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Reflections of Hostile Revelries by Jennifer C. Wolfe Reviewed in Midwestern Book Review

 
The Poetry Shelf
 
Reflections of Hostile Revelries
Jennifer C. Wolfe
BlazeVox
131 Euclid Avenue, Kenmore, NY 14217
9781609641528, $16.00, 108pp, 
 
Synopsis: Jennifer C. Wolfe's "Reflections of Hostile Revelries" is a compendium of politically oriented poetry focused on the hypocrisies and naivety, aspirations and personalities of the American political landscape. Deftly encapsulated into word fashioned pictures of life and politics both before and after the 2012 election of America's first African American president, as well as snapshot responses in verse to extraordinary political events ranging from the shooting of Travon Martin to the conflict raging in Syria, "Reflections of Hostile Revelries" is a truly seminal volume reflecting the politics of poetry -- and the poetry of politics.
 
Criteria: Jennifer C. Wolfe is an exceptionally talented wordsmith whose poetry lingers in the mind long after "Reflections of Hostile Revelries" has been set back on the shelf. 'Candy Slogans': Ah, that colorful Texas Govenor, Rick Perry: // He, who is so enamored of invoking his state's unique succession clause, / Threatening to secede from the Union, whenever he becomes outraged, / Or throws a childish political tantrum. // A prestigious candy company had a hit advertising slogan for two / Of their select candy bars, which i think summarizes Mr. perry quite well / "Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut" (Texas); "Sometimes You Don't" (Rest of the US).

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The Electric Affinities by Wade Stevenson reviewed

  

 

A book worth reading for the life lessons it recalls, in spite of the ironic fact that the protagonists of this story, by nature of their privileged circumstances, seemed to have been largely exempted from the initiations of life’s burdens and responsibilities at this point in their lives.  It’s the reader’s own hindsight that completes this portrait of an era, set in the summer of 1969. The story revolves around the emotions, observations and uninhibited interactions of a group of young and casual socialites that come together in the Hamptons-Sag Harbor scene and end up hashing out their attractions, impulsive philosophies of man-woman relationships, daydreaming and experimenting with a degree of urgency.

The notion of any memoir of what it was like to be young and engaged in the summer of 1969 gets confused with the grandiosity of myths about the counterculture. But here, the author assures us that being an unformed romantic youth, full of yearning and naïve aspirations, self-indulgent and ardently single-minded,  was no different then, than it is now. Friends give you trouble instead of companionship and family seems indifferent to your real métier.

The narrative flow in this novel reminded me of watching an Eric Rohmer film! Here are the quotidian moments of hanging out on the beach but contemplating the attainment of being elsewhere, moving around at vacation pace, but psychologically sprinting. They strain to be intelligent and articulate, winning over the admiration of their peers, but they frequently fail to live up to their own desires to connect with each other.  There is the contrast between what the characters say and what they are actually doing, and how things turn out, that fuels the drama.

I gave it 5 stars because it’s a great study in social collisions, one which perfectly describes why the baby boomers were also wistfully dubbed the me generation.

— Jane Stevenson

Check out the book here 

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A Reading and a Review with Sophie Seita

 

Saturdays Live: Eugene Ostashevsky, Holly Pester and Sophie Seita in collaboration with The White Review from Serpentine Galleries on Vimeo.

Poets Eugene Ostashevsky, Holly Pester and Sophie Seita present readings in the Serpentine Sackler Gallery's Powder Room, within the exhibition curated by Martino Gamper, design is a state of mind. 
Programmed in collaboration with The White Review.

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Sophie Seita’s Artfully Fragmented Fantasias in Counting

BY HARRIET STAFF

Sophie Seita

Bookslut’s Kristina Marie Darling reviews Sophie Seita’s first book,Fantasias in Counting (just released, BlazeVOX 2014)! “Although many of her works are concise and carefully crafted, they demand an active participation on the part of the reader, something that an audience would not suspect given the regimented forms she frequently invokes (musical scales, exercises).” More:

The reader     says
                              even as/if painting
                              wouldn’t sight the single but the total unity.

The reader     says
                              wouldn’t
                              cannot sleep.

Thinking about lines now
Thinking about lines now
Thinking about lines now

What’s interesting about this passage is the way that Seita writes as though she is conforming to the reader’s will, yet at the same time challenges and undermines the expectations that most readers would bring to such a text. Passages like this one, beautifully and artfully fragmented, call upon the reader to forge connections between different elements of the poem, prompting them to participate actively in the process of creating meaning from the work. Fantasias in Counting is filled with thought-provoking works like this one, which show an astute awareness of readerly expectations and the consequences of the work’s necessary challenges to the entrenched relationship between the artist and her audience.

seita

Read the full review at BookslutPhoto of Sophie Seita by Lanny Jordan Jackson.

