Daily Archives: November 30, 2018


To Make, Unmake, and Make Again: A Review of Anna Lena Phillip Bell’s Ornament

Anna Lena Phillips Bell’s skilled employment of repetition, which is the foundation of all poetic forms, creates a sometimes subtle, sometimes gaudy beauty in her debut collection, Ornament, winner of the 2016 Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry. Whether the poems’ occasions are a lace pattern, a garden, a melody, or […]


“I’m not talking about my heart”–A Review of Melissa Stein’s Terrible Blooms

Melissa Stein’s title, Terrible Blooms, is good on its promise to weld the grotesque and the lovely so tightly and repeatedly that they transcend simple paradox and make of pain a single luminous skein. The poem “blessings,” for example, takes the form of a prayer comprised of repeated “may you […]


In Glitter Or In Ash: A Review of Heather June Gibbons’ Her Mouth As Souvenir

Heather June Gibbons’ debut collection is the literary equivalent of a carnival ride: it jolts, thrills, dizzies: you’ll step off windblown, with a little midway grit in your eye. The voice here feels relentlessly hectic, overwhelmed, a caffeinated oracle taking in and reporting on the signs and wonders of contemporary […]