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Romance With Small-Time Crooks by Alexis Ivy reviewed in Prick of the Spindle

 Romance with Small-Time Crooks
By Alexis Ivy
Review by Karen Weyant



BlazeVOX [books], 2013
ISBN: 978-1609641054
Paperback, 100 pp., $16

 

When I was ten years old, I wanted to be a pool hall girl—one of those teenage girls who hung out at the local dives in town. Pool hall girls were all tight jeans and tank tops and tattoos. They wore red lipstick and teased their hair high (this was the 1980s). Trails of cigarette smoke always lingered behind them. They were, in one word, cool. And as a young girl, I wanted to be cool. 
            
Somehow, I was reminded of those pool hall girls when I read Alexis Ivy’s Romance with Small-Time Crooks. Ivy’s first full-length poetry collection details a young woman’s life from youth to adulthood through booze and drugs, sex and violence, loss, and eventually, hope. Essentially, this book is the coming-of-age story of a heroine who is resilient, if not a bit rough around the edges, but always a fighter and survivor. 

Read the whole review here 

Check out Alexis's book here 

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Romance With Small-Time Crooks by Alexis Ivy reviewed in PANK

 

REVIEW - Romance With Small-Time Crooks by Alexis Ivy

~by Anne Champion

 Ivy-Cover-Really-Real-sm

 

BlazeVOX Books

90 pages/$16.00

The cover of Alexis Ivy’s debut collection depicts a scattered stack of cards and a hand overturning the Queen of Diamonds and the Eight of Clubs.  The Queen of Diamonds, of course, denotes power, royalty, and adornment, while the eight is a common symbol of infinity: all of this is embedded within the gamble, a game of chance, risk, and luck.  Similarly, these themes seem to trail the speaker of this collection in poems that take risks resulting in big payoffs.  These poems travel through the seedy underbelly of American life, exploring characters bound by their own self destruction embedded in a world of sex, drugs, liquor, and crime and a speaker that’s attracted to the scarred, the imperfect, and the dangerous.   While redemption and happy endings seem impossible in this collection, the poems refuse pity, instead transforming gutters into places of magic, insight, and growth.

Many poems in the collection recall still life paintings in their vivid imagery and details.  However, these still lifes illustrate ruin and utter desolation.  “So I Got Stoned,” depicts the actions and backgrounds of a speaker who has plummeted into silence.  The poem begins “I sorta wasn’t talking,/I sorta didn’t talk./I didn’t talk.”  These lines reveal the speaker’s reluctance to speak even now, as it takes several tries before anything can be said with any certainty.  Then, the still life gets painted through several sharp, compelling details, and the poem ends with the speaker’s reflection:

Wasted under
the willows at the Charles River,
chain smoking so I wouldn’t be
just sitting there.

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Alexis Ivy's Upcoming Reading Schedule

Alexis Ivy's Upcoming Reading Schedule

ALEXIS IVY'S UPCOMING FALL READINGS

  
SEPTEMBER 24TH, 7PM
POETS UNDER 35 SERIES
THE MARLIAVE
10 BOSWORTH STREET
BOSTON, MA



OCTOBER 15TH, 7PM
POETRY READING
NEW ENGLAND MOBILE BOOK FAIR
82 NEEDHAM STREET
NEWTON HIGHLANDS, MA


NOVEMBER 12TH, 7PM
WITH CHARLES COE & DENNIS DALY
NEWTON FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY
330 HOMER STREET
NEWTON, MA



NOVEMBER 22ND, 7PM
EMERGING POETS SERIES
WITH ERIC HYETT, SPENCER THURLOW & SARATH REDDY
BROOKLINE BOOKSMITH
279 HAVARD STREET
BROOKLINE, MA

Read a sample from her latest book, Romance with Small-Time Crooks 

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Extra Pages

Photos on flickr