October 16, 2021

Images A Collection of Ekphrastic Poetry by Michael Escoubas

 

“Images”

A Collection of Ekphrastic Poetry

By Michael Escoubas

148 pages

ISBN: 978-81-8253-761-3

Cyberwit

www.cyberwit.net

Copyright 2021

 

 

Review by LBSedlacek

Besides the uniqueness of ekphrastic poems from the outset, this new collection of poems by Michael Escoubas is also quite original as it is a companion book to Sharmagne Leland St.-John’s own poetry book of the same name.  They used the same images and the same title for each of their books.  Leland St. John is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief and Escoubas is Editor and Book Reviewer for “Scribe and Quill.” 

Escoubas has a way of bringing the art to life with his words.   From the poem, “Gentlemen in Black” after “The Magpie” by Claude Monet:  “After a fresh fall of snow / the magpie shakes snow-salt / off his wings.”  You can easily imagine this picture whether you’ve seen it or not from these opening lines.  The painting by Monet appears to be of a backyard in the snow.

From the poem “Vibrations in Color” after “Pines and Rocks” by Paul Cezanne:  …”Like pines / whose roots find soil in rocks / you moved the rocks inch by inch / until you became the bridge / between Monet and Picasso / you exchanged a palette of dark / colors for Nature’s soul-lifting / presence….”  This particular painting is of a forest scene.  Escoubas takes you into the painting and then beyond it.  It’s an all encompassing experience to see the art, feel it and then be transported in and around it by such inspired verses.

These poems are wonderous, thought-provoking, and welcoming.  It is a sensitive journey of art elevating poetry and vice versa.  The poems expand and explore the works of arts themselves leading the reader into a cerebral and refreshing comparison of two types of creative expression.

 

From the poem “Deserted Beach”

after a watercolor by Luis Cámera

“her life was the sand

and the sky and the twilight

not the pock-marked beach

nor the brown grass

waving helplessly in the breeze

nor the brittle fence

that could not keep them apart”

This collection is an emotional embodiment and perfect blend of the marriage between art, creativity and poetry.  These poems rejuvenate the art.  These poems uplift and accentuate the art with an accessible overall tone, and deep examinations of what lies beyond the colors and words on the page.

 

~LB Sedlacek is the author of the poetry collections “I’m No ROBOT,” “This Space Available,” “Words and Bones,” “Simultaneous Submissions,” “Swim,” “Happy Little Clouds,” and “The Poet Next Door.”  Her non-fiction books include “The Poet Protection Plan” and “Electric Melt:  How to Write, Publish, Read Walt Whitman and Survive as a Writer and Poet).  Her first poem novel is “The Blue Eyed Side” and her first short story collection is entitled “Four Thieves of Vinegar & Other Short Stories.”  Her mystery novel “The Glass River” was nominated for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award.  She writes poetry reviews for “The Poetry Market Ezine” www.thepoetrymarket.com  You can find out more about her at @lbsedlacek on Instagram or @lbsedlacekpoet on Facebook or  www.lbsedlacek.com 

September 10, 2021

Call Me Snake by William Heyen

 

“Call Me Snake”

By William Heyen

148 pages

ISBN: 978-81-8253-759-0

Cyberwit

www.cyberwit.net

Copyright 2021

 

 Review by LBSedlacek

 

 “Call Me Snake” is separated into three different sections.  They are “Competition,” “Romance” and “The Football Corporations.”  I’m always one that reads the Table of Contents (TOC) to see what’s in store for me as a reader.  Unique and I can’t wait to see what he does with this are two thoughts that come to mind with this new collection by Heyen.

