Friday, January 31, 2020

Reunion - Deanna Young (Brick Books)

Today's book of poetry:
Reunion.  Deanna Young.  Brick Books.  London, Ontario.  2018.

Deanna Young is the Poet Laureate of Ottawa, the city Today's book of poetry calls home.  Today's book of poetry has been lucky enough to feature Young once before when we looked at her excellent House Dreams (Brick Books, 2014).  That blog/review can be seen here:

More recently, meaning a few months ago, I had the great pleasure of doing a House Reading with Deanna here in Vanier.  Deanna was monster good and the crowd knew it.

So I now know Deanna Young, just a little bit.

Which brings us to Reunion, the latest from Deanna Young.  Reunion is a brave book, startlingly candid.  You will be haunted by these poems.

Girl at Home

There is always the fear
of emerging from the bathroom, towel-wrapped
to encounter a man

who's been listening for the clunk
of taps choked off, the shush
of water stopped.

When she peers into the hallway
-- even decades later -- and he is not,
thank God, there, still

she braces
for the dash to the bedroom,

droplets fleeing from her ankles.

           What's that?
You've heard this before,
dear reader? This old complaint?

you should leave us then.

As I was saying.

Let us bow our heads
in silence now

for the morning she stepped
from behind the plastic curtain

to find drawn in the steam
of the vanity mirror

a message:

I see you're a woman now.

Anytime I want, is what he meant.


Reunion is memory rendered nightmare.  Fear, the deadening, under your skin fear that comes from living with threat, twenty-four hour, "Anytime I want" fear.  These powerhouse poems go back and forth in time to become both history and memoir, both a confession and a litany of other's sins.

Reunion takes place mostly in the most terrible place on earth, the home you live in - turned into a crypt, a torture chamber, a threat.

Ultimately Reunion is a story of redemption through poetry.  None of us can fully realize the terror that inspired these poems.  But it seems that Young's poems are written from the other side of grief.

Young has emerged on the other side of these travesties with a gift.  These poems are all the evidence you need.  Reunion is top tier stuff, Today's book of poetry is convinced that Reunion is as good as any poetry we've read this past year.

Visit, 4:00 a.m.

Last night my father
showed up in my dream.

I knew him by his back and wide shoulders.
His head of curly black hair
none of us inherited.

We were doing this dance,
he and I, among rooms
that were all connected, in a circle.

Him unwilling to face me
and me, indignant.

My son was at the table
doing homework.

My father would stop his roaming
to peer over the boy's shoulder
and then move on.

I kept watch
from behind the glass of my dream.

I knew I was there.

My son bent over his work
unaware of the ghost.  I did not believe
he was in any danger.

I watched only
for any sign of love
for the boy

who looks so much
like me at eight.

I don't think I'll see him again.

My father rarely spoke to me,
never met my eyes
if he could help it.

He never touched me
either -- I just want to make that
perfectly clear --

not after the time
he lifted me from my crib
and threw me at the wall
like a cat.

As a brutalized man
does a cat.

My young mother
who had, until recently, never known violence,
rushing in, blood vessels bursting
around her eyes,
a kitchen knife.

The ensuing scene.


Some of these horrors are familiar territory for Today's book of poetry.  Reunion is the authentic reveal.  Frankenstein's monster does throw the young girl in the well.  What makes this journey splendid for the reader is that Deanna Young's voice is so real, read true, it comes across as a whisper that children share when they are hiding, and it comes across like an angry murder of crows.

Today's book of poetry takes our hat off to Deanna Young, Reunion shines in spite of the torments that inspired it, in spite of the torments the reader inherits.  Deanna Young burns and Today's book of poetry couldn't be happier to bring Reunion to all you poetry monsters.


I stand here this April morning, dear citizens
of Biddulph, and swear this truth: the cries

that ran through that house were unholy, the clamour
you heard and harm you suspected, the marks

on the arms of my mother, your call to action.
And yet you stood by. You closed your drapes

and extinguished your lamps. In the morning,
mist hung in the air, as it does her today, a lamentation

risen from the lawn. And was your blood so chilled
that thoughts of children dwelling in that

yellow house on George Street could not
unstop the fair accusations in your throats?

Could not one of you have gone to him, and said,
John, this is wrong.  Were you not duty-bound

to knock at the door of that madness?
I am looking at all of you here today, a blanket of light

draped over us at this crossroads, the sun still rising.
Go home with these thoughts in your minds.

