A Book Review of “Against the Woods’ Dark Trunks” by Jack B. Bedell reviewed by David L O’Nan

A review of Jack B. Bedell’s “Against the Woods’ Dark Trunks” from Mercer University Press (2022)

I rarely find a poet out there that is truly an original. I become envious as a poet myself, to the marvelous observational style poetry that Jack paints with his words. Jack takes everyday life (not just the mundane, but just observation of nature, of travels) and creates a masterful poem out of something you didn’t know was able to be observed in so thoroughly.

Jack’s work also makes me miss the traveling aspect of life. He is obviously well read and very educated when it comes to poetic forms.

He isn’t just rambling out sentences. He is a deep thinker. He is very cognizant of reactions. A listener, an observer. Jack will take you to the swamps of Louisiana into the caves of Tennessee. He will haunt you with some findings, he will make you smile with the next. His family is a deep influence on what he writes. And what else would you expect from a former poet laureate of Louisiana. A state I spent a little time in. He’ll take you through Louisiana even if you’ve never put a boot in muddy swamp marsh.

We begin with Another Night, Just, easing into Until the Rice BoilsSunlight would turn the kitchen-counters honey gold, and all clanks would make song” Yes, Yes We DoThe Metallic taste of snake’s blood must surely dance on his tongue like the sweet dervish of revenge” Bill Evans on Kind of Blue Reeds take flight any time his line flicks near their feet. And always the glow of the trumpet rains down on everything in warm bursts, sometimes a bath, sometimes a wave...”

Mil Mascaras growing up and still a wrestling fan some of these poems about wrestling feel like they were written for people like me in mind. “I am Mil Mascaras, a man with a thousand holds in my arsenal. I do not need a partner to face down their tag team, only a constant glide from suplex to boston crab…”Iapetus (for Robbie and Cathy Wallace) brilliant writing “She wants to dram of serpents’ coils rolling just under the water’s surface…Amano (for Frank Relle Gallery, NOLA) ” Even what’s left of this broken cypress tree hasn’t given up reaching for the sky” All Spirits Must Take a Name (Adams, Tennessee) this one resonates with me since this cave in Adams is haunted as hell. My mother broke her leg at home at the same time we were lingering this cave. “Even if you were not Kate alive, take that name to twist your scream into voice. Use it as an answer when they beg to know who’s poisoned John Bell”

Six More Weeks (Bonnet Carre Spillway, May 2019) “With such a death grip on our land, guarding it against the river, can we help but squeeze out ghosts?” Serpents and Insects, 1647 based from an oil on canvas, Otto Marseus van Schrieck, New Orleans Museum of Art. “White moths hover in spare light and snakes coil around mushrooms growing at the base of this tree” Gougou (Gulf of Saint Lawrence) “She pulls scales from her hips, frees them to float in the water like manta raysBurn, Hollywood, BurnHe snips out one side of the box for a picture window, lines the inside edges with gold satin for drapes, but he can’t find an image of a fiery field anywhere…Memory: Unsorted is a poem about his father and his intrigue with boxing growing up. WendigoWhen you speak his name a second time, do not grin. His spirit will slip past your teeth into the core. All light will wane from your eyes,…”DisparationNo more shuffle of slipper across wood, no smell of onions sweating in a skillet”

GrassmanHis smell still there, always, sticks thick to the grain like disease armadillos sprayOf Proxies and Moonshadow first of all genius title of a poem “The way a stab wound smiles when the skin around it shifts, how nineteen of those wounds sing like a choir when the girl bleeds herself across the forest’s floor...” P.V. O’Neill’s Grave (Oakland Cemetery Shreveport, LA) “No roots left from the falling, though, and even fewer signs it matters” Three Steps Off the Ropes another wrestling poem bringing up the legendary “Silver King”, Just Another Day in November (List Murder House, Antieau Gallery, NOLA)How ordinary would a house have to be to hold an entire family dead, zipped up in sleeping bags on the living room floor for a solid month before any of the neighbors, or teachers, or police thought to ask”

