Wow. Some powerful poetry here, very feminist take on traditional fairy tales, giving them very modern twists. My favorites were "The Giant's DaughterWow. Some powerful poetry here, very feminist take on traditional fairy tales, giving them very modern twists. My favorites were "The Giant's Daughter at Spring Formal," "The Little Mermaid," "View from the Balcony," and "The Wicked Queen's Legacy." When I read that last poem, which is near the front of the book, I just sat back and was like, whoa. If only this was around when I'd been in college. I'm sure we would've had a field day reading it in any one of my women's studies classes! I enjoyed it a lot, and believe many women would get a lot more out of this collection than they might think....more
An awesome book by an amazing poet. Ms. Franklin's words speak to everyone, which makes this an approachable book even for those who think they don'tAn awesome book by an amazing poet. Ms. Franklin's words speak to everyone, which makes this an approachable book even for those who think they don't enjoy poetry....more
Mute is a collection of 29 poems which convey the poet’s own experience of being a deaf gay man. Many of the poems deal with specific lovers the poetMute is a collection of 29 poems which convey the poet’s own experience of being a deaf gay man. Many of the poems deal with specific lovers the poet has known and lost, but the poems I enjoyed the most were those that gave me insight into living a life of perpetual silence. As a hearing individual, I was fascinated to catch a glimpse of what it is like to speak only through hand signals and body language, and to catch none of the inflection or innuendos conveyed in traditional speech.
My favorite poem in the collection was the first one, “How to Fall for a Deaf Man.” As the title suggests, the poem instructs the reader how to approach a deaf man for the first time, what to do (or not do) to attract his attention, and how to enter into a relationship with him when his deafness may seem daunting. The poem is very realistic, and leaves the reader a little more comfortable with the idea of speaking to someone who is deaf because it calls out prejudices and practices a hearing person may not realize are inherent in his thoughts:
“Do not ask him the sign for FUCK. He is tired of showing how. He wants sincere attempts to talk. Do not ask him to tutor you for free. He is not a teacher. He’s tired of teaching.
Try not to be bothered by his wary eyes. You are just another one who says he wants to learn, but never gets around to it.
Do not be startled by how much eye contact he requires. Do not be afraid of his face.”
While this is obviously a very personal poem, stemming from years of frustration over what the poet has come to expect from first meetings, most of the other poems in the collection are even more intimate. They deal with relationships the poet has been in, loves lost over time, or regrets and mournings for lovers no longer around. The poem, “Night Stroll in Washington, DC” showcases this intimacy, giving us a momentary glimpse into the lives of former lovers who meet after their relationship has cooled:
“I moved away with not a good-bye. But this city keeps calling me back.
I no longer see your beaten face, or the man whose body I stared at.
You’ve become a dull ache in my bones. Years now pass like nights.”
Some of the poems are simply love poems, written as if for a current lover. Mr. Luzcak’s way with words is magical, weaving together images that bring the poetry alive to the reader. One example is in “The Loom,” which describes a tender scene of lovemaking:
“Your thick legs, warm, braid in and out of mine as our hands treadle words. Our bed is a loom, our bodies the warp and woof”
I greatly enjoyed reading Mute. The poems were evocative and thought-provoking, and left me with a greater empathy for those who are deaf. I loved the way Mr. Luzcak took everyday moments of his life that would be extraordinary to the hearing reader—for example sign language, which has become such an integral part of who he is—and made those elements commonplace and natural through the flow of his words. After reading this, I am not only interested in uncovering the poet’s other collections, but also want to explore his other writing as well. These poems took me for a walk in his shoes, and I believe I’m a better person after the journey....more
Handmade Love is a collection of 26 poems centered around lesbian life. Though they deal with very specific moments in Ms. Enszer's life, the universaHandmade Love is a collection of 26 poems centered around lesbian life. Though they deal with very specific moments in Ms. Enszer's life, the universality of the themes will resound with readers regardless of their sexual orientation. Some of the poems are very political, some romantic, some erotic, but they all resonated with me as a writer, as a woman, and as queer.
