A Book Review of “The Keeper of Aeons” by Matthew MC Smith review from Spriha Kant

(Published by The Broken Spine) https://thebrokenspine.co.uk/product/the-keeper-of-aeons-matthew-m-c-smith/

Review of Matthew M. C. Smith’s book “The Keeper of Aeons”

                                                        Book Review by Spriha Kant

The title of the book “The Keeper of Aeons” speaks itself for the work the poet has done in this book.

The poet has beautifully painted all his poetries with metaphorical and personified strokes, influential to make the readers flow with them.

In a few poetries, the poet has recited mythological stories and beliefs, influential to drift readers into them, one of the poetries doing so is “Reunion,” quoting the following few stanzas from the poem:

“In the harbour, the sails are shrouds. The town 
  is a sleeping dog at its master’s feet. 
  They lie in the heat of night, dark forms 
  in silver light. With a gentle rise of wind, 
  the palace and Royal room are cooled 
  by the sea. She lies still, skin prickled, 
  her body barely betraying breath. 
  Her first finger rises, feels his ribs, 
  smooths a ridge of strung muscle 
  under his bow arm, a column of sinews.”

“Earlier, they crossed over, a pulsing, 
  a piling of limbs, a shine of two swords 
  clashing in Athena’s light; surging, 
  heaving, rhythms of rapture and fall”

The poet is from Swansea, Wales, and accomplished his Ph.D. in Robert Graves and Welsh Celticism from the University of Wales, Swansea in 2006. He has academic essays on Robert Graves published in The International Journal for Welsh writing in English. So, it is obvious to have a reflection of the Welsh culture, traditions, and customs, the beauties of the eminent landscapes, sacred places, and prehistoric caves present in Wales, and Welsh vocabulary in his poetries like a reflection of flora and sky in a pristine still river. The description of the beauties based on his keen observatory skills in his rivery poetries add the sun glitter by making the readers swim like ducks and wade like flamingos in his rivery poetries, showing a few shots of the sun glitter below:

“Is this the womb-temple, 
  the mouth of Annwn, 
  through ciphered rows of rocks?” 

“glint in glacier-ruins 
  where minnows flicker 
  in golden shallows”

“Step the green shelves – where shadows wind 
  and kinks of light kick as cupmarks bubble from a riven roof”

Showing glimpses of a few words used by the poet for one of the Welsh customs:  

“Horror a horse skull, bargain its bygone breath with death.
  The shock and shake of shell flays the air with its ribbon trail; 
  flails, tails, natters, rattles against glass, thumps, clunks doors ajar, 
  stealing heat to slate-sheen street.”

The poet’s attitude of flashing light on prehistoric species and objects while taking his readers on a ride to their prevailing state in the museums in synchronization with his emotions shows he is still a “fresh leaf,” on the fact that he completed his Ph.D. in 2006. However, this fresh leaf has also a deep love for prehistoric places and objects which is evident in the words he used in his poetry “Og of Coygan (Coygan Cave)”:

“When everything clears, eyes conjure images that twist in the spectrum.” 

The poet has also added different flavors in a few poems, including, satires, hard-hitting words, and recital of pathetic conditions influential to make the heart weep, quoting a few of the flavours below:

“Walk with cracked feet through heat 
  of the city. People cross as ghosts, drifting”

 “The low murmur of blood.”

“Tides are time’s erasure.”

“the paradox of human destruction versus quiet veneration”

A few poetries indicate the poet’s fascination towards “Space” which can be read in the following few stanzas from one of such poetries “What is Faith?”:

“It is knowing that nothing matters 
  that there is nothing else 

  but the dance of dust  
  around our bodies 

  and the speed 
  of light, impossibly fast 

  and far, which knows 
  no pain, an arrow without sentience. 

  That we were and are, 
  will be, so close 

  in moments uncounted, as we pass 
  through this carousel of space, 
 
  with hard laughter, 
  where lips are planets tilting 

  and limbs are luminous, 
  giant jets of cloud on axis, 

  against diamonds on black. 
  Our faith and belief are inside, 

  within, beyond each breath. 
  We, miracles of molecule, 

  with fingers that shape 
  and conduct our fervent whispers 

  to god.”

This book is a hair dyed in the streaks of archeology, nature, space, and mythology. However, there are a few poems vacuous of these streaks, such poems are scintillating like glittery hairpins in undyed black hair, one such poetry is “Winter Fever,” quoting a few following stanzas from the poetry:
   
“She kneels in silence, in a golden heart of light. 
  She is prayer, Angel. 

