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A first review for “Woodland”

By Reviews

Woodland’s poems feel dark, romantic and sultry, and they include strong ecological imagery that’ll leave you swooning after every page. Throw in images of partially burned sheet music…and the haunting melodies of keyboardist Aaron Otheim… and you’ve got yourself one hell of a book… Readers will instinctively know Woodland is about climate catastrophe, but they’ll also come to recognize a deep-rooted warning in Gardner’s poems: there is beauty coiled in danger, and we must look at it dead-on. 

We are delighted that our first review for Woodland comes from our area’s local press and so a huge THANK YOU to Christina Butcher for her reading and Tacoma’s Weekly Volcano for carrying book reviews.

The full review is here: Electric and fire-filled books

In it, she mentions the poem and music from “A Swift Willing Light”— you can hear that on Soundcloud for free.

And finally, Christina runs an incredible small press herself and you should check it out— Blue Cactus Press!!!

“All the Marys”: A review by Hannah VanderHart

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“This is not a white-washed collection of lyric-narratives—rather, Mueller’s work enacts historical-poetic recovery. Mary’s Dust is a stay against that particularly American vice contemporary historians discuss: amnesia (in this case, the individual histories of slaves and the achievements of persons of color). Mueller does not let us forget, but weaves her poetry as tapestries, so that we can also look and see.”

Hannah VanderHart writes about Mary’s Dust recently in the U > Read the Full Review here: Up the Staircase “All the Marys”.

In the review, Ms. VanderHart offers a lengthy quote from “Ledger.” We think this is one of the most intense poems of the last year and so we’d like you to get a chance to hear and see it in its entirety…and we include the full text at our Sound Cloud page.

And here is the somber note for the poem.

Review of “Alchemy for Cells…” in the Tupelo Quarterly

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“What the poetry strives to bring about, whether through the magic of words or the evocative nature of the watercolors, is a kind of transmutation. Jewell Zeller and DeBecker teach us how our thoughts and experiences can transform not just our world, but our very psyche, cultivating a consciousness that holds no divide, a mind that is border and transgression, moving elegantly between states of being. All, of course, this philosophizing is done in language that is casually elegant.” – Daniel Casey

Read more of Daniel Casey’s review of “Alchemy for Cells & Other Beasts” in the Tupelo Quarterly.

Hear Melinda Mueller on KUOW

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Elizabeth Austen discussed the new book by Melinda Mueller, Mary’s Dust, with Bill Radke on the Noon Hour.

They discuss the poem, “Covert Arts”, about three different Marys in the Civil War and how the women in the poem overcome the constraints of their time and are both seen and unseen.

Listen to the ten minute segment on KUOW. This poem is so fierce.

“Flowers & Sky”: An SPD Staff Pick

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We were honored to have Flowers & Sky: Two Talks be one of the SPD Staff picks this month. That means it’s 20% off all month long.

In FLOWERS & SKY: TWO TALKS Aaron Shurin deftly uses its eponymous subject matters to consider the poetics of a whole life, following out the flowers and skies in his actual experience, as well as the appearance of these words in his work. The talks are excellent examples of the lyric essay, a form that allows the writer the latitude to make prose sense in a poetic way. One of the advantages of the form, fully exploited by Shurin, is the opportunity to use wonderfully sounded language to make incantatory as well as logical sense. A danger can be the risk of being self-indulgently vague. Far from falling prey to this danger, this book is precise and rigorous in its examination of a writing practice and a series of lived incidents that both inspire and comprise that practice. As revelatory as they are expository, these talks, along with the poems and other material in the book, allow Shurin to celebrate (and demonstrate) his poetics with an honest zeal that seems to tell all. Who better, I thought reading and rereading the book, to fully present one’s poetics than oneself? This work is like a textbook of how to write about one’s poetics in a way that is serious, accurate, and engaging. Old poets thinking to write their memoirs and young ones to assert their own poetics should take notice. -Laura Moriarty


“Focused Grace”: A Bay Area Reporter Review

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“Aaron Shurin has produced a slim yet potent volume of significant yet delicately rendered prose and poetry that fans should enjoy slowly to savor the meaning behind his words” -Jim Piechota

There’s a new review of Aaron Shurin’s “Flowers & Sky” in the new Bay Area Reporter. Thanks for the kind words and the reminder to check out the audio download!

Read the whole review here: Focused Grace

Maya Jewell Zeller Interview in Spokesman Review

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Spokesman Review Maya Jewell Zeller
Even the publisher learns new things when the interviews come out! So now I know the poems for Alchemy for Cells & Other Beasts started during piano lessons!

“…the poems in “Alchemy” in particular, partially because of the interdisciplinary influence, play with space and line and syntactical disruption and fragment in ways that a lot of other contemporary poets are also playing – this deconstructivist approach resulting, I think many of us would say, from a fractured political and social climate, and from the sense of disorder and stress that so many of us feel.”

Read the whole Interview here. SPOKESMAN REVIEW

Alchemy for Cells: Recommended by SPD!

By Reviews

Alchemy for Cells & Other Beasts is a Staff Pick this month, meaning you can get it for 20% if you order from them, here: SPD Staff Picks.

Books about anxiety are too often deemed feminine and interior—too personally specific. But in the refractive kaleidoscope of ALCHEMY FOR CELLS & OTHER BEASTS, anxiety becomes an externalised and colorful weapon, one encompassing not just the landscape of the self, but the universe as it affects the self, the tales of other selves around the self. From geologic time to climate change, individual anxiety spreads virally throughout the book, populating its readers with the troubling accoutrements of human existence and its oft negative impacts — “so mammal / so leathery like our sin / the one I cover over my organs / like a filmy curtain.” Accompanied by misleadingly succulent artwork by Carrie DeBacker, ALCHEMY FOR CELLS & OTHER BEASTS is a journey at turns mystical and frightening, guilt-inducing and comforting, muddling humanity’s oppressive force with its animal instincts, all without being self-righteous or accusatory. We exist, it seems to say, and we have an impact. And what that is can be beautiful or frightening — it’s up to us. —Trisha Low