Baby Babe by Ana Carrete and pls advise by Josh Spilker

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Pages: 183

Genre: Poetry

Format: E-book

Published by Civil Coping Mechanisms

Borrowed on Kindle

I’m back, sort of. Any blog posts that come later are on books I’ve read last month. I’ve been in a book funk, but I’m slowly coming back to reading. This is going to be brief, because I didn’t really like this much because it was just too, I don’t know, shallow for me? I liked it but didn’t like it at the same time? It was so-so.

Ana Carrete is a poet and an artist. You will find some collage art that contains themes from the poems written in this collection. And well, there’s not much to say, because literally this whole book is just a girl writing her quirky sexy thoughts and I guess that’s what makes it brilliant.

Like a lot of internet poetry, her poems are much in the spirit of Tao Lin, except with a feminist tinge to it, with confessionals of sexuality and desires, which are revolutionary in the fact that there is no holding back or self-censoring and of men that disrespect and tear down womanhood. And then some of the poems are literally those weird thoughts you’ve had while being bored during lecture. Overall though, Baby Babe is amusing but also deeply personal as she reveals all of the little streams of her never ending erotic consciousness.

Rating: 3/5

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Pages: 20

Genre: Twitter

Format: E-book

Self-published with the help of Gumroad

It’s a bk of tweets. Wth cute drawings, musings abt writing ad existing in tweets. It flows lk poetry but feels like ur diary of questions

And the random shiz you think abt while showering or tryin to sleep. He constantly asks for advice that no one will hear. And honestly that feels too real.

Internet lone. Alone.

(I tried to keep this in Tweet form, but it just couldn’t happen. So this feels so superficial lol.)

Rating: 4/5

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A Slow Archive by Josh Honn

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Pages: 38

Genres: Poetry, Micro poetry, chapbook

Format: Paperback

Self-published

This was received for an honest review.

A Slow Archive is a chapbook of micro poems. I had just read this after reading some Sonia Sanchez and I think Josh may have read some too.

With a backdrop of sterile minimalist prose and haiku, with sparse drawings that remind me of the brief blips of life and the music of an album called flumina by Christian Fennesz and Ryuichi Sakamoto, A Slow Archive is exactly what the title is, a self examination and meditation of life’s brevity. With the smallest words comes the largest loads of melancholy unveiled, losing someone or almost losing someone, is like losing a limb or having one get weakened and you never forget them or lose them entirely as they become the phantoms limbs that hang on to you.

With nature, which is one of the most common use of imagery in here, you see a repetitive cycle of life and death, wilting and sometimes recovering and becoming green. It’s a lot like our lives, we grow as a sprout and then we continue on growing with the right nutrients, but one misstep can bend our stems permanently and slowly, bit by bit, we degenerate. Our love and our care can be the cure, but it only soothes. And there’s nothing worse than realizing how temporary we are.

Rating: 4.5/5

Two Sonia Sanchez: Does Your House Have Lions? and Like the Singing Coming Off the Drums: Love Poems

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Pages: 70

Genre: Poetry, Haiku

Format: Paperback

Published by Beacon Press

Borrowed from the Library

Does Your House Have Lions? is a small collection of micro poetry and haiku. The collection is centered on the theme if family and loss. The little snippets are built as minimal as possible. Sonia Sanchez is known for writing in traditional Japanese poetry forms.  I don’t really have much to say about this collection other than the fact that it’s about the self-discovery and loss of an African American family. A father who isn’t always present, a son discovering that he’s gay and exploring that in the AIDS epidemic, and a sister and mother who are caught in between all of the heaviest conflicts of that time, the racism and the fluctuating changes of a generation. And then there’s death and the loss, at the end there’s this really poignant scene where the son connects with his ancestors after death. So there’s a sort magical realist influence going on here and I honestly wished it was a little longer.