By far the poem I enjoyed the most was the first one in the book, entitled "When We Were Feminists." It reminded me of my own feminist journey, recalling how fresh and new everything seemed to me when I was in college and learning about women's history for the first time in my life. The poem speaks to the inevitable indoctrination of any belief system or ideal ~ when you first discover it, your passion flares bright, but time dims the flame until it becomes commonplace:
"When we were feminists, feminism was like cooking the first meal After grocery shopping. You know: When all of the vegetables have the patina of freshness, When the fruit feels firm, even weighty, in your hand,
Now feminism is like the meal you make five days after shopping, When you are exhausted from working all day,
When you cook simply because you have to eat."
Not every poem is so directly politic, but after this first poem, the collection is divided into two sections. The first contains romantic or erotic poems directed toward a female lover. "First Kiss" is tender, focusing on the hesitant love a young teen feels for her best friend. "Morning Pant" is another unrequited poem, this one aimed at a roommate who doesn't know how the poet feels for her even as she takes male lovers to her bed. I particularly liked the title poem, "Handmade Love," which begins with a mother's love and ends with a powerful line about the sexual love between women. The poem literally made me stop reading just so I could savor the play on words in the final lines:
"I believe that there are two kinds of love in this world:
inherited and handmade. Yes, we inherit love but my people, my people make love by hand."
The poems in the second section are more generally queer in theme. Several are addressed to gay men, such as "Stroke," where the poet talks of her hope of a lifelong friendship with her best friend Michael, or "Couplets for Jeff," in which she comes to terms with a close friend's death. A few poems also mention post-operative transgendered men, something I found very refreshing simply because I haven't come across many poems dealing with the subject.
Overall, I enjoyed Handmade Love immensely. It's a wonderful collection of poems that are not only sexy but also thought-provoking. Ms. Enszer's strong poetic voice makes you blush as you read her poems, as if you've snuck a peek inside her diary and are reliving her most sensuous, intimate moments. Even if you don't think you like poetry, give this collection a try. With a deft hand, Ms. Enszer weaves sex and eroticism throughout her poems, leaving you flushed and breathless when you reach the end....more
Really darkly humorous poems. If you like Tim Burton and Edward Gorey, this will appeal to you. I first came across Dirge's work in his comic book serReally darkly humorous poems. If you like Tim Burton and Edward Gorey, this will appeal to you. I first came across Dirge's work in his comic book series, "Lenore," and he's just a riot....more
I am not an Emily Dickinson fan. All her poems can be set to the tune of "The Yellow Rose of Texas." But this book is alright. Nothing fantastic, IMHOI am not an Emily Dickinson fan. All her poems can be set to the tune of "The Yellow Rose of Texas." But this book is alright. Nothing fantastic, IMHO, but good for students of literature....more
The Underwater Hospital is a chapbook of twelve poems with similar themes that echo throughout the collection. Ms. Steckel's background is evident inThe Underwater Hospital is a chapbook of twelve poems with similar themes that echo throughout the collection. Ms. Steckel's background is evident in these poems ~ many touch on medical subjects or use medical terminology throughout, while others mention working closely with a strong Hispanic population. Religion is a recurring theme, as are sexuality and gender. These themes will resound with readers sensitive to Steckel's poetic voice, which turns specific instances of her life into universal experiences we all share.
Some of the women in these poems, while strong willed, are caught between the feminine and the masculine, traits determined by society and not by one's gender. The struggle of being bisexual in a world that demands absolutes is evident in these poems, particularly in "Daddy's Little Girl" and "Harder." One of my favorite poems in the collection, "Harder" is about a relationship between two women, one of whom insists the poet take a more masculine position in their relationship:
"She was trying to talk to a man in me, a rapist who wasn't there. I didn't understand talking dirty. It left me merely bewildered."
To placate her lover, the poet obliges with raw, animalistic sex that she herself can't fathom. By the end of the poem, her lover's urging resounds in her mind:
"Sometimes I lie awake trying to remember how I loved her, but I never try hard enough. I hear her gravelly, coal-town voice urging me, 'Harder. Harder.'"
