BY JOANNA C. VALENTE
Here are two books you should check out, whether you're cooling down at a coffee shop, at the beach, or at home taking it easy:
1. Marisa Crawford - "Reversible" (Switchback Books, 2017)
This book, which is Crawford's second, takes me back down memory lane. It's so full of nostalgia for the '90s, but especially girlhood and womanhood in the '90s, and what it was like coming of age in a time of boy bands, scrunchies, and Buffy. It intelligently explores sexuality, race, and gender in a time where everything seemed to be exploding, and yet, no one knew what anything actually meant. These poems cut deep, but also have a dark humor to them that I appreciate. Read "Sisterhood Isn’t Powerful" at Bone Bouquet.
Here's another excerpt:
2. Dallas Athent - "Theia Mania" (AntiSentiMental Society, 2017)
Athent's first poetry book is a bold debut. It has illustrations by Maria Pavlovska, which compliment the raw, confident, almost callous poems. The speaker gets our attention almost immediately, with an opening like:
"i am a venus rising.
a venus rising
from the rain fell
to the gutter.
i pick pennies off
and buy keebler
wafers from the
here we call them
i am a scumbag
The speaker lives in our modern world and landscape, focusing on what this means, what it means to live through our phones and social media personas. The structure of the poems also connects, and intertwines this:
Joanna C. Valente is the author of Sirs & Madams, The Gods Are Dead, Marys of the Sea, Xenos, and the editor of A Shadow Map: An Anthology by Survivors of Sexual Assault.