Daughters of Harriet

Drawing inspiration from the life of Harriet Tubman, Cynthia Parker-Ohene’s poetic narratives follow a historical arc of consciousness of Black folks: mislaid in potters’ fields and catalogued with other misbegotten souls, now unsettled as the unknown Black denominator. Who loved them? Who turned them away? Who dismembered their souls? In death, they are the institutionalized […]

Glacial Decoys

In Trisha Brown’s Glacial Decoy, the performance that lends its title to Luke Roberts’s new book, Glacial Decoys, a group of five female dancers wearing long, pleated white dresses spin, slide, and shoulder their way across the stage, moving against a backdrop of projected black-and-white photographs that change at regular intervals. The dance unfolds in […]

Wifthing

Pattie McCarthy’s experimental poetry collection Wifthing blends traditional sonnet forms, medieval female experiences, and contemporary feminist issues. The collection divides into a triptych: a series of twenty-five poems titled “margerykempething” followed by a series of twenty-five poems titled “qweyne wifthing,” and the final series of thirty poems titled “goodwifthing.” One section carefully threads into another, […]

Maps of Injury

I have avoided writing this essay. This essay was really supposed to be strictly a review, written and published a year ago. In the world of publishing, reviews are timely and scheduled around commercial purposes. But nothing about life since the publication of Maps of Injury has been timely or felt purposeful. So this review-cum-essay […]

Rise and Float

According to the Victoria State Government (as in Victoria, Australia), “An object floats when the weight force on the object is balanced by the upward push of the water on the object.” Which is to say: we’re able to float in water because whatever force that is weighing us down is not stronger than the […]

Even Shorn

In a note on the poem “Drunkard’s Path” in her debut poetry collection, Even Shorn, Isabel Duarte-Gray suggests that “Quilt patterns frequently assume sinister titles, perhaps because they allow women to see the patterns of their lives sub specie aeternitatis.” The quilting of a beautiful, sinister pattern in the hands of women seems part of […]

The Survival Expo

One could call it Middle America, the Heartland, Jesusland, or any number of other monikers ranging from pejorative to complimentary. Caki Wilkinson lands on the politicized “flyover” country, which she uses as the backdrop and central character of her third collection, The Survival Expo. Wilkinson, a Tennessee native, writes about her home with a fluid […]

Blood Flower

Blood Flower Photo by kanegen Sometimes my gentle father texts me warnings or jokes, or waterbird photos from his walk around the lake in central Florida. Once, my father texted me what to do if an elephant charges me: watch its ears. If they are pinned back, apparently you have seconds before it attacks. Just […]