RaveNPRIf hope were an object, it would be poet Alex Dimitrov\'s new book Love and Other Poems . In its entirety, the book itself is one long love poem — to New York City, to the moon, to the many \'scenes from our world\' — but it\'s mostly about what it means to have hope, even when we feel like we\'re all alone ... Pleasure, annoyance, boredom, spiritual awakening — we feel it all. And as the poems travel through time, the poet\'s vulnerability and loneliness are palpable enough to, perhaps deliberately, make the reader feel less alone ... What is it about looking for love and spending time in this city that makes Dimitrov\'s book a symbol of hope? This too is answered in the poem when he writes, \'I love writing this and not knowing what I\'ll love next.\' ... Love and Other Poems promises that every now and then, love will find us. And if it doesn\'t, the moon — and New York City — will always be right there.
RavePloughsharesPeter Orner has the unique ability to invent fully-formed, vibrant characters within the shortest of stories. The author’s latest collection, Maggie Brown & Others, is an exuberant body of such carefully crafted characters ... Their stories—little windows through which we view a snippet of their day—are often plotless, but plot feels unnecessary when we are engrossed by the thoughts and feelings of the characters. Orner’s characters are unapologetic and complex, holding guilt, fear, and love ... Orner’s impressive stories are also peppered with visceral language ... full of nuance and a special kind of lightness.
RavePloughsharesWith language on social media being a big promoter of poetry’s accessibility, Daley-Ward tackles difficult topics like sexual abuse, addiction, death, and bigotry by describing her experiences in a nuanced yet extremely straightforward manner. Given that most of the memoir reveals the perspective of a child growing into an addict, Daley-Ward’s stream of consciousness doesn’t euphemize harsh truths ... Despite her use of uncomplicated language, Daley-Ward continually incorporates gut-wrenching imagery in her work, and...she packages heightened emotion into just one or two lines ... poignant distinctions between the imagination and reality...make Daley-Ward’s work so difficult to put down. Moreover, it’s Daley-Ward’s ability to provide a lyrical account of her seemingly dark life that sheds the memoir with a soft, intimate light that only a poet’s self-analysis can provide ... We don’t just grow up with Daley-Ward in this memoir—we grow up with the terrible as well. It is a haunting presence in her life, perhaps an imaginary friend. It is cruel, toxic, impossible to get rid off.