Window with Ladder-Too Late to Help (Leandro Erich, 2006 New Orleans Museum of Art) , The Pale Man’s Eyes Never Leave the Horizon -(Lake Champlain) “When a wave rolls up out of nowhere, do not look down, It is my body shifting under the surface” “I sharpen each night, waiting for the crunch of bones you are” Dusk, MeditationSometimes the truth hides in the wide open of a shorn cane field and no matter how you stare its lines will refuse to define themselvesAugury -Queen Bess Island “The cadence of their lives tells stories in flattened shore grass, single eggs in sand-movement and birth and loss”

New Beach, Elmer’s Island -Caminada Headlands 2018, Beached Whale, Terrabone Parish, 2016How golden it would be if the whale’s old kin walked past trees like ours into their first salt water” Marsh Horsesby marsh grass rising out of the lake, ghosts of a full coastline reaching out into the open pass” La LechuzaFrom the moment you hear her cry, only dead things will hold beauty for you. At some point during every conversation you have with a neighbor, or mailman, or lover, their flesh will melt away” Pecan Grove with Body Farm, The White Alligator – For Emma “What more could his slow smile want” City of Nature – Kotea Ezawa, 2011, Black RushMy father told us about a shadow in the marsh that could see inside anyone it came across” Memory: BatsThey held each other close, blinked their eyes against the harsh light as if the plague of morning had come upon them early”

Death Comes to the Banquet Table, ca 1630-40 from oil on canvas, Giovanni Martinelli, New Orleans Museum of Art “The last grain of sand drops to the bottom of the glass and it simply does not matter that desert has barely suffered touch” Goujon – after Mai Der Vang’s “Phantom Talker”The Old men will tell you, I am the dark thing with gaping mouth waiting deep in the silt under still waters” Rolled Over Into Waves -White River, 1915, Voucher “Like in 1933, at six, how he had to walk downtown one day with a voucher stuffed in his pocket that would get his family one cooked goose, or two liveTraiteuseAlways a fever the wild kicking of legs and tears to tend. Her soft prayers fill the room to overflowing Memory: Touch “and others I cannot touch but feel nonetheless, or would touch given the chance” St. Lucy Led to Her Martydom – Bernadino Fungai, circa 1490, LittoralIn the space between water’s edge and forest, the shoreline blooms with thimbleberry and clover-sunlight, mist off reeds, and my back flat against the dew

Stink – Henderson Swamp “The swamp smells heavy like a soul tethered to the heat dripping down every windowSometimes the Alligator Gets to Write the EndingThe alligator is not compelled to carry the opossum safely to the other side of the bayou” Sometimes You Get the Bull, Sometimes – Angola Prison Rodeo, 2013 “There’s got to be a moment when the inmate clown wants the bull to stomp him out, that long second when the dust kicked up from the bull’s charge rises toward heaven…”Q&A – For Thomas WhiteThe other side of sickness or pain is heaven, and that last much longer than it takes to empty your stomach”

Owl-and Wolf-Infested Lands -after Bachelin “bent away as salt water creeps in through the canal” Like Asin at the Edge of the WoodsIt would not matter there’s no undertow, not with catfish or copperheads pressing bellies to the mottled bottom” La Llorona Rests Her Feet in the CreekThe Mountain lions always come to me in pairs at night, heads low, with ears peeled back, contrite” There is No Train but the Tracks Will Lead You There -Honey Island “No need for maps or guides to find the swamp’s heart” There is WindYes, there is wind. And waves. For now, the ghost of trees and lines of reed remain” In the Open Space of a Crawfish Pond, PresageI’ve had old people down the bayou tell me animals carry all the truth” The News, AgainI tell her all hope can swell to fit our idea of God. She wants to know if that hope dies, too, if we don’t take care of it”

ConflationHis socks were filthy from the slogging through the Quarter during the morning’s flood. As hot as it was, those socks must have felt divine on his feet, like a river of cool breeze…” Neighbor TonesEven when scales cannot reconcile themselves geometrically, we can choose to hear them together”

Bio: Jack B. Bedell is a Professor of English and coordinator of Creative Writing at Southeastern Louisiana University where he also edits Louisiana Literature and directs the Louisiana Literature Press. Jack’s work has appeared in dozens of journals. His previous collections include No Brother, This Storm (Mercer University Press, 2018), and Color All Maps New (Mercer University Press, 2021), He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate, 2017-2019

A Book Review for “Washed Away – a collection of fragments” by Shiksha Dheda review by Spriha Kant

https://tinyurl.com/czrd3c3r to purchase a copy!

