H.E. Dare’s Queen of Dust

In Queen of Dust, H.E. Dare (who also writes contemporary romance as Hanna Earnest) takes on a plethora of tropes I thought I was going to love. Respectable courtesans! Sex positivity! Evil corporate overlords! Romance in space! The pieces are, in a word, fantastic. (I didn’t used to be into romance in space, but guys, Jessie Mihalik totally converted me.) The pieces really didn’t work … Continue reading H.E. Dare’s Queen of Dust

The Sealey Challenge: Flight

I close out my 2022 Sealey Challenge with bittersweet beauty: Chaun Ballard’s chapbook Flight, which takes on structural white supremacy and anti-Blackness and American history while still creating beauty, which nods to poets past and present while creating something unique. Every poem in this slight collection carries weight and depth and breadth, and every poem carries meanings—more than I can grab in one reading. Reading … Continue reading The Sealey Challenge: Flight

The Sealey Challenge: A Song of Frutas

Some books are both hugs in printed form and mirrors-windows-sliding-glass-doors, all in one. A Song of Frutas, with poetry by Margarita Engle and illustrations by Sara Palacios, is very much one of those books. Pretty much everyone, including Goodreads reviewers, describes A Song of Frutas as being rhythmic, and they’re damn right it is: like Drum Dream Girl, which I’ve also read for the Sealey … Continue reading The Sealey Challenge: A Song of Frutas

The Sealey Challenge: I Have No Ocean

Nicole Arocho Hernández’s I Have No Ocean is, at its core, poetry of fury. Poet and poetry have every right to their burning anger: this is about the devastation wrought by Hurricane María, otherwise known as the continuing devastation of imperialism. It’s another entry in this summer’s catalog of loss, and it is furious. Parts of I Have No Ocean might make more sense if … Continue reading The Sealey Challenge: I Have No Ocean

The Sealey Challenge: A Place Inside of Me

Zetta Elliott and Noa Denmon’s A Place Inside Of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart is a book to be shared, a treasure ripe for the holding. Elliott’s poetry and Denmon’s illustrations are warm, as enveloping as an embrace. I read this book both as a picture book lover (can I say collector? As of art? Because they are) and also as a librarian … Continue reading The Sealey Challenge: A Place Inside of Me

The Sealey Challenge: The Ache and the Wing

Today’s poetry was Sunni Brown Wilkinson’s The Ache and the Wing, part of Sundress Publications’ e-chap series and an accidental continuation of my apparent themes of grief and loss. There are multiple losses here. One of them is the loss at birth of Wilkinson and her husband’s baby boy, which threads itself throughout the text, boy and grief and (misplaced) guilt moving even in silences. … Continue reading The Sealey Challenge: The Ache and the Wing