  Recovery is slow: veins blue, fingers white, 
  these hands, marmoreal.”

This book can be a reference for travel enthusiasts by giving them clues about the beautiful places to travel to in Wales. The poetries glittering with the beauties of the eminent landscapes present in Wales can prompt travel photographers to travel to Wales. This book can act as a root that can arouse interest in poetry and guide to writing poetry for all those untouched by poetry who are fascinated with space.  

Bios (Matthew M.C. Smith & Spriha Kant):

Matthew M. C. Smith (Poet):

Matthew M. C. Smith is a writer from Swansea, Wales. He completed a Ph.D. on Robert Graves and Welsh Celticism at the University of Wales, Swansea in 2006. He has academic essays on Robert Graves published in The International Journal for Welsh writing in English. 


Matthew is widely published with poetry and prose in Poetry Wales, The Lonely Crowd, Finished Creatures, Anti-Heroin Chic, Arachne Press, Atrium Poetry, Barren Magazine, Bold Magazine, Broken Spine Arts, Icefloe Press, Seventh Quarry, The Storms Journal, Fevers of the Mind, Bangor Literary Journal, Wales Haiku Journal, Green Ink, Twist in Time, and Acropolis Journal.
 
Matthew won the R.S. Thomas award for poetry at the Gwyl Cybi festival in 2018 and has been nominated for ‘Best of the Net’ three times by Icefloe Press, Acropolis Journal, and Broken Spine. He is the editor of Black Bough Poetry, the Silver Branch project, and the weekly online poetry platform TopTweetTuesday on Twitter. 
He published Origin: 21 Poems in 2018. The Keeper of Aeons is his second collection.

Spriha Kant (Poetess and Book Reviewer):

Spriha Kant is a poetess and a book reviewer. Her poetry "The Seashell" was first published online in the "Imaginary Land Stories." Her poetries have been published in anthologies including “Sing, Do the birds of Spring”, “A Whisper Of Your Love”, “Hard Rain Poetry: Forever Dylan”, and “Bare Bones Writing Issue 1: Fevers of the Mind”. Her work has been featured in “SYNERGY: CALLING ALL WRITERS WHO ARE PHOTOGRAPHERS” on thewombwellrainbow.com. She has been featured in the “Quick-9 interview” on feversofthemind.com. She has reviewed four poetry books, including, “Silence From The Shadows” by Stuart Matthews “Spaces” by Clive Gresswell, and “Washed Away- a collection of fragments” by Shiksha Dheda, and “Nature Speaks of Love and Sorrow” by Jeff Flesch. She has been a part of the events celebrating the launches of the books, one by Jeff Flesch for “Nature Speaks of Love and Sorrow” and the other one by Paul Brookes for “As FolkTaleTeller.”  She has collaborated with David L O’ Nan on the poetry “The Doorsteps Series.”









A Book Review of “Anatomy of a Storm-Weathered Quaint Townspeople” by Mandira Pattnaik reviewed by Sara Dobbie

“Anatomy of a Storm-Weathered Quaint Townspeople” by Mandira Pattnaik

The twenty poems of this debut collection illustrate a world of simple people with complicated undercurrents. Drawn together through hardship, toil, and natural disaster, they strive to find strength and joy in one another. “Anatomy of a Storm-Weathered Quaint Townspeople” by Mandira Pattnaik, launching on November 20, 2022 from Fahmidan Press, is a study in provincial struggle, both heart-warming and wrenching at varying points.

     From the first lines of the title poem Pattnaik takes us by the hand to guide us with stunning imagery through the small-town India of her heart and memory. The forces of nature play a large role as an overall theme, and immediately the tone of this ceaseless tug-of-war against the weather is set:

we barricade the windows, against a lashing undue storm,

and on the edge of land

hope for, just hope for, sunshine.

     Like a cross-section of the elements of community, Pattnaik puts her imagined town under a microscope slide by slide, beginning with the terrain. A major strength in these poems is an ability to paint a scene so vividly that readers are immersed in vision. The beauty of the landscape contrasted against the hard labor of the townspeople mixes a love of home with the effort to survive, allowing us an almost visual experience:

it’s an ancient metaled road

curving through Sal and Mahua, upon

the foisted earth and down the seasoned bend.

