7 Reads We Recommend for July: HEAT by Laurel Dowswell & Emily Ramser

fado” by Scherezade Siobahn in Drunk in a Midnight Choir 

This remarkable poem is lush with romantic visuals, illusory settings, and thick sinewy language. Siobahn’s metaphors thrust me into the scenes with the feel of a targeted arched eyebrow. The fado swirls through the poem as an enticement of self-love, and a director of self-loathing. Her lines spill into each other without any capital letters, creating a pace that is quite captivating. She asks the unanswerable, the longing reverberating throughout the poem. It is one of three pieces on the page, each one a representation of a truly gifted wordsmith. ~ Laurel Dowswell, Features Editor

“The Kingdom of Touching” by I.S. Jones in Atrocity Exhibition

Jones’ words inhabit your entire body as you read them. You can feel the carpet digging into your knees, hear the soft music, feel the dull warmth of the candles on your skin. The poem captures you, bringing you into this intimate moment, this intimate kingdom. Jones’ poem is one of the best pieces I have read in months, maybe even years. Few times before has a poet ever been able to capture every one of my senses like she does. ~ Emily Ramser, Editorial Assistant

THEN GOD; OR, THE DAILY TORMENTS OF THE DEVIL” by Tristan Foster in Dead King Magazine 

Ready to travel with the devil? This fascinating experimental short prose piece in seventeen sections serves as a bit of a yield sign, but also describes a seduction — evil though it may be, but a seduction nonetheless. Even in the beginning line, “The devil skips along cobblestoned streets,” there is a taunting, bringing a cautionary vibration to the piece. The devil shouldn’t skip, right? But that’s all part of the deception, the attraction to our dark sides, forced with facing the consequences. ~ Laurel Dowswell, Features Editor

“Burn the Witch” by Catherine McGuire in The New Verse News

McGuire uses stunning language for her political poem. It is harsh and striking, jarring the reader. McGuire’s poem is both a phenomenal commentary on today’s political issues and a phenomenal piece of literature. ~ Emily Ramser, Editorial Assistant

The Eight Limbs of Brazilian Waxing” by Bahar Anooshahr in The Reject Pile 

Dealing with the application of hot wax through yoga sounds like a great idea to me. Whew! Bahar’s treatment of the experience is methodical and matter of fact, but very funny at the same time. It’s like a good friend telling it like it is in a situation that truly invites self-ridicule. A bit of an instructional manual, this second person narration bends you right in, making you squirm right along with her. Through Reclining Butterfly and Downward Facing Dog, she is your champion, holding your hand and reminding you to breathe, dammit. Breathe. ~ Laurel Dowswell, Features Editor

“Lima Limón” by Natalie Scenters-Zapico in Tinderbox Poetry Journal

This piece is gut-wrenching. It makes your lips twist into a pucker just like the lemons in the first line would force you to. Scenters-Zapico’s words fill your stomach and brain and mouth and eyes. You cannot escape it once you read it. I think it may be one of those pieces that will stay with me for the rest of my life; it is that beautifully written and haunting. ~ Emily Ramser, Editorial Assistant

“Forest Avenue” by Sara Quinn Rivara in Split Lip Magazine

As I read this piece, the words and years described burnt away in front of me. I tried to put it back together in my head, forcing images with charred edges back together. Then I blinked and realized that the poem still was there on my screen, not having burnt away as I imagined. Instead, Rivara’s words had sucked into me so fully that I imagined for a moment that it was my life both being described and burning away with the passage of time. ~ Emily Ramser, Editorial Assistant

Bonus Video!

Cab Rides & the Morning After by Alysia Nicole Harris

When I found this video in the review section of For the Scribes, it enraptured me right away. An accomplished poet, spoken word artist, and linguist, Alysia Nicole Harris offers this presentation of her poem with elegance, honesty, beauty, and raw power. It is a journey to absolution, and to the self. On one hand, a contemporary piece, and at the same time a representation of a timeless quest. The artistry of the video represents her poem immaculately. Beautiful work. ~Laurel Dowswell, Features Editor


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.

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.

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