Tag Archives: poetry reviews

BOOK REVIEW: “Mouthy” – Emily Rose Kahn-Sheahan (Thoughtcrime Press)

Oral History: A review of Mouthy by Emily Rose Kahn-Sheahan
Thoughtcrime Press, 2016
[purchase]

reviewed by Donna Vorreyer

 

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Emily Rose Kahn-Sheahan is a force onstage and her second book Mouthy (from Thoughtcrime Press) gives the reader both that performance fire, the poems sizzling with crackling imagery and voice, and the quietly woven spell of careful craft.

 

In the opening title poem, the speaker asserts:

“(you) want the pretty to lay quiet, stop
causing all this fuss , but I got
firecracker teeth popping.
They get me into the good
trouble worth all this voice.”

And a section called The Trouble is what we are led to. The book is organized in sections, and The Trouble is full of the body’s salt and sweat. This is a body that is in control of its desire even when it abandons itself to pleasure, and it does. This is a body that knows how to love itself, even though sometimes it forgets, as in “The Trouble With Resisting Temptation is It May Never Come Again: Fortune Cookie”

How dare I be this body
and forget how beautiful it ripples,
the art in bountiful meat, milk skin.
Curve drunk on my own hips,
I let him deserve me.

And what a treat to read poems about sex that aren’t apologetic or shaming or romanticized – these poems are carnal and funny and poignant and real. The repeated diction of words like hum and shiver buzzes through the book like a current, a live wire that, if touched, will both thrill and hurt us.
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BOOK REVIEW: “wreck/age” – Bill Moran & Simon Kindt (Alien Mouth Books)

wreck/age: an odd little book
Bill Moran
Simon Kindt
Alien Mouth Books, 2015
[purchase]

reviewed by Donna Vorreyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not odd at all, this gem of a book gives us a narrator whose “holy mess” of a life is a love affair with the sea, a sailor who is one of the “strongarms and loudmouths” drawn by salt and waves at the expense of all other desires. Divided into three sections, the book follows the narrator’s life from his earliest days to goodbye. In “Slack Water,” we get an origin story of sorts:

“at age 2, your father says he will teach you to swim.
teaching you to swim is tying you into a sack,
weighting the sack with stones,
dropping you in.

the water hits like a delivery room slap
of cold white roar and WAKE UP BOY
THIS WORLD IS NOT IN LOVE WITH THE IDEA OF YOU
THIS WORLD IS NOT GENTLE OCEAN AND WARM BELLY
THIS WORLD IS BIRTH AND BLOOD AND MURDERED LOVE”

The suicide of the narrator’s father and mother are co-mingled with the butchering of a whale, the “holy mess” of the whale’s guts also referring to the father’s bloody death, the “red ribbons” of the whale’s intestines the same as the mother’s self-inflicted stab wound.
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