     Layers of nuance are defused through these pieces, perhaps the most powerful of which being the conflict of femininity. The soul of womanhood is woven throughout, from mothers calling their children to come home, to wives cooking “a watery broth” for their families, from a young woman yearning for a child, to an old woman looking back over life.  Feminine roles, duty and obligations are part and parcel of the storm-weathered quaint town. The woman in “Forever Afternoon” bemoans “I scoop the soil in our backyard, as wives are expected to do.” These subtle reminders of female contributions waft through rhythmic lines, creating a strong impression of deep roots. In “Woman Alone, on a Balcony” Pattnaik disarms us, hailing our attention:

hey there! woman alone!

distracted by fescues and

bleached days.

     Fading youth is transformed into a beautiful moment, a commendable one, and we feel the power of the “woman alone” growing as the poem progresses. It is clear that the foundation of community and family begins with women, as they knit together families with years of love and care.

Family too then, must be addressed and Pattnaik offers a darker portrayal in the haunting “Abeoji” when a girl meets up with her father:

it’s an accursed appointment

late on Sunday night

in streets without names

A boy journeys from the confusion of childhood to become a man in “Erosion.” Again the tone is suffused with a bleaker view, a profound sadness permeating the lines:

Hereto writes,

to his dead mother

unsure of the weave of words,

on parchment paper saved from

the last millennia.

Not lyrics, only cries.

This feeling of impending adversity is expanded on throughout Pattnaik’s exploration of the inhabitants of her storm-weathered quaint town. In “Correlation Between Fatigues and a Simple Cotton Dress” a woman laments the difficulty of separation from her soldier husband. In the ominous “Empty Pitcher in a Flooded Coal Pit” a trapped miner hopes for rescue, contemplating those who wait for him at home.

If they discover him drowned,

this yawning chasm will delicately wrap the

fabric of space for light years to come.

     The promise of this collection is its link to the future. In the closing poem, ‘Now and Beyond” the collective voice is almost chanting a vow, “we, the history of tomorrow, sow and reap the harvest of our deeds.” There iscomfort in the time-honored knowledge that through life’s arduous journeys, through toil and trouble, people can unite and take heart in their homeland, their community, and their family. Perseverance grants endurance and can be attained through joining hands with our neighbor. A part of the self is embedded in its original home, and the lure of ancestry will both pull back and push forward, into the next generation.

Bio: Learn more about Mandira with interview with Fevers of the Mind https://feversofthemind.com/2022/11/08/a-fevers-of-the-mind-quick-9-interview-with-mandira-pattnaik/

Bio for reviewer Sara Dobbie: Sara Dobbie is a Canadian writer from Southern Ontario. Her stories have appeared in Fictive Dream, Sage Cigarettes, New World Writing, Bending Genres, Ghost Parachute, Trampset, Ellipsis Zine, and elsewhere. Her chapbook “Static Disruption” is available from Alien Buddha Press. Her collection “Flight Instinct” is forthcoming from ELJ Editions (2022). Follow her on Twitter @sbdobbie, and on Instagram at @sbdobwrites. https://feversofthemind.com/2022/09/08/a-fevers-of-the-mind-quick-9-interview-with-sara-dobbie/

New book “Oil Stains Like Rorschachs” Out by Author Matthew McGuirk from Anxiety Press

Matthew McGuirk’s latest Hyrid Collection “Oil Stains Like Rorschachs” is now available from Anxiety Press which you can purchase on Amazon here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BKMS59Y8

This is what some other great writers are saying about Matthew McGuirk’s new book.

In this collection, McGuirk establishes his reputation as one of the most celebrated short-story writers in modern American letters.


“McGuirk’s writing wraps around your heart like a snapped coolant belt from Brook’s Autos. Oil stains like Rorschachsassembles broken youths failed by their parent’s own expectations and failures. Bonded by oil spills and ink splatters these perfectly articulated misfits find the tools to repair not only the autos that bring them together but also themselves. Yet not everything or everyone can always be fixed.” — James Jenkins, author of Parochial Pigs

“Matt McGuirk’s latest hybrid collection is a masterclass in voice. Once you dive head first into Brooks’ School of Grease Monkeys, you won’t want to come up for air. The vivid cast of characters Matt creates draws you into their world, their lives, and their stories punctuated with poignant poetry. Blending realism and compassion, Matt’s crew will make you think, long after you close the book.” — Beth Mulcahy, Pushcart Prize nominated poet and writer

