Witty and wise, Tamar Rubin’s debut collection, Tablet Fragments, fuses elements of her life as a doctor, mother, daughter, and Jew whose lineage is as varied as her verse. Her lyrics are pared down toward minimalism that nevertheless radiates outward, as her lines and margins leave room for breathing and meaning. From the opening poem, “Home Archeology,” to her concluding “Wedding Ceremony for Body Parts,” synecdoche recurs as a major stylistic component of her medical career and domestic conflicts. Hebrew fonts and backgrounds add resonance to these parts and create a wholeness from the fragments of tables and tableaux.
Sue MacLeod’s poems in Mood Swing, with Pear, her third book of poetry, dance down and across the page. In turns playful and deadly serious, tackling topics ranging from cancer to carrying a heavy flowerpot, MacLeod often stretches out lines and phrases to create spaces for the reader to pause and consider, to fill in and imagine, to breathe. Nine of the poems are found poems — or “compiled poems” — as she calls them in the notes, and just as many are ekphrastic in some manner, riffing off artwork, photos, or lines from literature. MacLeod writes the domestic and mundane the way painters approach scenes like a woman in a bathtub or a still life of a fruit bowl, as repeated attempts to “get it right”:
Meet graffitichild. Androgynous flâneur, she/he’s your intrepid guide into the urban underside of Steven Artelle’s debut collection, Metropantheon. (Full disclosure: he and I share the same publisher.) Through graffitichild’s demonic/saintly eyes, you experience “the noble stagger of addicts” and “catscratch legs and red lace” of the goddess of love.