And blessings be eternal on any of you who did
step forward then -- the righteous. Though I did not

know you, I am here by your kindness. In the name
of the mother, the daughters, and the small black dog.


Today's post is #801 for Today's book of poetry and we had been considering closing up shop to have more time for own writing projects.  But books like Deanna Young's marvelous, brave and harrowing Reunion bring a shot in the poetry arm to Today's book of poetry.  It is good to be reminded why Today's book of poetry believes in poetry.

Reunion will take a deserved place in the pantheon.

Deanna Young

Deanna Young’s previous books include House Dreams, nominated for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry, the Ottawa Book Award, the Archibald Lampman Award and the ReLit Award, and Drunkard’s Path. Young grew up in southwestern Ontario during the 1970s and ’80s. Reunion, her fourth collection, belongs to that place and time. She now lives in Ottawa, where she works as an editor and teaches poetry privately.

“Each of Deanna Young’s spare, pitch-perfect poems seems to contain a novel. Young weaves in and out of time, playing with perspective, to illuminate experience…. This is a poetry that makes memory sharper, consciousness larger, life longer in all directions.”
     —Jury, Trillium Book Award for Poetry



Poems cited here are assumed to be under copyright by the poet and/or publisher.  They are shown here for publicity and review purposes.  For any other kind of re-use of these poems, please contact the listed publishers for permission.
We here at TBOP are technically deficient and rely on our bashful Milo to fix everything.  We received notice from Google that we were using "cookies"
and that for our readers in Europe there had to be notification of the use of those "cookies.  Please be aware that TBOP may employ the use of some "cookies" (whatever they are) and you should take that into consideration.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Gloss - Rebecca Hazelton (University of Wisconsin Press)

Today's book of poetry:
Gloss.  Rebecca Hazelton.  University of Wisconsin Press.  Madison, Wisconsin.  2019.

Image result for gloss rebecca hazelton

Marcus Wicker calls the poems in Rebecca Hazelton's Gloss "wise, sexy, well-tuned language machines."  Now that is a line Today's book of poetry wishes we'd come up with ourselves.  

Today's book of poetry has visited Rebecca Hazelton's poetry movie before.  Back in March of 2014 Today's book of poetry was delighted to hit all you poetry monsters with a look at Hazelton's Bad Star (YesYes Books, 2013).  You can read that here:

We were convinced that Hazelton could burn when we read Bad Star, but you have to get your hands on Gloss to see what she's cooking now.  Today's book of poetry liked Hazelton's Bad Star very much but Gloss is simply at another level.  A very splendid level.  

Gloss is precise, emotionally certain and feverishly honest.  These poems are so, so tasty.  These are adult poems, the more experience the reader has the more these precious-cut diamonds will shine.

Self-Portrait As A Very Good Day

Behind dark glasses I am enormously present
                                 wading in a pool of flickering light
                     algal at the edges
                                           like a sick green dream of California

where dragonflies dip and skim
           the surface of the lightly poisoned water
                                                         some of them
                                 coupling on the fly
                      as if sex weren't already awkward

when I fuck I hardly levitate at all
                                and when I dive
                                beneath the water
         I want to be detached

                    from the searing world above but how
                                         does one stop caring

when there are so many
                     voices calling
                                 where are you where are you
                      come up there are snacks

so I swim back
                     to frozen grapes and lemonade
           to the teenaged boys strolling by
                     with fishing poles and bait

while the young girls spin
          on tire swings and scream to go faster
as if there were some shortage in the world
                     of speed or disaster


These poems work like a summer sunburn, forcing you to peel back a layer or two so that Hazelton can test her vocabulary on your tenderest skin.  Make no doubt about it, she is going after the real you - and she gets there.

Gloss comes at you from multiple directions but Hazelton is in every word, embrace, every heart rendered bleeding.  Today's book of poetry felt emotionally challenged with Hazelton's magic, we were forced to look closely at ourselves, our faults and our freedoms.  Gloss is all over the gender battle, but like most of us, our theories weaken when surrounded by lust.

Rebecca Hazelton goes there and sets that shit aflame, eloquently.  She writes about the heat of the blaze, the burn on the skin, the cold, black and wet ashes left behind.

When He Is A Woman

When he is a woman I set his hair,
                                the brown strands
                                exit the comb's teeth
                                gold, spill down his shoulders
       to a slender waist I put my hands around
                  when I want him to feel small.

                            When he is a woman I am a man
and as a man I am aware
            of how to make his breath catch as I touch
                                 one freckled breast,
            as I unbuckle
                        my buckle with a definitive air.