“Like Carver before him, McGuirk takes men from hardscrabble lives and humanises them using the soft edges we all possess, even if we hide them from view. This collection fits together like a purring, powerful engine.” — Scott Cumming Author of A Chapbook About Nothing and The Blue Chapbook

“Matthew McGuirk masters poetry and prose alike, and jumps from one to the other elegantly in this accomplished collection, offering us memories of various moments of a lifetime in varying flows of words and tones which mirrors the meandering of one introspective mind, that is sometimes detailed, sometimes economical, but always deep and compassionate with the author’s trademark witty bleakness that makes him such a delight to read.” — BF Jones, author of Something Happened at 2am

Here are some links to Matthew’s work here on Fevers of the Mind.

https://feversofthemind.com/2022/07/20/poetry-open-roads-and-roadblocks-from-matthew-mcguirk/

https://feversofthemind.com/2022/06/30/poetry-by-matthew-mcguirk-shelf-life/

https://feversofthemind.com/2022/05/31/a-grammarians-love-poetry-by-matthew-mcguirk/

https://feversofthemind.com/2022/05/02/poetry-a-rainy-day-by-matthew-mcguirk/

https://feversofthemind.com/2022/04/06/new-poem-tides-by-matthew-mcguirk/

https://feversofthemind.com/2021/12/17/a-book-review-of-daydreams-obsessions-realities-from-matthew-mcguirk-alien-buddha-press-review-by-matthew-da-silva/

https://feversofthemind.com/2021/12/09/a-fevers-of-the-mind-quick-9-interview-with-matthew-mcguirk/

Here is Matthew’s Linktree

https://linktr.ee/McGuirkMatthew

Twitter: @McGuirkMatthew Instagram: @mcguirk_matthew





Book Review “Wiregrass and Other Poems” from Moira J. Saucer review from David L O’Nan

Pre-Order here from Ethel Zine https://www.ethelzine.com/shop/wiregrass-and-other-poems-by-moira-j-saucer

Moira J Saucer is a disabled poet living in the Alabama Wiregrass. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Her worked has appeared in literary magazines and anthologies in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada including Black Bough Poetry Freedom- Rapture anthology, Visual Verse, Fly on the Wall Press, Ice Floe PressMooky Chick, Floodlight Editions, and Fevers of the Mind Poets of 2020.

Wiregrass and Other Poems review by David L O’Nan

I have been lucky enough to read Wiregrass and Other Poems and just the wonderful, melancholy collective works of Moira J. Saucer.  I admire Moira's writing and have been inspired to keep writing short story style poetry & prose due to Moira encouraging me with a story I submitted a few years ago to IceFloe Press.  I actually knew someone was actually reading my work again.  I received a "Best of the Net Nomination" for this piece and thank Moira, and IceFloe Press very much for keeping my confidence and expanding my style of writings now into my 40's.

This collection from Moira, is the gut of her soul.  It is the heartbreak, the sadness, the wanting to escape, the bewitching hour of living in the darkness and wondering if the moon will shine down on some Alabama Wiregrass tonight.   It is a recovery, back into your own cynicism, to lost, to feeling Godless to feeling God is in everything.  Wiregrass and Other Poems pours the aching hours of years into one  quick ride that you learn the heart of Moira.  The kindness of Moira, and where our mind goes when ends are coming. The Darkness of Moira.   I sit in this same kind of wanting solace, but never seeing the real Sun.  Almost like a ghost, the sun fades quickly just are you are discovering it is there.

"When You Fall"  :   "There you are conveniently sick and poor. You are trouble wrapped in thrift store clothes, a motley creature with little possibility for redemption"     a sad poem about remembering a more youthful time as a woman and feeling trapped by the never-ending days that stretch our mind more and more into the unknown.

"I survived the dark descent, the five years of shame, poverty and-
and yes hell."

"Homeless and Broke" :  A tale that feels like you're forever traveling long dark Alabama roads.  As i've done many times traveling from Kentucky/Indiana to New Orleans by car.  Forever on dark Alabama roads.  You get that sneak of Mobile, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery.   But then you just see shadowy trees that jump-stare at you like Frankenstein's Monster at 3 A.M.  looking for the Waffle House sign that doesn't sound good.       "I lay awake at night the pain from Fibro like sharp invisible knives thrusting and turning into muscle and tendon. The portent of my death"    Long lasting pain just like a long night of dark roads....doesn't ever feel to end.

