Book Reviews

Bright Dead Things

Dave Seter’s review of “Bright Dead Things” by Ada Limón: In life’s trajectory from childhood story hour to adult happy hour, good storytellers are in demand. While some theories of poetry argue for silencing the “I” of authorship, Ada Limón’s brand of poetry is personal and emotionally honest. If a mere book of poetry can invite the reader into the kitchen for coffee and a story, Limón’s new collection Bright Dead Things does just that. Bright Dead Things explores the duality of joy and suffering. The phrase “bright dead things” comes from the collection’s poem “I Remember the Carrots.” Limón writes: “When I was a kid, I was excited about carrots, / their spidery neon tops in the garden’s plot.” The child, wanting to possess this beauty, rips out the immature crop and is scolded by her father. The poem expresses regret but also resistance to a life of passivity. Right out of…

Book Reviews

Don’t Sing to Me of Electric Fences

“The title of my poetry collection comes from the last line in my poem ‘Open Range’ which explores my drive from Boise to the Duck Valley Reservation to work on a mine reclamation project. I experienced that part of the Western United States with all the complications of disappearing culture, including among the last stretches of unfenced or ‘open’ range, and the ascendant culture of hard rock mining and appetite for copper.” —Dave Seter, Don’t Sing to Me of Electric Fences Reviews of “Don’t Sing to Me of Electric Fences“ “The title of Seter’s captivating collection may remind you of Whitman’s ‘I Sing the Body Electric’ from Leaves of Grass, but where Whitman celebrates the human physical body, Seter’s poems, in party, decry the effect humans have had on nature and revel in nature itself. Electricity runs throughout the pages, from ‘Open Range,’ where the speaker meets a free-range steer…

Book Reviews

Nighthawks

Nighthawks by Katherine Hastings reviewed by David Seter. Bursting from a railway tunnel into daylight I’ve often been shocked into the brightness of living. Trees seem leafier. Coffee shops beckon. Katherine Hastings takes the reader along for such a ride in her second collection Nighthawks. The journey progresses from New York City to Hastings’ home turf of Sonoma County, California, with stops along the way. A critic shaking off the dust of library stacks might be tempted to call Hastings a poet’s poet. After all, the collection’s first poem “Central Park Zoo” begins “Dear Garcia Lorca” and concludes not much has changed since the poet’s visit to New York City in 1929. While a student at Columbia University, Lorca witnessed first-hand Black Tuesday, the stock market crash. In Hastings’ poem a llama paces its enclosure in the zoo with “no one to speak llama to.” A woman sits on a bank’s…

Places to submit

Blue Lake Review

Sonoma County poet Dave Seter has a poem “Relative Strangers” in the Blue Lake Review (online journal), November 2020 issue. Blue Lake Review Our goal is to bring compelling, meaningful, insightful fiction and poetry to you every month. Something you can ponder and gnaw on. Something to bring light, or at least, growth and understanding to our readers on a regular basis. No frivolous pieces here. Your time is too valuable. We’re serious about our words, and are selective in what we present to you, sifting through the mountains of words to pull out the diamonds.  Submission Guidelines You, too, can see your writing in Blue Lake Review. Write. Revise. Polish. Submit!

Prompts

Collage in Poetry . . . Prompt #529

I would like to share collage in writing with you, some things I learned from the poet Dave Seter. His poem, “Fargo Airport, Waiting in a Bar” in The Write Spot: Writing as a Path to Healing is an example of using collage in poetry. The lines in italics in his poem are from signs on the wall and on the label on a bottle. He seamlessly incorporates “lines from others” into his poetry. Look around you . . . what writing do you see that you can use in your writing? Perhaps: A book title, a greeting card, writing on décor, writing on a tissue box, or a piece of mail. Or: A note you have written, writing on a coffee mug, a sign on a wall. A label on a jar, a can, or a bottle. You can also use song lyrics as a jumping off point for…