While some of the poems focus on a sexual relationship, particularly the lovely "Fourteen Crossings," many touch on Steckel's work as a physician. The most telling of these is "Charity after the Hurricane," which strikes a cord with those of us living in a post-Katrina America. At its heart, the poem is about the super-human efforts hospital workers go to in the wake of disaster to help those in need. The poet, a nurse, works in a hospital that's been hit by a hurricane and now awaits rescue which has not yet come. As the patients die waiting for the helicopters to arrive, the futility of the nurse's efforts are evident in the poem's closing lines:
"Too much water on the inside, nothing but water on the outside, and not even a Diet Coke to drink. I'm just going to sit down here. I'm just going to put my head in my hands. I'm just going to let my shoulders shake. I'm not crying. I'm too dry."
Other poems I enjoyed in this chapbook (which I didn't mention above) were: "Hard as Nails," "The Maiden Aunts," and "Swallowing Flies." The title poem, "The Underwater Hospital," touches on how hospital workers manage to retain their humanity in the face of so much pain and suffering:
"If I open this door, the dead will rush in like a thousand tons of water, filling me up, and I will never be able to shut that hatch again."
The Underwater Hospital is a wonderful collection by a poet whose unique voice resonates throughout the chapbook. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Steckel in the future....more
I read this in high school, but not FOR school. The advanced English class was reading it; we were stuck with "Medea." My best friend was in the advanI read this in high school, but not FOR school. The advanced English class was reading it; we were stuck with "Medea." My best friend was in the advanced class and complained bitterly about Dante's "Inferno," but the more she told me about the book, the more I wanted to read it. So I asked the professor for a copy and loved it. I guess it just goes to show how one student can enjoy the same book another hates simply because she wasn't forced to read it....more
Perhaps my favorite Dr. Seuss book of all time. It has a very strong environmental message and I loved the cartoon movie they made of it years ago. WoPerhaps my favorite Dr. Seuss book of all time. It has a very strong environmental message and I loved the cartoon movie they made of it years ago. Wonderful story....more
Funny story: my mother bought this for me while I was in college and, almost at the exact time she was in the story purchasing it, I was in a bookstorFunny story: my mother bought this for me while I was in college and, almost at the exact time she was in the story purchasing it, I was in a bookstore miles away looking at the women's section when this book fell off the shelf and into my hands. So apparently I was meant to have this book.
It's a very good collection of poems, most I've never read elsewhere, all love stories of varying degrees. My absolute favorite in this collection is "On the Road to the Sea" by Charlotte Mew, with the lines:
"I would've liked (so vile we are!) to have taught you tears But most to have made you smile."
Other poems I enjoyed in this collection are:
"Love Letter" by Carole C. Gregory "Possibly" by Leslea Newman "A Zorro Man" by Maya Angelou "To a Dark Girl" by Gwendolyn Bennett "To the Spider in the Crevice" by Janet Sutherland "When I Hear Your Name" by Gloria Fuertes "Theme and Variations II" by Edna St. Vincent Millay
This is an awesome collection of poets you probably won't find in your English class. These poems are erotic and sensuous, full of longing and desire, despair and need. If you love poetry and are a romantic at heart, definitely pick this book up....more
Oh my. If Edward Gorey and Roman Dirge had a child, it would be as twisted and darkly humorous as Tim Burton. This is a short collection of really offOh my. If Edward Gorey and Roman Dirge had a child, it would be as twisted and darkly humorous as Tim Burton. This is a short collection of really off-the-wall poems (my favorite was "Voodoo Girl). The images that go with the stories are really fabulous.
A must for Burton fans. I'm giving my copy to my mother because I know she'll love it....more
An odd book about the murder of a school teacher told in poems from the point of view of everyone involved (other teachers, the detective, the guidancAn odd book about the murder of a school teacher told in poems from the point of view of everyone involved (other teachers, the detective, the guidance counselor, students). A neat concept, really, as we learn about everyone and what they think of everyone else based on what they say (or don't say) in their poetry, but there isn't enough foreshadowing on the part of the actual murderer to make his capture real. Too many red herrings, not enough meat on who really did it. Interesting concept, though....more