                                                          Book Review by “Spriha Kant”

The book “Washed Away- a collection of fragments”, published by the publishing house “Alien Buddha Press”, is a book reciting the journey of the physical and metaphysical struggle experienced with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (and Depression) by the poetess “Shiksha Dheda”. The poetess desires to make the readers understand her journey and support her which she stated in the following stanzas in the foreword section:

“I want the reader to join me on my journey: why I feel the disorder galloped into existence, how this disorder has been sustained and how I view the future living alongside this disorder.”

“Join me as I try to salvage that which survives; that which persists – refusing to accept defeat.”

The poetess also bared the reason she kept the title of her book “Washed Away: a collection of fragments” in the foreword section:

“Every day, it is as though my personality is being eroded [washed away] by these disorder(s); I have to heal [rebuild/regrow] from the wounds or gaps that it leaves in my life.” 
Also, this poetry book is fragmented into three sections. The first section is “Soap Lathering”, the middle section is “Rinsing”, and the final section is “Drying”. Each section is a collection of poetries describing the different phases of her journey. She named each section according to the stages of “handwashing” which was emphasized during the COVID-19 pandemic. This indicates the reason she chose the words “a collection of fragments” in the title of this book.

The poetess used concise language to acknowledge the readers with her journey. She left no stone unturned in covering her journey’s depth from each aspect.

In a few poetries, the poetess gave glimpses of the symptoms of her disorder, one of which is in the poetry “Why am I, mother?”, a few lines reflecting this are:

“I am standing on the threshold of sanity, mother”

“I am standing on the outskirts of normalcy, mother 
   with invisible rain drenching my face.”

“I can’t recognize myself anymore.”

The poetess in some of the poetries even did a stinging satire on society's negative attitude towards those suffering from mental disorders and the falling of such patients into the stygian abyss due to their cornering by society.
One of the poetries covering this angle is “Shadow”, as quoted below:

“Irrespective of where I stood, 
  the shadow of my personality always 
  seemed to mar their brightness. 
  I retreated to the darkness instead. 
  I retreated to the darkness instead.”

The poetess in some of her poetries openly exposed her shattered condition with a few hard-hitting words, one of the poetries covering this is “Phobia” as quoted below:

“I don’t think I was that afraid of 
  heights or germs or even 
  of intimacy. 

  I was afraid of the most probable, 
  likeliest, most commonplace 
  thing of all: 
  living”

The poetess in a few of her poetries gave details on how her mind used to keep on drowning in a labyrinth of unrealistic quests and dreams and hallucinations, especially at night making her nights sleepless and without peace. This side of hers can be felt in K.P. DeLaney’s poetry “I Have Insomnia” from his poetry book “Swill and Daffodils”:

“I took a swim in the river.	
  the bottom kept changing
  and I lost my feet.
  I haven’t slept right 
  ever since.”

The poetess in some of her poetry gave details on how the constant haunting of her past made her stagnant water. One of the poetries reflecting this is “Old Things” as quoted below:

             “I tried new things 
but the carcass of the old things 
              took up too 
              much space”

The poetess not only confined herself to using imagery metaphors and personifications but she also used oxymorons which most poets and poetesses are still not able to do, one of the lines in which the poetess used oxymoron is quoted below:

“A silent friend singing praise of my strangeness.”



The poetess in her poetry “Attached” also shone a light on that point when she started feeling uncertain about her recovery and started considering this as her inexorable journey, a few stanzas quoted from this piece below:


“I wondered often: 
 is my disorder as attached to me 
 as I am to it? 
 Would it leave me 
 as easily as it had joined me? 