When he is a woman the love feels more
                                           real, his eyelashes more real, his mouth
                    like an unkissed girl's more real,
                                                   and I hold to the fiction
                               he's never known another's hand
        sliding up his thigh, not this way,
or another mouth
        speaking these words that glide up his thoughts
the way a man declares
        a land claimed, and then there's a flag.

When he is a woman
                     I feel optimistic,
                                          when he is in a dress that suits
         his small frame, when the heels
                                          he walks in put his round hips to sway,
all these things make the smoke hover
                     above my scotch
                               on the rocks.
In this, as in all things,
            I am traditional.


Today's book of poetry has been sidetracked in recent months by human business, funerals and weddings, the weight of days, and so on.  Our intention is to return to our "every other day" format of posting blogs/reviews.  Of course Today's book of poetry would like to be taller and sing like Saint Marvin Gaye.  None the less we shall be after the gang to pick up the pace.

We can promise that our enthusiasm has not swayed.  Today's book of poetry has a bookcase full of new poetry joys that we are dying to share with you poetry monsters.

Rebecca Hazelton's Gloss is the 800th blog/review in the Today's book of poetry catalogue.  Who knew?  Today's book of poetry is lucky to have Hazelton.

Self-Portrait With Your Head
Between My Legs

Glazed in sweat, I'm in the hot tropics
        of Florida,
                   where the geckos Velcro across
         the bedroom window
on fine invisible hairs,

                  where a perfunctory promise
         hangs over us like a broken chandelier
too heavy
       to dismantle.

I watch the ceiling
                     for cracks, a water stain
and try to imagine the happy
          as if I could punch my own ticket
                                just by wishing harder

but the princess sleeps and sleeps.

Say peach, say plum, say typical
                       to split the velvet nap
                                with a clumsy thumb:

so much depends on
                      the idea of breakfast in bed
                                versus the sloppy practice.


Rebecca Hazelton's Gloss is just the ticket to get Today's book of poetry back on track.  Gloss has everything you want from poetry.  If you get inside Gloss it will teach you something about yourself.  How often can Today's book of poetry claim that?

Hazelton's Gloss is as intimate as a kiss, as memorable as a crisp slap in the face.

Image result for gloss rebecca hazelton

Rebecca Hazelton

Rebecca Hazelton is the author of Fair Copy, Vow, and the chapbook Bad Star, and the coeditor of The Manifesto Project. Her poems have appeared in Boston Review, Poetry, and The New Yorker. A two-time Pushcart Prize winner, she is an assistant professor of English at North Central College.

“A masquerade ball of velvety self-portraiture and a subversive parade of cultural norms recast as light kink. This book playacts its anxieties—gender roles and group texts, suburban mansions and contractual commitments—until the violence that underpins them is spotlighted on stage.”
      —Emilia Phillips, author of Empty Clip
“Funny, irreverent, and searingly honest, Hazelton dares to explore the obligations that we have with one another and with ourselves. And who wouldn’t want to trust the speaker of these poems? In prickly, worldly, and intimate poems, Hazelton’s wit and wisdom urge us to understand beauty in our complicated lives.”
      —Oliver de la Paz, author of Post Subject: A Fable
“These poems are wise, sexy, well-tuned language machines, full of stinging humor and quick-witted swagger, interrogating the highs and lows of cohabitation and maturation. Simply put, Gloss is masterful—a knockout collection I will continue to read, teach, and learn from for years to come.”
      —Marcus Wicker, author of Silencer


Poems cited here are assumed to be under copyright by the poet and/or publisher.  They are shown here for publicity and review purposes.  For any other kind of re-use of these poems, please contact the listed publishers for permission.
We here at TBOP are technically deficient and rely on our bashful Milo to fix everything.  We received notice from Google that we were using "cookies"
and that for our readers in Europe there had to be notification of the use of those "cookies.  Please be aware that TBOP may employ the use of some "cookies" (whatever they are) and you should take that into consideration.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Forty-One Objects - Carsten René Nielsen (The Bitter Oleander Press)

Today's book of poetry:
Forty-One Objects.  Carsten René Nielsen.  Translated by David Keplinger.  The Bitter Oleander Press.  Fayetteville, New York.  2019.


Forty-One Objects by the Danish poet Carsten René Nielsen, translated by David Keplinger, is one of those books that fills your poetry heart with pure poetry joy.  Nielsen writes poems that instantly made Today's book of poetry think of Stuart Ross's surrealist poetry.  Stuart Ross, recent winner of the 2019 Harbourfront Festival Prize, is Canada's premiere surrealist.