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Music for another life by Kristina Marie Darling and Max Avi Kaplan reviewed at Poet Hound


Max Avi Kaplan’s photography capture a glamorous 1950’s high-style woman who is spun into a wife who reveals the unglamorous side of domestic bliss under Kristina Marie Darling’s skilled hands. I am not able to share the photos that pair with each poem, so please sneak a peek any way you can and/or purchase a copy for yourself, the photos truly set the scene for each piece. A woman named Adelle, who longs for domestic bliss and finds none, she is one who abandons the notion only to reveal the complexities of having been part of married life and then no longer being part of the world so highly touted by conventional society. The balance of being married and no longer being married tilts back and forth in the pages as Adele’s thoughts melt into readers’ minds as Darling challenge the “conventional norm.” Darling and Kaplan bring forth the all too familiar diatribe of women who “snag a man” only to become invisible to them as they keep the house clean while also trying to strap on their high heels and dresses only to find their once devoted lover glued to the television screen or worse, running off to be with another woman who has distracted them away from home. Below I am happy to reveal a few samples:

ADELLE BURIES HERSELF FOR A WEEK

I always wondered what it would be like to live alone. Back then I thought I might still acquire friends, hobbies, or pets. I knew I’d keep the tea kettle warm, real daisies blooming outside the window. What I didn’t imagine back then was the stillness. Every room seems like an ocean. I tried buying myself new things: a television, some dishes, a new bed set. Now my pillow is soft but the stone walls are firm. No one ever wants to come in for tea or cocoa. Every time I close my eyes I hear the kettle shriek.

I love this piece because it hits home for me in a different way. Whenever I lived completely alone I found myself very happy yet noticed that the social life dropped off in a dramatic way just as Darling indicates above. I especially love the line “Every room seems like an ocean,” because I know exactly what she means. Each room’s emptiness vast and expanding when you are all alone. When you go to bed alone, you imagine sounds that are not there because there is no one else to distract you from yourself. Here Adelle is adjusting to life on her own and finding the balance of trying to make herself happy in this new state of being alone while thinking about all that she wishes for such as friends dropping in or pets greeting her at the door.


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The Electric Affinities by Wade Stevenson reviewed by Kirkus Reviews!!!

The Electric Affinities by Wade Stevenson reviewed by Kirkus Reviews!!!

The Electric Affinities by Wade Stevenson reviewed by Kirkus Reviews!!!


A free-love opus set in a bygone era. Ben Steinberg, a successful architect, hosts a collective of artists and free-spirits in his Sag Harbor, N.Y., house in 1969. Among the damaged but earnest people that move through his home are Andre, a director; Robert, a Vietnam War veteran; Carolina, a spiritual youth endeavoring to live without restraint; and Maya, the apex of a romantic triangle that consumes her suitors. The plot follows a fairly straightforward design: As the year progresses, each character wrestles with their own particular demons. Robert’s disenchantment with the world is reified in his aversion to visiting his wealthy grandmother, the woman who raised him; for Carolina, it’s an evolving quest to live as freely as possible that, eventually, takes her away from Sag Harbor. But the plot, as it is, feels secondary here. The real tension comes from within. Working with a true ensemble cast, Stevenson explores the radical aspirations of each of his characters while balancing them against the dramatic irony of a world that didn’t turn out quite the way it was supposed to. Perhaps the best stand-in for the contemporary reader is Robert. He may have been disillusioned by his experience overseas (as readers may have been by the course of history), but he yearns for some kind of meaning in his life, something true to aspire toward. The same goes for everybody in the novel; amid pain and loneliness, they look for some kind of purpose in a world that doesn’t seem prepared to accept them. It’s a familiar enough theme for books set in the late 1960s, but Stevenson’s effortless prose brings a freshness to what could otherwise have easily been a trite tale of hippie naïveté. He laces the story with insightful mantras throughout: “It’s not like cooking—there’s no measuring cup. Freedom has to be unconditional or not at all.” The narrative movements here are subtle, often more interested in providing a full picture of the characters’ struggles than in building a propulsive plot. At times, the pace may feel sluggish for some, but readers willing to stick with it will be rewarded with a stunning resolution. An atmospheric, evocative tale of youth endeavoring to live free.

—Kirkus Reviews


Read more about The Electric Affinities by Wade Stevenson here

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Photos on flickr