 Or would we have to live like this 
 forever?”

Even amidst all the vulnerabilities and shattered phases that the poetess was undergoing, the poetess had the desire and courage to overcome and to become a person like she used to be before her disorder as she reflected this in a few of her poetries, quoting a few stanzas from her poetry “Crumbs” and a few lines from her poetry “Difficult (re)introductions” reflecting this side of the poetess,

A few stanzas from the poetry “Crumbs”:

“It's like this disorder had systematically hollowed 
  out my personality. 
  Eroding and rusting 
  all my likes and dislikes 
  —           leaving behind only remnants, 

  crumbs. 

  Somehow, 
  I had to make a meal 
  —food—
  —sustenance—
  —life—

   from these 
   crumbs.” 

A few lines from the poetry “Difficult (re)introductions”:

“Introduce me to me, 

  like old days, 
  like how I used to be.”

The poetess however started feeling optimistic lately as she expressed in a few of her poetries, one such poetry is “Butterfly” as quoted below:

“And just as the caterpillar 
  became a butterfly, 
       life didn't seem like a burden anymore. 
              It flew with small pretty wings. 
              Even if just for a short while.”

The poetess deserves to be highly praised for boldly facing her mental illness and for inspiring many people undergoing such phase directly/indirectly through this book by exposing this phase of her openly that most people are still not able to which is reflected in her poetry “Under Lock and Key”, quoting a few lines showing glimpses of the reflection:

  “What if they think I am a freak? What if they lock me up and throw away     
     the key?”

    “What if I am made to live inside another prison? A prison outside of my   
      mind. A prison I can’t recognize. A prison I can’t wash away.”

It is high time society considers removing mental illness as a “taboo issue” and treats the patients suffering from mental illness with kindness and empathy. 



Bio: Shiksha Dheda uses poetry(mostly) to express her OCD and depression roller-coaster ventures. Sometimes, she dabbles in photography, painting, and baking lopsided layered cakes. 
Her work has been featured (on/forthcoming) in Off Menu Press, The Daily Drunk, The Kalahari Review, Brave Voices, Anti-heroin Chic, Versification, and elsewhere. Twitter: @ShikshaWrites

Bio for Spriha Kant (reviewer):  developed an interest in reading and writing poetries at a very tender age. Her poetry "The Seashell" was first published online in the "Imaginary Land Stories" on August 8, 2020, by Sunmeet Singh. She has been a part of Stuart Matthew’s anthologies “Sing, Do the birds of Spring” and “A Whisper Of Your Love” in the fourth and fifth series of the books from #InstantEternal poetry prompts. She has been featured in the Bob Dylan-inspired anthology “Hard Rain Poetry: Forever Dylan” by the founder and editor of the website “Fevers of the Mind Poetry and Art” David L O’ Nan. Her poetries have been published in the anthology “Bare Bones Writing Issue 1: Fevers of the Mind”. Paul Brookes has featured her poetry, “A Monstrous Shadow” as the “Seventh Synergy” in “SYNERGY: CALLING ALL WRITERS WHO ARE PHOTOGRAPHERS” on his blog “Wombwell Rainbow”. She has been featured in the “Quick-9 interview” on feversofthemind.com by David L’O Nan. Paul Brookes has featured some of her poetries on his blog “Wombwell Rainbow” including Acrostic poetry “A Rainstorm”, the Alphabet poem “I am an independent Happy Single Woman”, “Travel in the laps of Nature” on National Poetry Day, “Giving Up The Smooch” for World Suicide Prevention Day, and “I love your smile” for World Smile Day. She has reviewed the poetry books “Silence From The Shadows” by Stuart Matthews and “Spaces” by Clive Gresswell.  She has been a part of the event that celebrated the #1 Amazon New Release of the debut poetry book of Jeff Flesch “Nature Speaks of Love and Sorrow” by lending her poetic response “Stay Away” to one of the poetries in the book “Love’s Trials” on Jeff Flesch’s website.


A Book Review of Silence from the Shadows by Stuart Matthews (review from Spriha Kant)

Book Review by Spriha Kant

“Silence from the Shadows” is a collection of beautiful short poetries
fastened with easy words. 