 The poems in the first section are sports related.  Most of them have to do with football.  Not to fulfil a cliché’ but yes I am a female that doesn’t watch sports at all on TV or in person.  (I do, however, watch school sports!)  My philosophy on this is that I’d rather be participating in the sport (good or bad or in-between) than sitting around watching it.  Wrestling, volleyball, skateboarding are included here, too.  You do not need to be familiar with sports, though, to read these poems.  They are not simply poems about a football game, or another sport but rather an intense exploration of life through sports, because of sports or possibly what goes on in practice, retirement after playing and during the entertainment of this pastime. 

From the poem “Draft”:

“He’s got what we call the right work ethic.

You know the gym rat cliché, first at practice,

last to leave. He says he wants to give back

to the game & to the Corporation,”

 

That’s simply the beginning of this poem.  The next two verses really put the nitty gritty life of a athlete into perspective, deservingly so.

The next section continues along the lines of the same theme, but in a different take.  There’s a poem called “If Jesus Played Football” and a tribute poem to “Kobe.”  Plus, there’s a wry poem on a clash between a couple of coaches called “The Altercation.”

 

From the poem “Yellow Card”:

“This first World Cup on the moon:

without incendiary incident until

that signal corner kick for Axis when

their striker clappered our goalie’s bell”

 

The last section “The Football Corporations” is more in line with what happens in the commercialism of the game, a fans perspective, and so on.  It’s not what you’d expect probably when it comes to this field. 

Heyen’s style cuts to the core.  His lines are not afraid to make good calls, bad calls, the calls he feels necessary to get the thought across.

Many of these poems were previously published in an earlier collection entitled “The Football Corporations.”  And quite a few appeared in magazines. 

Heyen is the author / editor of more than 40 books.  He is Professor of English/Poet in Residence Emeritus at the College at Brockport, his undergraduate alma mater.

These poems are raw, but connected.  With Heyen’s poems, no syllable is wasted and each word is meaningful. 

LB Sedlacek has also reviewed Heyen’s “Crop Circles.” 

 

 

~LB Sedlacek is the author of the poetry collections “I’m No ROBOT,” “This Space Available,” “Words and Bones,” “Simultaneous Submissions,” “Swim,” “Happy Little Clouds,” and “The Poet Next Door.”  Her non-fiction books include “The Poet Protection Plan” and “Electric Melt:  How to Write, Publish, Read Walt Whitman and Survive as a Writer and Poet).  Her first poem novel is “The Blue Eyed Side” and her first short story collection is entitled “Four Thieves of Vinegar & Other Short Stories.”  Her mystery novel “The Glass River” was nominated for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award.  She writes poetry reviews for “The Poetry Market Ezine” www.thepoetrymarket.com  You can find out more about her at @lbsedlacek on Instagram or @lbsedlacekpoet on Facebook or  www.lbsedlacek.com 

Sipping Tea & Bullfrog Songs ... and other sightings of the Wind Rose by Baidha Dominique Fercoq

 “Sipping Tea & Bullfrog Songs”

... and other sightings of the Wind Rose

A Prose & Poetry Collection

By Baidha Dominique Fercoq

118 pages

ISBN: 978-81-8253-722-4

Cyberwit

www.cyberwit.net

Copyright 2020

 

Review by LBSedlacek


There are 9 sections in this recent poetry collection by Fercoq.  The book is a mixture of prose and poems.  The prose and poetry compliment each other and often flow from one to the other in a seamless fluid presentation. 

 

The prose almost seems like an introduction to the poem following.  But each is strong enough to stand alone, and reads quite well independently. 

 

The prose is fresh and compelling.  The poems are gentle and full of life.  It’s quite a feat to be able to write both prose and poems, but to also weave them together is somewhat extraordinary and certainly a refreshing change to the traditional presentation in a poetry book.

 

“There are stories held quietly between walls, scents lingering long / after flowers have bloomed.”  Lines like these (from page 24) give you an idea of what’s to be found on the pages in Fercoq’s book.  This piece of prose is followed by a poem entitled “Stories from a Mountain Cabin Wall.”  It opens with these lines:  “The cushion of summer grass / beguiles my perception’s prism.”  Imagine walking in a meadow in a grassy field, maybe being overcome by a rainbow and then continue the journey into this visual wonder of a poem.

