Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Are you looking for something to read as summer winds along? Thinking about poetry, perhaps, especially contemporary poetry? Would you like some assistance in knowing what's out there? Poet and publisher Eileen Tabios offers an amazing service on her blog The Blind Chatelaine's Keys. Every few months she pulls together an online journal full of book reviews on poetry. The journal, Galatea Resurrects, features books by poets from the post-avant to the school of quietude, to use terms coined by the don of the poetry blogging world, Ron Silliman.

This is an amazing endeavor and I've had fun contributing reviews to Eileen's journal. For me, it's an exercise in close reading and thinking. As I write about collections like Bone Pagoda by Susan Tichy or The Marvelous Bones of Time by Brenda Coultas I have a chance to study technique and voice and style. When I read Child in the Road by Cindy Savett I see again how it is to write from the dark center of powerful emotion and how language guides me through. When I return to Brigit Pegeen Kelly's The Orchard to write about it, I push myself to examine the work of the line, particularly the densely laden line. I learn from my reading and then from my writing. And hopefully I carry that back to my own work.

My reviews are among 68 postings on the latest issue of Galatea Resurrects -- a record. There is a healthy selection of work by poets who won't get ink in the Sunday book review sections or in establishment journals like Poetry. Often collections are reviewed multiple times, so you, dear reader, can have additional perspectives. Along with my review of Brenda Coultas' book, poet Patrick James Dunagan writes about it too.

Thus, this is a rich feast arranged by Eileen Tabios. I marvel at her diligence and thank her. She has other projects you'll learn about if you visit her blog. And do roam around the reviews at Galatea Resurrects. You'll find it a great mix of books to savour as the summer declines toward the dog days.