Monday, October 22, 2018

That Bird Your Heart by Tasha Cotter (2013)

That Bird Your Heart
Tasha Cotter
Finishing Line Press
Georgetown, KY

Tasha Cotter has been quite productive since 2013. In addition to this book, there 4 other books published in the same time frame and one of them, Some Churches takes its name from the first poem in this collection. The poetry itself is quite good. My only issue with it is that I am not a fan of Finishing Line Press.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Tracing Silver by Deborah Ryder (1999)

Tracing Silver
Deborah Ryder
Cross-Town Publishing
Harrisburg, PA

Another time capsule from the Central PA environs. Ryder has been a poet in the area for a number of years and this is one of her earlier chapbooks. One of the poems was published previously in Experimental Forest which was a mid-state journal that I loved reading back in the day. Mid-1990s. The poetry is good. Worth collecting.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Fledgling Rag #4 (2007)

Fledgling Rag
Le Hinton
Featuring Jack Veasey
Issue Four
Iris G. Press
Wrightsville, PA

Iris G Press & Fledgling Rag are the brainchildren of Le Hinton who has become a regional poetry superstar. This issue features many of the region's finer poets and that region is Central PA to Washington DC but that came later. In the beginning and this is closer to the beginning as FR only began in 2006, Le asked poets he knew or heard while visiting the Harrisburg to Allentown area. I contributed to one of his issues as well, but not this one. Susan Norris acted as his technical assistant and layout specialist. They worked together for many issues. It's a Heroic effort that deserves attention for both of them.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Standing in the Chaos by Steven G. Concert (2006)

Standing in the Chaos
Steven G. Concert
self published
Harveys Lake, PA
(c) 2006

Concert is a mover and shaker in the poetic world of NE Pennsylvania. He has been actively involved in the Pennsylvania Poetry Society for a number of years and have at least one other book out. This one is thin. A mere 13 pages of verse. I am mentioning the book to talk more about the poet and the fact that poetry thrives all across the state. I am glad to have gotten to know or read a good number of poets from all over PA and hope to spread the wildfire of poetry wherever I roam. They have all inspired me. So, thanks, Steven. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Third Book of Poetry by Noah J. Augarten (2006)

Third Book of Poetry
Noah J. Augarten
self published
© 2006

Spiral bound chapbook. Plain paper. Unpaginated and yet there’s a table of contents with page count. I mean, unpaginated means no page numbers and there’s a TOC with numbers. Um, yeah, okay: I give up.

It is way too often true that just because someone can doesn’t mean someone should and that’s is especially true of self-publishing books. To friends and family this might be welcomed. But to someone reading it who doesn’t know the writer except for the words on the page, this effort really should have been suppressed.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

To be Santa you have to be tested by Joe Donohoe (2002)

To be Santa you have to be tested
Joe Donohoe
little vanity press
San Francisco, CA

When I was in Toronto over the summer I happened across books by Canadian writers Liz Worth and John L'ecuyer dealing with "cool fringe" culture : drugs and music, but mostly drugs. So when I found this tiny sliver of nothing, the chapbook by Joe Donohoe, I thought of the cool Canadians. This one though wasn't quite the others. Reminds me of that Sesame Street tone "One of these things is not like the other". Indeed. Not that the writing is terrible because it does fit what the Canadian writers were portraying. It's that the presentation was god-awful.

So, I found Donohoe's chapbook on a shelf behind a front row of books, and it didn't stand out so much as I was intrigued by the thinness of it. I recognize a chapbook when I see it. This staple bound effort is completely slap-dash in the most kind was of saying it. There are illustrations in the book but they didn't distract from the absolute primitiveness of the book's appearance. They actually make it more blatant since the illustrations look like they were photocopied poorly and simply put in as pixelated and gray and dirty as they were. Plus each illustration has the title of the book above the image. Like I would be confused or something? I am holding a wreck of a chapbook, I know what I am holding. I half expect it to vomit on me at each turn of the page. Like a chapbook form of a bad punk music show where a speaker falls on a teenage girl and splits her head open. Gushing blood and puke and boy did you see that, dude, that was awesome! (except it wasn't) And neither is this chapbook but not everyone feels like way about his work! A different chapbook by Donohoe was actually distributed by Last Gasp. He's a niche artist, it seems. Not my niche, sorry.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Anticipating You by Julia Tilley (2002)

Anticipating You
Julia Tilley
Joyryder Enterprises
Harrisburg, PA
Jumping into the time machine for a second time to deal with the previous published work by Julia Tilley, we come upon her 2002 book, Anticipating You, which was published by Jennifer Ryder. Or rather "a" Jennifer Ryder since I was about to snap-assume that the publisher of this book was also related to Debbie Ryder, a Harrisburg-area poet, but the website given at the back of the book goes to an Australian writer of best-selling romance novels. Not sure I can square that circle.

Regardless, this book is much better made than the 2009 effort. The poems are tighter, the presentation is more professional; it's just better. Joyryder Enterprises has disappeared into the ether of time. No electronic footprint left to follow. And to be fair to all concerned parties, I had by 2002 moved to downtown Philadelphia and was trying to lay siege to that fine city. Harrisburg, in case some of you don't know, is the state Capital of Pennsylvania and like some other state capitals is much less interesting than the largest city in the state and in the case of Pennsylvania - that means less interested than TWO cities : Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. But it did have a poetry community in Harrisburg that was tighter and more buoyant than most other communities in the state. I tip my hat to them! Uptown Poetry Cartel, et al.

Julia Tilley is still quite active in the arts - she has done a one person show as Emily Dickinson recently and is part of the Flying Marmottes Performance Troupe. Good on her!