An often affecting book of poems about modern romance.


Relationships are a source of bitterness and occasional bliss in this collection of confessional verse.

In these 82 short poems, Daryl-Jarod addresses the failings and betrayals of his gay speakers’ boyfriends and hookups, as well as their own inner demons, in direct, plainspoken language and imagery. For example, “What About Me” memorializes a selfish lover who “only touches me when he needs release” while “All my needs appear to be obsolete”; “Fuck Boys” deplores one-night stands who “Beg for my body with no intention / Of loving my mind”; and “Hate” excoriates an irresponsible partner: “Who else but YOU would toss away the glove / And attempt to infect me with poison?” Daryl-Jarod addresses neediness in “Damn This Loneliness” (“Double texted you after no response /…Cursed myself for every attempt to feel wanted”) and waxes cynical in “The Truth About Love.” But his speaker feels the pull of exuberant carnality in “The Love Below” (“As your love below expands / …Both of us panting and weeping / Pushing our bodies to insanity / …Those three words / Rest on the tip of our tongues”) and narcotic highs in “Another Hit.” Overall, Daryl-Jarod’s poetry effectively conveys a wide range of emotions, from desolation to tenderness to ebullience. The tension between longing and disappointment prompts a declaration of independence in “Like You Never Existed” and the healthy narcissism of “The Beauty of Self-Love” (“Find yourself a partner / Who appreciates the same beauty / You see when you gaze in the mirror”). The poet also mines the oppression of “being called sissy and faggot” in “I Wonder” and offers a truly ringing cry of solidarity in “A Love Letter 4 U” (“It doesn’t matter if we identify as / GAY or LESBIAN / TRANS or NONBINARY / Our unity makes us stronger than ever”). Readers may find that the poems in this collection sometimes come off as self-involved, which make the set as a whole feel uneven. Overall, though, the poems evoke the rush and anxiety of love in a relatable style that’s sure to resonate with many readers.

An often affecting book of poems about modern romance.

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-945748-13-4

Page Count: 129

Publisher: Daryl-Jarod Entertainment

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Less bleak than the subject matter might warrant—Hannah’s default outlook is sunny—but still, a wrenching depiction of war’s...


 The traumatic homecoming of a wounded warrior.

The daughter of alcoholics who left her orphaned at 17, Jolene “Jo” Zarkades found her first stable family in the military: She’s served over two decades, first in the army, later with the National Guard. A helicopter pilot stationed near Seattle, Jo copes as competently at home, raising two daughters, Betsy and Lulu, while trying to dismiss her husband Michael’s increasing emotional distance. Jo’s mettle is sorely tested when Michael informs her flatly that he no longer loves her. Four-year-old Lulu clamors for attention while preteen Betsy, mean-girl-in-training, dismisses as dweeby her former best friend, Seth, son of Jo’s confidante and fellow pilot, Tami. Amid these challenges comes the ultimate one: Jo and Tami are deployed to Iraq. Michael, with the help of his mother, has to take over the household duties, and he rapidly learns that parenting is much harder than his wife made it look. As Michael prepares to defend a PTSD-afflicted veteran charged with Murder I for killing his wife during a dissociative blackout, he begins to understand what Jolene is facing and to revisit his true feelings for her. When her helicopter is shot down under insurgent fire, Jo rescues Tami from the wreck, but a young crewman is killed. Tami remains in a coma and Jo, whose leg has been amputated, returns home to a difficult rehabilitation on several fronts. Her nightmares in which she relives the crash and other horrors she witnessed, and her pain, have turned Jo into a person her daughters now fear (which in the case of bratty Betsy may not be such a bad thing). Jo can't forgive Michael for his rash words. Worse, she is beginning to remind Michael more and more of his homicide client. Characterization can be cursory: Michael’s earlier callousness, left largely unexplained, undercuts the pathos of his later change of heart. 

Less bleak than the subject matter might warrant—Hannah’s default outlook is sunny—but still, a wrenching depiction of war’s aftermath.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-57720-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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