 

Fercoq appears to be an accomplished poet.  He skillfully leads the way into a spectacular imaginative experience with each piece of prose and each poem that joins it.

 

From page 63:  “Fleeting treasure hunts fill many lives, and they manifest in different ways.”  This is the opening prose line on this page before the poem “Sweetest Berry.”  There’s much more to this poem than a bird trying to gather a berry to give to its baby chick. 

 

From the poem “Dried Husk”

“Dried fruited soul

your husk rustles in the wind

as scavenging wildlife pluck your remnants

their sustenance in frigid winter’s lair.”

 

The prose prior to this poem talks about us being part of life’s cycle.  And also it talks of how the flight of love, hope, joy, and despair brings us to our final end.  Poets are natural observers and also naturals at comparisons.  Taking an image such as a dried husk and comparing it to living life until it becomes final shows that Fercoq is a skillful poet. 

 

            From page 88:  “Who has never stopped in a field to look for a four-leaf clover?”  And who has never stopped to read a poem, or a book of poetry?  If you are new to poetry, this book is a great place to start.  If you are a poetry fan, then this book is one to add to your to be read list. 

 

            Fercoq presents a compelling book of verses and prose.  The words practically fall off the page into your heart and soul.

 

 

~LB Sedlacek is the author of the poetry collections “I’m No ROBOT,” “Words and Bones,” “Simultaneous Submissions,” “Swim,” “The Adventures of Stick People on Cars,” “Happy Little Clouds,” and “The Poet Next Door.”  Her first poem novel is “The Blue Eyed Side” and her first short story collection is entitled “Four Thieves of Vinegar & Other Short Stories.”  Her mystery novel “The Glass River” was nominated for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award.  She writes poetry reviews for “The Poetry Market Ezine” www.thepoetrymarket.com  You can find out more about her at www.lbsedlacek.com

Footsteps in the Garden by Bob MacKenzie

 “Footsteps in the Garden”

By Bob MacKenzie

126 pages

ISBN: 978-81-8253-742-2

Cyberwit

www.cyberwit.net

Copyright 2021

 

Review by LBSedlacek

 

Bob MacKenzie starts off his new poetry book with these lines:  in battered stetson and old jeans /

he recalls the time of legends” from the poem “an american dream.”  His use of sparse language gives you just what you need just like this poem lets you know his style of writing poems right up front.

Writing poems should be truly original even if you are writing about things/people/places others have also written about, too.  MacKenzie’s verses exhale unique images which truly sets them apart. 

MacKenzie’s poems vary from a few verses to several pages.  I’m always saying that the poem should dictate the length and not the other way around.  In the poem “in the midst of things” he gives you an eye opening view of empty streets and city life, myths and paradise, poets and folk singers and so on.  This poem is a masterful tale, somewhat like a ballad. 

These lines from the poem  The Dark Shimmering Deep for all the prophets in rags”:  “I walk a wilderness of concrete streets, / I speak to the wind, I cry out to the sky,” make you want to reread them, savor them, then continue reading along to see what comes next. 

These poems plumb the depts of life.  MacKenzie’s words are soulful and skillful.

 

From the poem “Street of Dreams”:

“a street painted in darker shades

blues and blacks just beyond sundown

lamp posts supporting cones of light

staged yellow circles in the dark

fading to the vanishing point”

 

MacKenzie’s pacing is spot on.  The verses sizzle with suspense, resilience, hope, love, trauma, solace, woes, so much.

My favorite poem in the collection is “read aloud.”  It is a wise look at words and writing, something very important to writers everywhere.  Lines from the poem:  “the first and all / saying by / eye gesture / intonation / flow flux howl rant rave / dance fire smoke captive / words undone / doing”  This poem is riveting as if it reads the minds of almost any writer out there struggling to get words down on paper. 