These poems, like Ross's, are filled to over-flowing with clever leaps of faith, secret wisdom about the inner workings of it all, genuine humour.  There is a constant flow of original thinking.  With many poets, good and the other kind, the reader often feels the lines and/or subject is one the reader already knows or expects.

Nielsen doesn't row that way.


I tried to write on the blackboard, but the chalk left no
trace. As if the board were made out of metal, or the chalk
were a rusty nail. Not that it mattered. My students were
sitting, as my students do, silently screaming with closed
eyes, their hands pressed against their ears. So quiet it was
in the room, one could hear the insects flying against the
large windows. Were my eyes two small suns, or was the sun
shining so brightly that summer that we were all lit up from
inside? I don't know. It is you who remembers this.


David Keplinger has done some superb work translating Carsten René Nielsen.  This past year Today's book of poetry spent considerable time and joyous effort in an attempt to translate Norway's  
Dag T. Straumsvåg but with very little success.  Clearly Keplinger has tools Today's book of poetry doesn't.  These translations sound, feel and read as though were written in English first.  Keplinger has inhabited Nielsen words until they belong to them both.  With two cooks in the kitchen things can often go wrong, not these cats, they both know how to burn.

Forty-One Objects is excellent evidence of something Today's book of poetry has long believed.  The poetry world is endless and filled with remarkable voices.  As readers we have to take our hats off to small presses like The Bitter Oleander Press for bringing great voices from other languages within hearing range.

Jewelry Box

The youngest of the sisters, the loveliest one, was given a
jewelry box. If one tried to open it, it buzzed painfully in
one's fingers, and the hair on both head and body stood up.
After several attempts in vain, the girl ended up in the dog
basket, where she lay, peeing. "Just give her a cigar," said
Uncle, "I'm longing for Chinese girls, and we have to move
on!" And on we went, in the middle of the night, onwards
on the same bicycle to the dentist. A molar was found in
an oyster, and later a silver spoon among the instruments
in a drawer. "Milk teeth," laughed the dentist incessantly,
"Milk teeth," while unsteadily he pointed at my mouth.


Today's book of poetry is trying to get caught up on a big backlog.  Our intern Maggie has returned to the real world.  Kathryn and Milo are busy Kathryn and Miloing.  Max, our rarely seen and cranky Senior Editor, has been busy working on a personal project that seems to be coming along nicely.  The rest of us have been scraping ice off of the lane way and reading what comes in the mail.

Poets like Nielsen give Today's book of poetry optimism, hope.  Certain people just know how to burn, they are able to dance from birth.  


Tired of listening to Tim Burton playing the guitar, Schubert
explaining how a person does his tax returns, and Joseph
Brodsky telling about his experiences as the new dogcatcher
in town, Jesus Christ - also known as "The Weasel"  - tunes
into a radio station where jazz is played. It's Mingus with
Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, at an elegy dedicated to Lester Young,
who wore such a hat. Jesus always confuses Prez with Buster
Keaton, but then again, his eyesight isn't what it used to be.
He has often thought about getting glasses but is afraid -
even with the crown of thorns - to be confused again with
John Lennon.  


January is only half over is how Today's book of poetry was feeling when we opened Forty-One Objects.  By the time Today's book of poetry was finished Nielsen's poetry we were more of the "wow," January is already half over.  Hope goes a long way.  Today's book of poetry wants you readers to get a big slice of it.  Carsten René Nielsen is serving it up.

Just as a final note, Today's book of poetry wanted to be sure to say that Stuart Ross writes good poetry of every stripe, not just surrealist poems.  Dag T. Straumsvåg is cut out of the same general mold, excellent poems of every stripe.  And on a personal note these two men are friends with Today's book of poetry.  Their books are treasured.

Carsten René Nielsen

Carsten René Nielsen, born 1966, is a Danish poet and author of ten books of poetry and one book of flash fiction. His first book published in 1989 was awarded the Michael Strunge Poetry Prize. The prose poems Cirkler (Circles, 1998) won him critical acclaim throughout his native Denmark. Recent collections include the prose poems Enogfyrre dyr (Forty-One Animals, 2005), Husundersøgelser (House Inspections, 2008) and Enogfyrre ting (Forty-One Objects, 2017). He has won several fellowships from the Danish State Foundation for the Arts. In the United States two of his books in translation have been published: his selected prose poems, The World Cut Out with Crooked Scissors by New Issues in 2007, as well as the prose poems House Inspections, by BOA Editions in 2011, both books translated by David Keplinger. In 2014 a selection of Nielsen's poems was published by EDB Edizioni in Italy under the title 8 animali e 14 morti. He lives in Aarhus, the second largest city of Denmark.

