In Indieland, there’s no such thing as poetry month; we celebrate all year long. But April always serves as a welcome reminder to share some of our favorite starred collections.
Songs of Bernie Bjørnby Diane Elliott: “Readers learn about Bernie…in a series of 50 monologues….The neighbors say that when Bernie moved in next door, she ‘livened up our gossip / lightened up our lives / she was all beat and boogie / full of hope love and curiosity’….These songs of the ardent title character sing like wildfire.”
A Misplaced Woman by Marcy Heidish: “Heidish chose a well-educated, upper-middle-class narrator ‘to show that homeless women, narrowly stereotyped, come from all strata of society’—always true but especially so in the current economy. This choice can make for unexpected, striking images, as when her narrator is glad for the poetry she memorized in college: ‘I sleep on lines of iambic pentameter, / waking to that music I thought I forgot.’ Though the subject of homelessness may sound overearnest, Heidish’s powerful voice, often bolstered by rhyme and meter, makes this collection as tough and resilient as its subjects.”
Blood Transparencies by Randy White: “This poetic autobiography relates a childhood in the Pacific Northwest, where wild nature granted blessings but could be harsh—like the game-warden father in ‘Wrestling Odysseus,’ who teaches his son how to wrestle: “My mother leaves the room, my sisters begin to cry.... // There is no honor, no prize of arms to win in this, / no lesson here but fury.’ Yet he’s also the man who brings his son ‘a cup of Don’t-tell-your-mother coffee’….Well-crafted verses with strong images and good storytelling.” Karen Schechner is the Vice President of Kirkus Indie.