Rating: 4/5

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Pages: 144

Genre: Poetry, Haiku

Format: Paperback

Published by Beacon Press

Borrowed from the Library

When I discovered Sonia Sanchez in the library I was really excited and this was the first one I wanted to read. But my break between classes is only an hour and a half long, so I decided to choose Does Your House Have Lions? because it’s shorter. But then after getting familiar with her style, I picked this one up. I enjoyed this one more than Does Your House Have Lions?, it’s less abstract and more lighthearted. It’s a self-healing type of a book, an ode to Black women and our culture. They are love songs, obviously. And because haiku and tanka are written with a certain amount of syllables, there is a very subtle rhythm and beat to it. And to be honest, I don’t really know how to read haiku or tanka, so maybe I should find a video of her readings. And I have to say, that I really like Sonia Sanchez, I can’t explain it, but I’m not a huge fan of a East Asian poetry forms, but she does it right. Every single person that writes haiku or tanka these days are pretentious White hipsters who write shallow love songs seasoned with cigarette smoke, coffee, and The Smiths. Of course, I’m not generalizing every one of them, this is just what I’ve seen so far in my life span. Sanchez isn’t like that, instead she has the soul. And it sure does come off strong with a powerful rhythm in this 144 page song.

P.S. I’m not bashing The Smiths, I actually kind of like them, despite Morrissey being a racist tea bag.

Rating: 5/5

Hatred of Women by Cassandra Troyan and Tocqueville by Khaled Mattawa

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Pages: 36

Genre: Poetry, Experimental

Format: E-book

Published by Solar Luxuriance

Some more Troyan and this one has a heavier feel to it than Throne of Blood, despite the length. This one seems to be a bit more autobiographical and contains, just like the previous collection, the nasty parts of what it means to be a woman, being seen as disposable, hollow, and but to also expected to take the role of caretaker as we are expected to carry the universe while simultaneously wiping men’s feet.

Troyan’s poetry is hopeless, self deprecating and there is a very slight smile of hope.

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Pages: 74

Genre: Poetry, Experimental, Power Points

Format: Paperback

Published by New Issues Poetry Press

Tocqueville was a pretty fun poetry collection because it was poetry but at the same time it wasn’t. This collection was avant-garde at it’s best. Meandering and sure of itself, satirical but stern with some low political whispers about being Brown and Muslim. Sometimes it was documentation, journal entries of rantlings about scenery, war, and people and oppression, but also the daily rhythms of life. And then sometimes it will take a turn and somehow become a noir film. It’s metafiction in poetry, a novella in the guise of verse. It felt like a dream of a James Bond movie on a staticky beat up TV, where Bond isn’t White with blue eyes and he’s super awkward and has a thing for computer science and fun facts.

Rating: 5/5

Two E-Chaps: Juliet (I) by Sarah Xerta and No Good by Alexis Pope

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Pages: 38

Genre: Poetry

Format: E-book

Published by H_NGM_N Books

  • A small e-chap about a girl named Juliet or maybe Juliet is a concept in its self. There’s a sort of sci-fi feel to it and from what I see in reviews of the sequel to this chapbook, the next one has a post-apocalyptic feeling. This felt like the virus going through the veins of a main character in a movie that will soon gain tremendous powers.
  • It’s punchy and feels like every tear of those times, as a female, you are constantly let down.
  • Let down by the males you follow, brothers or fathers or friends, or the times society allows you to get screwed over just because you reminded everyone that you actually have feelings as a female.
  • Juliet is the young girl inside of us all when we feel betrayed, the confessionalist with the scrapped knees and matted hair.
  • The worlds in us that end every day when we go to sleep.

Pages: 25

Genre: Poetry

Format: E-book

Published by H_NGM_N Books

  • A sort of ode to nature and deer or something.
  • Like most Alt-Lit it contains a lot of poetry about existing and hating the fact that you exist and something about living with your boyfriend or something.
  • But this also contains a lot of exploring of the self and what surrounds you.
  • Nature and senses, selfishness and the irritants from constantly being aware of what’s to come or what’s never to come.
  • General unsatisfactory and unspecific desires for unknowns.

(I honestly have no idea what to say about this chapbook, but I enjoyed it when I read it.)

Cassiopeia at Midnight and Spectre Specter Blue Ravine by N.L. Shompole

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Pages: 40

Genre: Poetry

Format: e-book

Published by Chupu Chupu

This is N.L. Shompole’s debut, I believe. And since it is the beginning, her little fledgling, it feels a lot like the thin bone structure of what she writes today. Cassiopeia at Midnight has a heavier focus on romance compared to Heaven Water Blood. It’s more on the sweet side and is about the small details of romantic love. Every little step in a relationship and every drop of it that evaporates as they lose touch.