The poet beautifully portrays how a person’s poetry dances to the feelings of the deep love that he/she has for his/her beloved as can be felt in two of his poetries, ‘Poetry Book’ and ‘Let Poetry Resonate’. The poet also encourages the youngsters for weaving their feelings into poetries by stating the greatness of poetries in the last stanza of the poem “Embrace The Power Of Words”:
        “Death by poetry 
Yet life through words” 

In some poetries, the poet beautifully described the different phases including sunrise, sunset, night, and evening as well as their transition to their succeeding phase using metaphors and personification of the celestial bodies that can be read in a few words quoted from his poetry, “Setting Sun” below:

              “The setting sun 
      Accepts her time is done” 

The poet also shines a light on the melancholic phase, despairs, fears, numbness, and helplessness in some of his poems that can be read in a few stanzas and a few words quoted from the poetries below:

A few stanzas from the poetry, “Lost in Fear”: 

“As children of the nightmare 
    We have nowhere to run 
Trapped within the shadows 
     Of someone else's sun”

“The chains that shackled 
  And the broken delights 
  Reside now as a memory 
       Within the darkest 
            Of the coldest   
                Of nights”


A few words quoted from the poetry, “We Stand Frozen”:

       “Cold is the hour 
We stand frozen in awe”

This book says a lot in depth with just a few easy words, making it easier to understand even by unpoetic minds. 


   https://www.amazon.com/Silence-Shadows-Stuart-Matthews-ebook/dp/B087C9YL6Y

https://books.google.com/books/about/Silence_from_the_Shadows.html?id=QmKUzQEACAAJ

https://stuartmatthewsauthor.co.uk/silence-from-the-shadows

Bio for reviewer Spriha Kant:
Spriha Kant is born in Indore, India, and resides there with her family. She developed an interest in reading and writing poetries at a very tender age. Her poetry "The Seashell" was first published online in the "Imaginary Land Stories" on August 8, 2020, by Sunmeet Singh. She has been a part of Stuart Matthew’s anthology “Sing, Do the birds of Spring” in the fourth series of books from 
#InstantEternal poetry prompts. She has been featured in the Bob Dylan-inspired anthology “Hard Rain Poetry: Forever Dylan” by the founder and editor of the website Fevers of the Mind 
“David L O’Nan”. Her poetries have been published 
in the anthology “Bare Bones Writing Issue 1: Fevers of the Mind”

2 poems by Spriha Kant from Hard Rain Poetry Forever Dylan Anthology 

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Poetess Spriha Kant


A Poetry book Review of “Afterglow” by Michelle Marie Jacquot

http://www.michellemariejacquot.com

copyright (c) 2022 Michelle Marie Jacquot

“Afterglow will be releasing on 9/17/2022” Pre-order info is available within links on Michelle’s site and Barnes & Noble listing on bottom of page.

Michelle Marie has many avenues pointing her in many different arrows in her career. As an actress in Los Angeles, to a singer, to having a comedic sense of humor. She has also had a Barnes & Noble best-seller in “Death of a Good Girl” and I interviewed her for a quick-9 interview last year around the time “Deteriorate” was released. A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Michelle Marie Jacquot (Poet, Actress, singer/songwriter)

The most interesting thing you find from Michelle’s personality is through her writing. Poetry in quick deep thoughts, a comedy (at times a dark comedy), a reality of false absurdities of some of the people that surround her, mostly though she is a thinker. I may be outdating myself but her new book “Afterglow” reminds me of a pandemic vision through the old Jack Handey “SNL sketches” written through the beginning of pandemic times to the current and her observations of whatever a “new normal” is.

The book includes a quick excerpt to the recently passed poetic genius “Lawrence Ferlinghetti” and from there you are fall into the mindset of how these changes have everyone scurrying to the zone of “Where the fuck do we go now?” and are we still supposed to think for ourselves or for the masses.

This book reminds everyone to be themselves. Write out your feelings. Don’t feed a populous ego. An excerpt from Alfred D’Souza sets the stages on how during a couple of years of unknowing can shape your personality and vision for yourself and for beliefs.