David Keplinger is the author of five books of poetry including The Prayers of Others (2006), winner of the 2007 Colorado Book Award, and The Clearing (2005), both from New Issues Poetry & Prose, as well as The Rose Inside: Poems (Truman State University Press, 1999), chosen by Mary Oliver for the T.S. Eliot Prize of that press. He is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He is also the author of World Cut with Crooked Scissors (New Issues, 2007), which he co-translated with Danish poet Carsten Rene Nielsen. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, Florida Review, AGNI, Nimrod, and Minnesota Review. He currently teaches at American University in Washington, D.C.

                                                                                                                               David Keplinger


Poems cited here are assumed to be under copyright by the poet and/or publisher.  They are shown here for publicity and review purposes.  For any other kind of re-use of these poems, please contact the listed publishers for permission.
We here at TBOP are technically deficient and rely on our bashful Milo to fix everything.  We received notice from Google that we were using "cookies"
and that for our readers in Europe there had to be notification of the use of those "cookies.  Please be aware that TBOP may employ the use of some "cookies" (whatever they are) and you should take that into consideration.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Every Ravening Thing - Marsha de la O (University of Pittsburgh Press)

Today's book of poetry:
Every Ravening Thing.  Marsha de la O.  Pitt Poetry Series.  University of Pittsburgh Press.  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  2019.


Marsha de la O waltzed in to our office like she owned the place.  Once we read Every Ravening Thing we weren't sure.  It was like a new kind of wind had swept through Today's book of poetry's brain, maybe a new type of sirocco or chimera.  These poems, happy or sad, play out like marvelous candies you can roll around your poetry mouth.  Not trivial penny candy, no Sir, these are not the lint-bound mints of Sunday disappointment, no, these are pure gold.  Toffee so pure and carmel smooth, these poems are almost smoky.

Every Ravening Thing is smart, smart, smart.  Today's book of poetry would suggest that instead of embracing any one narrative style, or structural framework, school, etc, de la O never boxes herself into a process induced corner.  de la O burns with extra sauce and comes out looking like the quintessential everywoman.

de la O isn't afraid of the dark and she's not offering up solutions, but she sure is taking a good look at what is important.  She certainly has things to say, worth listening to things.

In Those Months Gold Leaf Drifted onto His Skin

Late nights, late nights, rain fingered his guitar,
He played bars every weekend, trained dogs
on the side, dreamed an orchard out back,
white peaches, dark plums.
                                            Once he made a barbecue
from a fifty-gallon drum, simmered mussels
in wine.
                                            Late nights, late nights,
talking through winter, his laugh turned to velvet
when the temperature dropped.

Scorpion on his bicep, at his heels an Alsatian.
All through summer his garden spoke in tongues,
stone fruit, dark plums.
                                            The day they told him no,
not a chance for a transplant, he took a whisk
broom to the cemetery, swept his father's grave.

Dark nights, dark nights, rain pierced his eyes.
When the Feather River overtopped its banks
he finally got down
                               to the slow work of drowning.


2020 is upon us and this past year's hangover feels worse, a little more difficult than others.  Even when President Reagan was standing under the red, white and blue Today's book of poetry didn't feel this particular sense of dread.  Today's book of poetry believes that a regular diet of helpful poetry is called for.  Marsha de la O falls right into this prescription, she is step ahead of the curve, leading, not following.  Take two helpings of Every Ravening Thing and call Today's book of poetry in the morning.

Today's book of poetry has to admit that de la O got under our skin, turned us around once or twice, Every Ravening Thing has weight.  Marsha de la O's landscapes resemble our own, it's when she explains the old terrain and makes it burn new that our eyes widen.

Star Pine

Time can slow to a halt in a hallway
with a view of a star-pine
by the pharmacy, and the roof below
with its carpet of asphalt and small rocks.
I've got a window seat and minor piety,
I've got a chant, thrumming:
               You, my faith, my ark, my bricks and mortar.
We've already said good-bye.

My rule is: keep your mouth shut.
We don't know how it gets in a body.
If I yawned, a tumor could flit inside
about the size of a cream puff or a golf ball
without symmetry - spikes and folds and webs
like a baby dragon.

