The Versatility of Indieland

The notable new poetry collections writers are self-publishing

For most of its 80-plus years, Kirkus didn’t review poetry. That changed in 2005 with the launch of Kirkus Indie, and now poetry regularly appears on our annual list of Best Indie Books. (One indie author—poet, Jesuit priest, and professor William J. Rewak—has had two of his books, The Right Taxi and The Orphan Bear, appear on our Best of lists.) The trend of standout self-pubbed vHired Taxi erse continues in 2015.

 In Pause and Ponder, Rashid Osmani balances comedy and tragedy “without maki ng the laughs feel impertinent and the grief feel insubstantial.” In one poem, he sardonically characterizes smart bombs as “precision-guided munitions” that “ring door-bells wherever they go.” Overall, Kirkus called his collection “eloquent and thoughtful.”

Davoud Safdariangives us “tactile, thoughtful quatrains celebrating individual identity and experience” in Me, Rain, and a Hired Taxi. Safdarian’sHelp in Our Time cover poems were originally composed in Persian; they face his English translations in the book. 

In his collection Help in Our Time and Manet’s Genre Paintings of Everyday Light, Ryan P. Byrne considers Edouard Manet’s inte  rest in the lives of everyday people. “The pressing question for Byrne,” said our reviewer, “is how do we instill the weight of days with meaning?” Apparently, the answer doesn’t include a romanticization of the workaday life; in “It’s All Just Another Day,” the narrator dryly notes: “It’s time to shut down for today / Another day working on the fringe….Another day is waking, / so the other person can win.” Kirkus called his collection “an effective exploration of the commonplace.” —K.S.

Karen Schechner is the senior Indie editor.

MORE BLOG POSTS

Boswell Book Company
Q&A with Daniel Goldin
After the 2009 closing of Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops, an 82-year-old Milwaukee institution, the stores’ general manager, Daniel Goldin, opened a new bookstore at one of the old Schwartz locations. Goldin combined the Schwartz legacy with his own indie-bookselling vision and opened Boswell Book Company. We talked with Goldin about hosting killer events, reimagining King Lear, and handselling The Professor’s ...
White-Hot YA Indie Reads
Our recommendations for kids who need higher-octane reads
Young-adult series that set irresistible hooks can work double or triple time for establishing solid reading habits in teens who may balk at starting something new. Standout first installments of sci-fi, adventure, or fantasy novels with fast-and-furious plots and unforgettable characters can pave the way for the rest of the series. Here’s a YA-series trifecta for kids who need higher-octane ...
Barbara Freethy
The bestselling romance writer talks about life on both sides of the publishing fence
Sure, Fifty Shades of Grey may have defined the romance market in the recent past, but Barbara Freethy will tell you there is plenty of room under the romance umbrella for various niche markets and all “levels of heat.” She should know. The New York Times bestselling author of 43 novels ranging from contemporary romance to romantic suspense and ...