These poems are real! Comedic, sarcastic, sadness at times, loving at times.

The familiar feeling of poems such as “Party of One” we got older and did anyone including ourselves notice?

Familiar and deep thinking short poems “Wherever She Went” “I Used to Have Dreams” “My 2020 Presidential Run” Here We Are Now, Entertain Us”, “Customer Service in May”, “Where is My Mind” all play upon this idea of the every day during the pandemic. Is this a normal day, or is this weird, or does it matter? Answers? Well hmm…We can write at least. And these poems are done with a quick flare of deep thought comedy that inside feels a sadness as well.

One of my favorite poems in this collection is “Maybe Heaven Got Boring” as Michelle goes into deep thinking watching an ant on her balcony ledge and comparing that to wondering if decisions such as brushing an ant away or letting it be is the same as how God would feel trying to make a decision on anything. Ants, humans, days, nights, sun, planets, oceans, otherwise?

“I Can’t Stop Reading My Horoscope” brings me back to my childhood and constantly reading my horoscope and thinking I am supposed to be feeling exactly as this writing is saying, or hell i’m nothing like this at the moment. Horoscopes always used to feel like an exact and ruled out any other possible characteristics that are passed to us.

Anger and boredom such as “Today I Wanted to Break a Plate” makes you wonder if hmmm…a metaphor can be a reality according to a moment’s notice of anger or an energy.

This is a collection of poems (comedic, pandemic, sad, happy, mad and wonderfully crafted)

Excellent, smart, metaphoric, quick/deep thinking brilliance from Michelle.

follow her on instagram @michellemariejacquot

twitter @michellejacquot

Cover photography by Marg

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/afterglow-michelle-marie-jacquot/1142020955

A Book Review of Every Poem a Potion, Every Song a Spell by Stephanie Parent (reviewed by David L O’Nan & Jessica Weyer Bentley)

Book Review from Every Poem a Potion, Every Song a Spell by Stephanie Parent (Querencia Press, LLC Chicago, IL 2022)

A Review of “Every Poem a Potion, Every Song A Spell” by David L O’Nan

As I began reading to foreword to Stephanie’s book I knew I wasn’t about to read just any collection of poetry. 

I was about to read into the heart of a girl growing up that had equal fascinations with the beauty of

The characters and the macabre of the stories.   The Light, the darkness, the fairytales, the evening falling back in the coals.  

The perception that life can be beautiful, but with the cloud of doubt simmering by.

Influenced by folktales of Gretchen and Disney movies. These are poetry based on truisms and fantasy.

Are they all really that different?

While Hollywood tried their best to glam up the Cinderella, the Sleeping Beauty, the Snow White and Little Mermaid and so on, it seemed there was someone’s haunting voice that said that wasn’t my image when I began to write about what is NOT happening. How life is NOT treating everyone equally.

And women of the day could fell every bit of this dismal falsehoods of love and everafters, only to find  the abuses of wars and Princes who could never life up to sainthood.

The examples:

From “When Everything Else Was Gone” 

“Girls who walked barefoot through the snow 

Girls who wove cloth fine enough the fit through the eye Of a needle”

Girls who found the treasure within

A Million grains of rice” …  The Key to their own   Salvation.

From Into the Forest:

The common theme of woods enters the picture from folklore

“Conjures scraped knees, ripped dresses

Pounding hearts

Secrets and monsters and

Salvation”…

“Men might march through

With axes and torchs

“But women slip sidewise

Through the branches

Welcoming fear and shadow

As familiar friends”

The constant slurs and abuse from the older women. “The Evil stepmothers” and a consistent view of how men wouldn’t push past boundaries to be stronger humans and enforce what has always been taught to be brawny and fearless and at times abusive.

From Part One: Strange Creatures:

How womanhood changes at a young age affect a personality and confidence or a shame at least temporarily.

“I never wanted to be a human girl

Who sweated under her arms

Grew prickly hairs on her legs

Bled between her thighs”

She just wanted to be a mermaid.  To live the fantasy of not having to deal with the tragedies and triumphs.  The fragility of humankind much like a bird with weathered wings.

