1. Poetry Magazine March 2015 [link to purchase]
As always, Poetry is a great literary journal. Always has at least one fantastic poem (if not completely full). They’ve been branching out more, but there will always be Greek mythology-laden poems harkening to the literary obsession started by the Romans. Anyway, some great poems in here: “Diameter” by Michelle Y. Burke, “Sunday in the Panopticon” by Charlie Bondhus, “Biohack Manifesto” by Jillian Weise, and “Two Men & a Truck” by Laura Kasischke.
4.5/5 stars: subscribe to this if you like contemporary poetry.
2. breakable things, Loren Kleinman [link to website] $9.99 Amazon
Warning: descriptions of violence against author.
You may remember that I posted a blog recently, “We All Have Bad Days,” and the writer who inspired that post sent me a copy of her latest book of poetry. It’s taken me some time, but I read through all of the book. Her style is different than what I’m used to here (Long Beach and Los Angeles poets). There is a lot of darkness, violence, and early morning beauty in these pages. The title poem opens the collection and is a superb example of concise, hard-hitting poetry. My favorite poem was “The Beds I Slept In.” If you like dark and sometimes violent actions juxtaposed with often breathtakingly beautiful images, this is a book you should pick up.
4/5 stars: great images and use of words, recommended.
3. East of Los Angeles, John Brantingham [link to purchase] $15.00 Amazon
John Brantingham is a poet local to the San Gabriel Valley, and hosts a lot of writing workshops, readings, etc along with being social glue. He teaches at Mt. San Antonio College. I’ve had this collection for a long time, and just now read it. There are some really great poem in here. He discusses childhood, nature, and of course, the nature of LA and his relationship to the cityscapes and suburban areas that make up this metro area. His poetry is often reflective and self-aware in interesting ways. Some of my favorites from this collection are “What I Remember” and “In a Canadian School.” If you like self-reflective poetry about the relationships of people to place, this is a great collection.
4/5 stars: simple imagery and words that make you think and feel.