From religious texts to fiction to true crime, death, dying, and the possibilities of what comes after have been written about throughout history. And though fascination with death is not unique to writers, they are perhaps uniquely qualified to address it, at least in an entertaining and thoughtful way. Nicola Vulpe does just that in his new collection of poems, Insult to the Brain. Described on the front cover as an “altogether unreliable account” of Vulpe’s “conversations with poets, mostly about dying, but also about other matters great and small,” this collection is a unique ode to poets, their lives, and poetry itself.
I have a confession to make. I dog-ear books I’m reviewing. Reading wherever I happen to be, I crisply fold and tuck a small triangle of the top or bottom of pages I may end up quoting or referencing.
“So many things seem like a BIG DEAL.” So begins the back cover copy for Dina Del Bucchia’s latest poetry collection, and a truer sentence could not be said of our hyperconnected, contemporary world. Every five seconds there’s some new trend or bit of news we’re expected to have a reaction to, whether it’s outrage or joy, sadness or annoyance. It’s a Big Deal! tackles the concept of “bigness”―personal, ideological, physical, or otherwise―examining how we interpret and handle the captivations and distractions of modern life.
In 2017, pink pussy hats became a divisive piece of protest apparel at Women’s Marches around the world. GUSH: Menstrual Manifestos for Our Times, with its pink-toned cover and bold alliterative title, captures the same outspoken energy and political zeal as hatted protestors unabashedly chanting for bodily autonomy. But its contents delve far deeper than knitted hats ever could.