And when it hatched, the mother
bent her fearsome neck
and moved that nestling
near where your blood bustles.

I've got a thick skull of hope
unwinding a vision, a picture
for afterwards:
you're pink faced and twinkling, rosy-all-over,
maybe shambling a little, but otherwise
the same.
You're looking good.

I'm the life form with a sour smell.
It's fear, but I tell myself that's covered here
by the dead smell of caution, they're non-committal.
They pad by in booties and hairnets, careful
of the I.V., the pole, the whole awkward procession,
a movable bed, a bag of clear liquid
dripping like mercy.

And the patients
with sheets drawn up to their chins
have suffered themselves to be tethered and pressed
like good and sweet animals.

The elevator opens, they're pushed inside,
the door closes behind them.
I watch them leaving, and wait for you.
The star pine leans toward the glass.
I'm mouthing thank you
and whispering please.

That star pine is your lost sister.
That star pine is your brother's soul,
sane and calm and cleansed.

The dragon
bends her fearsome neck;
the tree
is breathing next to the window.

Let it breathe for you.


"I've got a thick skull of hope."  Today's book of poetry is going to have to contact Marsha de la O and ask if we can use that as a title for a book.

So de la O goes up one side of illness, fear and grief and comes down the other somehow hammering splendid.  And then she pulls out the Upanishads.  Today's book of poetry has a particular fondness of the Upanishads from our last time in a classroom.  We remembered "the essence of all beings is the earth," and more.  de la O has an understanding of the complications every life faces.  Every Ravening Thing takes a look at it all in these robust and lush poems where we learn, like de la O, to:  "let touch teach me."

To the Grandmothers

                Chernobyl, thirty years later

Old women with side gardens and jars
of moonshine alone in empty villages,

tell me, solitary lynx, multitudinous wolf
pack, how do you do it - all my life I've lived

in cities, bought food from grocery stores -
what's it like to return to the abandoned zone

on foot, reclaim your cottage beside the dank
canal, to howl, to hunt in packs, to foal calves,

fell trees, light down in the bodies of swans
and swim in cooling ponds, why would you

fly three thousand miles to build a nest
inside the cracked concrete sarcophagus

over the remains of reactor four?  She grins,
hands over a jelly jar of vodka, the good stuff,

Motherland is motherland, she says.


Today's book of poetry is proud to start off 2020 with Marsha de la O's Every Ravening Thing.  We are big believers in the "start as you mean to go on" vibe.  We are all about the poetry burn and de la O is aces.

No promises for the forthcoming year but we are looking forward to reading all the poetry that comes through the door.  Our deepest gratitude to University of Pittsburgh Press and the almost 200 other poetry presses who send work Today's book of poetry's way.

Luckily we already know the line up for the next little while.  It makes Today's book of poetry blush it is so rich.

Stay tuned.
Marsha de la O

Marsha de la O

Marsha de la O is the author of Antidote for Night, winner of the 2015 Isabella Gardner Award, and Black Hope, winner of the New Issues Press Poetry Prize and winner of an Editor’s Choice, Small Press Book Award. Other awards include the Morton Marcus Poetry Award and the da Poetry Award. She has published extensively, including recent poems in The New Yorker and the Kenyon Review, with work forthcoming in Prairie Schooner. De la O lives in Ventura, California, with her husband, poet and editor Phil Taggart. Together, they produce poetry readings and events in Ventura County and edit the literary journal Spillway. 

Every Ravening Thing presents a matchless intensity and intellectual grit, a fearless investigation into the world amplified by a vision that is both cosmic and detailed in our common suffering. This is a brave book of poetry.
      - Christopher Buckley 

What is ferocious – ravenous – here is the poet’s driven need to tell things as they truly are, which means it’s not always a pretty picture that she so carefully assembles for the reader. And I love the raucous regard she has for diction: reckless and powerfully inventive and fresh the way air can be fresh. All of this is held together by a commitment to the music that drives these poems in a way that soothes the ear. Every Ravening Thing could serve as a warning to all of us about our failures as men and women, and as a celebration of the good we’re capable of doing and in that way is a necessary part of our reading.
    - Bruce Weigl 

This is poetry meant to open hearts and change attitudes in fundamental and necessary ways, poetry of witness and utility. It is also often deeply moving. 
     -South Florida Poetry Review

MARSHA DE LA O at Writers Resist LA 2019 Reading
Video: Poetry L.A.


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