"Woman A/The" :   A remembrance of glory days now feel like descent.   "She lies in a cot. The roaches crawl on her white skin. Flies hover over her bloody chest"

"When She was dying" for Quinn : A poem about memories, where you'd like to stay in those memories.  But family, a mother has to fade and you're never ready.     "She wore an otherworldly glow flushed from love and cancer"

"Wiregrass" : A poem of the wildness that once was.  Alabama nights  lead to the mischief, the rebellion, the fun, the regrets, the sadness in old lightbulbs.   "My days are spent cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, praying. Praying to stave off sorrow and madness, but sometimes these twin demons...wait outside the doors for blindness to set in, for gladness to fade"

"Wounds"  A poem about caring for someone who no longer can care fully for themselves.  The sadness they have seeps into yourself. And it just becomes too much to handle.     "Our bodies knit together flesh so we can go on living...but the wound memory is always there"

"Flower Thief"  A wonderfully put together poem that must be read. Very metaphorically, yet visibly strong. Imagery shines.   "the pallid woman told him she saw me stealing flowers... they call me a flower thief my crimes  stealing stars hope from the gods brilliant light"

"Kindness"  Heartbreak poem....love, lost, love, deception, love, forgiveness, or a void.       "She didn't fight the judgments. It was important to avoid ruffling waters, telling the truth. He had claimed to be an honest man, yet blamed her for his lust"

"Marbles"  wonderful imagery.   "I love marbles...bought beautiful ones in Chicago just to gaze at them lost now"    comparisons of just watching something in amazement for what it is and not what it should be. 

"Charolais"  "The Whole property was once pecan trees and cattle...Now there is only a pasture"....

"Midwife for Robert"  about friendship, motivation, refreshed, and appreciative of art, poetry, work, what a non-narcissistic view will help guide you to greatness when it comes to writing, art, your true heart's desire. The creative starvation sometimes has to be purged back out with the hope.    "Poems began to die from lack of oxygen...the poems and I began to die"

"Origins, at Sixty-Five"  I've read this poem many times and always amazed by how well it is structured together to convey to never give up what creates you and what you create.   "I shook the grain out into my hand, ancient yet bright, polished and buffed by the seas"

"Summertime"  Stuck in the muck of another summer down South during the hardest times, wanting to get out, but fate will not let you escape at this time....   "It's time for tornado season with no shelter, no place to hide, and it's god-awful-hot under the canopy of scabbed pecan trees"

"Loss"  The frustrations during the hardest period of time as a grand whole for the country. Especially, when you are living down south and what is fed to you is a machine of mudslinging.      "Pastels, beautiful colors, rolling onto emptiness of white space. I wept blending them-radiant pigments, a gorgeous burning nightmare"

"Night Visitation"  "Roads in Alabama roll away like giant tar pits, the blackness-deafening, dangerous"

"Vampire Story"  A story/poem about after you lose someone and  you just search for anything to keep your mind off it. To infatuate yourself with anything.  A story.  Mundane, love, cheesiness, or just leave me alone everyone and let me transcend away for awhile.

"August, 2019"   Very well put together poem using nature as a symbol in the imagery representing the blooming and the blackness of rolling clouds through the Summer.    "The garden flowers now shriveled, having bloomed into scattered color madness"

"Chrysalis (Queer Butterfly)" "The open road is transformed...I wait for you in a garden dense and fragrant"  a beautiful poem.

"Did I Tell You"   "We create another self...dissociate to absorb trauma." "The Second self watches from a distance being battered and gets exhausted too"      brilliant!  

4 poems from Fevers of the Mind Poets of 2020 by Moira J Saucer 

Pandemic Love & other Affinities from Icefloe press an anthology 

Current bio for Fevers of the Mind’s David L O’Nan editor/writing contributor to blog. 

 *Announcements for October including release of Deluxe Edition of Before the Bridges Fell (Fevers of the Mind Press)*  

Paperback & Kindle version of Cursed Houses is now available from David L O’Nan on this link below




Paperback & Kindle version of Cursed Houses is now available from David L O’Nan on this link below

https://amzn.to/3gknC3r U.S. Link

https://amzn.to/3Tz0QTy U.K. link

https://amzn.to/3eNdUGi Australia link

https://amzn.to/3yW6ozv France link

https://amzn.to/3eKCozN Canada link (site is a bit wonky when I went though)

https://amzn.to/3yWJx6X India link

https://bit.ly/3s919ZN Poland link

please check for your link if not listed above.

read acknowledgment blurbs at link below:

Cursed Houses by David L O’Nan coming out next week!