Rating: 3.5/5

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Pages: 110

Genre: Poetry

Format: E-book

Advanced Reader’s Copy

This was received for an honest review

Spectre Specter Blue Ravine is her latest collection. It’s more on the personal side, more of a self-discovery or coming of age type of collection. Where themes such as diaspora, death, loss, and the question of home and what is home are the main structure of the collection.
This one is a lot more developed compared to her previous ones. The surrealism and the fantastical kind of evaporate in the background and now it’s more about the self, but it is still present, but used more as a device for self-discovery. There are some poems that feel sort of like prose or narrative poetry, where broken relationships and loved ones who have passed are curtains and houses burning as the ‘The End’ and coming back as phantoms for forgiveness or reminders. Icarus is also a constant visitor in this collection. Unfortunately, I’m not up to date with my mythology so I can’t comment on that.

It’s about pain when realizing home is too distant, when you’re a foreigner in your own home, but yet you feel more comfortable with it because you would rather not be somewhere where colonialism or imperialism affects your every foot step. Shompole is Kenyan born but lives in the U.S. so she experiences the  loss of her mother tongue from her memory and a lack of belonging between two worlds. This is an occurring theme since it ties with the loneliness of general human existence where similarities and differences are so vast and detailed that everyone is connected but yet so far out of reach and comfort. Isolated, frustrated with it, but there’s still a little something, and that is enough at times.

This is Shompole’s magnum opus, it’s my favorite one out of them all, because it just feels so much heavier on the heart.

Rating: 5/5

Two Solar Luxuriance Chapbooks: Throne of Blood by Cassandra Troyan and Sacramento by Meghan Lamb

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Page: 94

Genre: Poetry, Experimental

Format: Format

Published by Solar Luxuriance

Now, that I’m finally loving poetry, I decided to pick this chapbook up. When I downloaded it months ago, Solar Luxuriance provides free downloads of their out-of-print chapbooks, I kept giving it up and picking up something else. The first “chapter” is actually a short story written in poetry. Is there a name for ‘Short story poetry’? I guess it would be narrative poetry. Anyway, that was one of the best parts of the chapbook, not only because I rarely find that style of poetry, but it is my favorite kind of poetry because it’s short stories, but not actually a short story. It tells the story of these two male necrophiliacs that murder women and girls and bury them in the basement. A lot of her poetry kind of has this feminist undertone to it, where she mourns the death and mistreatment of women and girls by the hands of men. It’s feminist because most people don’t take the mistreatment of women seriously. If you don’t believe me, well listen to how many people make jokes about rape and blaming rape on rape victims. But yeah.

Then after that, there’s some more poetry similar to do that, except girls don’t die physically, they die on the inside. I think these might’ve been slightly autobiographical. Where father’s disappoint and men kill women mentally repeatably for feeling too much.

This chapbook was actually fairly popular in the small press world so I feel like my review is basically going to repeat the same thing. Of course most of this chapbook isn’t too dark, some of it is light hearted somewhat. A care free feminist chapbook about being a woman who owns her sexuality, disappointment in relationships, self-hatred and inability to cope with it, and  existential angst. Topic wise, it’s not much different than your usual poetry book in the Alt. Lit world. But Troyan’s biting and vivid poetry stands out from the Tao Lin esque poetry writing I usually see to the point where it’s unavoidable. (Not knocking him, just saying that there’s way too many people writing like him now, with slight differences, but not very much the same.)

Rating: 4.5/5

sacramento

Pages: 28

Genre: Novella

Format: E-book (Again, a free PDF download of an our-of-print chapbook.)

(I tried my best to remove the black parts so it could blend in.)

Well this one is short and sweet and it talks about loneliness and isolation, about awkward and unfulfilling relationships, and then it switches back and forth to the Gold Rush era when people left their homes and died on the way. The prose is filling for a novella, this is one of the shortest novellas I’ve ever read, I almost consider it a novelette, and yet it was written good enough to feel emotionally involving. I would like to read more of her works. Don’t have much to say since it’s so short.

Rating: 4.5/5