Loss and Longing in Michael Credico’s Heartland Calamitous”