Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Three Poetry Books - Virgin, Trailer Trash & Words We Might One Day Say

By Dwight Hunter

During 2019 Poetry Month back in April, the library received three new poetry books:
  • Analicia Sotelo's debut of published poetry in Virgin: Poems
  • July Westhale's poetic portrait of Riverside County, CA in Trailer Trash
  • Holly Karepetkova with one foot in Bulgaria and the other in America in Words We Might One Day Say.
Here are my brief reviews of these three poetry books in the KLIC collection.

 Sotelo garnered the inaugural Jake Adam York Prize in her debut collection of poems. This collection of poetry is a fine line between autobiography and mythmaking. It is a portrait of the artist as a young woman with mythology mixed in. South Texas Persephone where the poet imagines she is Pluto's lover as she lurks the edges of Texas barbecue, crossing place, time, and location to mix the metaphors of current life and mythological love. South Texas Persephone starts out with this lyrical imagery:

Look now: my heart

is a fist of barbed wire. His heart
is a lake

Check out this book from KLIC and read a poet who is becoming noticed fast for her creative approaches to poetry.

Westhale's book about living in cotton-country of Riverside County, California is full of religious imagery, impoverished issues, and people overcoming. Never be ashamed from where you come from. A poetry book about class struggle has beauty in how lives are constructed around the ravaged landscape and rusted-out hulls used for homes. Here are two poem excerpts to whet your interest in this book.

From Crop Dusters:
Every morning, the air is as thick as syrup from a pitcher.
It is quiet, sliced up, and ready to digest, like a hymn.
The hymnal of the morning moves North, to Eagle Mountain.
Our melon fields have been blessed by the Lord.
We and our canals are filth waiting to be turned to loaves.

From You Can Lead a Horse to Water. Repeat:
That thing about horses is false.
You can give them salt, and they will take it
willingly. They can't forsake salt.
They lick it until they blister.

Check out this book from KLIC to read more.

Holly Karpetkova was on campus last spring as a reader for the Meacham.The Meacham website stated that Karapetkova is the author of two books of poetry, Towline, winner of the Vern Rutsala Poetry Prize from Cloudbank Books, and Words We Might One Day Say, winner of the Washington Writers' Publishing House Prize for Poetry. She is an associate professor in the department of Literature and Languages at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. In Words, Karapetkova poems are hybrids of ultra-realism, political manifesto, and romantic ballad. They are emotionally gripping reading. In the poem Cadaver Room, Karapetkova hauntingly gives us a description of the shell that our body is:

I trace its outline into my notes
and look it up later. It's Chinese.
It means home, the body, a foot in the door,
a fist in the mouth, the long slow sex after lunch.
But she no longer needs the lie:

cadaver, an empty house and all its furnishings
left behind for us to rumble through,
plunging our scalpels deeper
than her lovers ever dared.

Check out this book from KLIC to read more gripping poetry.

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