It seems MacKenzie has found his own way of writing splicing in clever content amidst terrific verses.  You will read the difference and maybe hope that all poetry was written like this.

 

~LB Sedlacek is the author of the poetry collections “I’m No ROBOT,” “Words and Bones,” “Simultaneous Submissions,” “Swim,” “The Adventures of Stick People on Cars,” “Happy Little Clouds,” and “The Poet Next Door.”  Her first poem novel is “The Blue Eyed Side” and her first short story collection is entitled “Four Thieves of Vinegar & Other Short Stories.”  Her mystery novel “The Glass River” was nominated for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award.  She writes poetry reviews for “The Poetry Market Ezine” www.thepoetrymarket.com  You can find out more about her at www.lbsedlacek.com

The Five and Dime Store of Eternity by Sean Lause

 “The Five and Dime Store of Eternity”

By Sean Lause

83 pages

ISBN: 978-81-8253-744-6

Cyberwit

www.cyberwit.net

Copyright 2021

  

Review by LBSedlacek

Sean Lause fills the pages in this new poetry collection with deeply personal poems.  The poems are introspective and thoughtful.  The visuals, the images he presents are perfectly crafted, but will zing right through your heart and give you pause.

He writes with passion.  You can tell that every word for each poem has a deliberate reason for being there and that speaks highly of his craftwork as a poet.

 

From the poem “Astronaut of dreams”:

“Times I returned speechless,

all my words burned up in re-entry,

tumbling through eternities of blue,

learning to speak the silence of the stars.

Once I nearly drowned in timeless night,

dark as the heart of a burrowing beetle,

needles clicking like radioactive crickets,

yet I learned all that light can sing.

Harmonious recess—I left the mother ship

like human popcorn on a string,

guided by moons, luck, and wary angels.”

 

You will feel close to Lause’s creative spirit as you read these lines.  He has a way of taking the seemingly ordinary and turning it a totally different direction.  I find his verses introspective and inspiring.  These are the types of poems with lines you’ll wish to memorize, share, and quote. 

His subjects vary and contrast each other in a good way.  For instance, in the poem “The Good War” he addresses the lives of different soldiers.  The next poem is called “Bees of Autumn.”  This poem is a reminiscent one remembering a lost love in autumn.  “Before the Contract” speaks of factory workers and Thomas Wolfe.  A good flow in the poem itself is always appreciated, but when used to go from one page to the next it helps the overall feel of reading the book in its entirety.

 

From the poem “The secret book-sniffer”:

“Hidden in the public library,

I sit encaved in an antique chair

(hand-carved, hand-polished)

in the Rabbi Dorfman Memorial

Reading Lounge, invisible to the

click-clicking multitude, each in his

boxed-in-solitude called computer.”

 

Lause writes in such an original way.  His book makes use of visuals, placement of words which gives the reader not only an enjoyable books of poems to read but also one that is attractive, imaginative, fresh and exciting. 

It’s a vulnerable and tender work, but also a strong and capable one as well.  This collection has plenty to say.  You will find solace, surprises, and connection within these pages.

 

~LB Sedlacek is the author of the poetry collections “I’m No ROBOT,” “Words and Bones,” “Simultaneous Submissions,” “The Adventures of Stick People on Cars,” and “The Poet Next Door.”  Her first poem novel “The Blue Eyed Side” as well as her first short story collection came out last year entitled “Four Thieves of Vinegar & Other Short Stories.”  Her mystery novel “The Glass River” was nominated for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award.  She writes poetry reviews for “The Poetry Market Ezine” www.thepoetrymarket.com  You can find out more about her at www.lbsedlacek.com

Images A Collection of Ekphrastic Poetry by Michael Escoubas

  “Images” A Collection of Ekphrastic Poetry By Michael Escoubas 148 pages ISBN: 978-81-8253-761-3 Cyberwit www.cyberwit.net ...