7 Reads We Recommend: National Poetry Month by Emily Ramser and Laurel Dowswell

Some Mornings Are Chronic by Mary-Carroll Hackett in Cultural Weekly

Hackett’s imagery is striking. She writes “the ache that tastes dark as coffee burnt to the bottom of the pot,” and the reader is left with a bitter taste in her mouth, feeling the hot coffee travel down her throat and settle in her stomach and heart with a subtle burn, a burn for which she will never find a cure. Her final line is just as strong: “their lungs ripped with cold and fire, until their blood left flecked trails on the snow.” When the reader closes her eyes after this line, all she can see is the drops of blood left upon the white snow. Her imagery is inescapable and will stay with you. ~Emily Ramser, Editorial Assistant

Alligator Sun by Susan Lefler in Syzygy Poetry Journal

A poem of dreams—alternating with a tentative feel, then a brush of color and hope. Lefler brings us into an odd virtual reality here with this brief, yet very engaging poem. Her “universe made up of glistening shards –  small chips of glass trapped in a house of cards” creates a visual wonder, continuing throughout the piece. It ends in a slightly ominous tone, from my interpretation; though she could be presenting it otherwise. I like that freedom she gives the reader. A very skillful presentation.~Laurel Dowswell, Features Editor

Fruitful Hearts by Karen Paul Holmes in HIV Here & Now

With spring in swing, the world is in bloom; and so, Holmes’ vegetation-based imagery fits right in. Beginning with grapes and ending with fruit trees, Holmes finds connections between fruit and life, nourishment, and love. Her simple diction and imagery are refreshing, reminiscent of a childhood splash in a cool shallow stream on a warm summer day. ~Emily Ramser, Editorial Assistant

Robert’s Cove by Roisin Kelly in Harpoon Review

Oh, I want to be within this poem. Irish landscapes…romantic gestures…The visuals of the actions make you yearn to be sated, just as the protagonist is “thirsty, as if I licked the salty undersides of little boats anchored in the bay.” Kelly brings such clarity to the scene. Glorious. Perhaps my long desire to visit Ireland to find my history in County Cork and Kerry has biased my critic’s heart, but I really don’t believe that. But I do believe in Roisin Kelly’s talent, and will definitely seek out more of her work. ~Laurel Dowswell, Features Editor

Three Attempts at Translation by Casey Patrick in The Boiler

Often when an author uses I in a poem, it causes me to feel isolated from the piece like an outsider watching through the window; but Patrick’s use of first person here does the exact opposite. Instead, I become the I. I am seeing the things that are happening in the depot, I am showing you the city, my hands, the water. I am wanting. I am watching myself want. Patrick weaves a phenomenal tale into these few short stanzas that leaves you wanting more. I’ve reread the piece three or four times now and each time, I find something new in it. Worth the read and all the subsequent rereads I am sure you will take on. ~Emily Ramser, Editorial Assistant

Abduction by Lois Roma-Deeley in Helen

Slice of life poems are so intriguing. You are introduced into someone else’s world, and you become the speaker as the reader in some ways. You lose yourself to this other person’s reality. At least, that’s what Roma-Deeley makes happen in her poem “Abduction.” For a moment, you cannot think of anything but Gabriel and his alien abduction or the warning of the palm reader. Roma-Deeley captures an average moment and makes it ascend to something so much more through the power of her writing.~Emily Ramser, Editorial Assistant

Poems by Mark Cunningham in Queen Mob’s Tea House

I see this collection of poems like colorful liquids in glass beakers, each wielding their individual powers that I do not clearly understand. But I am fascinated by them, examining them from a safe distance, inching just a little bit closer to the truth each time I read them. Cunningham is an enigmatic storyteller with these poems separated in [SORT]s. I can’t explain well what these pieces are about, but his language is riveting, sparked with humor, and truly original.~Laurel Dowswell, Features Editor

Emily Ramser is an undergraduate studying English, Creative Writing, and Religion at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing, and is expected to graduate in May of 2017. Some of her inspirations include Thornton Wilder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Bhanu Kapil, Andrea Gibson, Gabriel Gudding, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Gail Simone, and Alfred Lord Tennyson. Check out her black out poetry collection I Forgot How to Write When They Diagnosed Me. You can find more of her work at her blog.

Laurel Dowswell is the Features Editor at Change Seven. Her short story “I Am theEggman” was nominated for the 2016 Pushcart Prize. She was a copy editor for an independent feminist newspaper in Santa Fe, NM, after being raised and educated in Florida. She lives and writes in Georgia, just outside of Atlanta with her son. She is currently working on a novel filled with oil paintings, family drama, and the spectrum of sexuality. Follow her on twitter @laurels_idea.



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