From Crack Nuts:

This tells of a girl fleeing for the first time away from the consistency that has been the hurt and try

To reshape herself into her own identity, away from what has been perceived upon her.

“When I left home for the first time

I went a little nuts”

“I didn’t find the castles or cottages or huntsmen I hoped for

In my forest, which was actually a city

Bordered by salty oceans and ashy mountains”

To reach out for mother when you needed her, the idea that she was ready to start anew left

Even more bruising and less fairytales.

From Red Hood in the Woods (Little Red Riding Hood):

A piece based on a woman wanting to create an identity for herself, to be who she wanted to be.

But prowlers and miscreants could only see her as an object.

“Look: She wouldn’t have worn red

If she didn’t want the wolf to notice her.

Right?”

“We didn’t’ ask to be trapped

Within the rank flesh

Of the wolf’s belly

Tucked into ourselves, knees kissing temples

Breathing blood and acid and fear

Waiting for some huntsman to slit the fur

See that red hood”

The metaphors drip off this page beautifully.  And paint the picture of the wanted posters that should be out there in more and more cities.

From Clawed Creatures: (Beauty and the Beast)

“Last Spring, her father had arrived home

Holding a rose with petals the color of blood –

A rose that never withered

Though the frost still crunched beneath his boots

The half-frozen gate still creaked on its hinges

As he stepped back into his bedraggled garden

Telling tales of a monster

That no one quite believed”

From Little Cages (Jorinda and Joringel, Part One);

(her singing birds

Transformed by her own hands

To resemble creatures native to exotic

Worlds.

She could never see)

…No girl ends up in a beautiful cage.

From Poissonnier (the Little Mermaid):

“All Knives

Our Human legs are things of violence

They kick and scramble and open wide”

I could keep going on but you have to read for yourself to realize the metaphors in these re-telling of fairytales are not what a young woman is told will happen. These are realities and fairytales need to be taken as serious and cautious and not expected.  Dangerous people, situations beyond our control is out there to try and derail the happiness. It is up to the reader to search for the hope that Stephanie provides within the books in small inklings.

 Many of these stories have been previously published before in wonderful litmags throughout the years.  Stephanie has a wonderful talent for re-imagining a true world view on what a fairytale wishes it were.

Every Single Poem a Potion, Every Song a Spell by Stephanie Parent is a enigmatic creation of imagery and spell bound twist of tales. The poetry speaks to the romantic and mystic persona of the individual, the distant lands, and of the elusive creature. Stephanie reveals mirrors with stanzas of a universe just beyond the haze. A breathtaking gaze into the globe of the faint edges of belief. From “Everything Else is Gone” to “The Answer” Stephanie calls you into the unknown as a Pied Piper of literary imaginings. A truly mesmerizing read that continuously surprises you with a scope of a splendorous and cerebral fairyland. 

  • Jessica Weyer Bentley

Every Poem a Potion, Every Song a Spell is available through Querencia Press, LLC in Chicago, IL (2022)

You can find this wonderful book through the normal avenues of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, amongst Stephanie’s own website.

Follow Stephanie on twitter @sc_parent

Get a copy through Amazon: https://amzn.to/3Qc0ss5

Get a copy through Barnes & Noble https://bit.ly/3AzlCdW

Get a copy through Target https://bit.ly/3Qf4M9P

An interwie with The Poetry Question https://thepoetryquestion.com/2022/08/23/review-every-poem-a-potion-every-song-a-spell-stephanie-parent-querencia-press/

Reviews on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61333742-every-poem-a-potion-every-song-a-spell

Other Reviews: https://howlinglibraries.com/every-poem-a-potion-every-song-a-spell/

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

Hard Rain Poetry: Forever Dylan Anthology available today!

Available Now: Before I Turn Into Gold Inspired by Leonard Cohen

Anthology by David L O’Nan & Contributors w/art by Geoffrey Wren Bare Bones Writings Issue 1 is out on Paperback and Kindle