Sunday, March 31, 2013

This is not your momma's poetry

Whether you noticed or not, TNBBC had taken an unannounced mini-break from the internets this week. While I was cleaning out my head and working through some difficult stuff, I curled up with some amazing new poetry collections from some of my favorite small presses.

All ode-to-video-games and grief-and-depression, incredible sexy-times-to-the-soundtrack-of-the-ocean and hold-your-tummy-hilariousness, these 4 poets are doing things with words you don't want to miss.

Beware, this is not your momma's poetry collection:

BJ Best (Rose Metal Press / March 2013)

Who doesn't love old school video games, right? If you're a GenXer like me, you can't pass up this collection of poetry inspired by the best of the retro-80's Atari and Nintendo games. Finding inspiration in the likes of Dig Dug, Pole Position, The Oregon Trail, and Space Invaders, BJ Best infuses his words with nostalgia and longing. Each poem recalls to us the wonder or aggravation of the game for which it was named, forcing us to recall those simpler times and sweeter victories. How very alike our feelings for these games mirror our interpretation of the world beyond the cartridge and console.

Even the collection's title, cleverly stolen from the Super Mario Bros game in which each castle defeat left the gamer frustrated because the prize - the princess - was yet at ANOTHER castle... even the title causes that familiar ache of love, expectation, and disappointment to wash over us. Imagine what the words contained within will do.

Corey Zeller (YesYes Books / March 2013)

To look at Corey - who I had the opportunity to meet at AWP this month - you'd never peg him as a poet. Not that I have this preconceived notion of what a poet should look like, mind you. But the words you'll find within the pages of this collection, words dripping with grief and ghostly ponderings, don't seem to match the man with the sideways cap and sleepy eyes.

There is incredible tenderness in these poems, a hesitant curiosity and confusion about what happens when someone we love leaves this world, and us with it, behind. Ghosts haunt its pages and feelings and thoughts seem to float up into the ether even as the poet attempts to tie them down and keep them grounded.

Ryan W Bradley (Concepcion Books {imprint of Curbside Splendor} / Sept 2013)

I got me a new collection of poetry from one of the coolest author/poets around. Ryan W Bradley is second only to Rod McKuen when it comes to tickling my heart and lady-parts with his words. That's right, I said it. His poetry touches me in all the most inappropriate ways and I simply cannot get enough.

This particular collection, an ode to Pablo Neruda's The Captain's Verses, contains some of the most passionate and love-drenched poetry I've read in a long, long time. Ryan, much like McKuen, has this incredible knack of taking a single, intimate moment and by turning it over and over again in his hands, stretching it into a lifetime into which he is born, lives and dies, and becomes born into again.

If you haven't had the experience of getting lost Ryan's poetry, I recommend you get that remedied right away. Since this collection doesn't release until fall, try these to whet your appetite: Love & Rod McKuen  and There Will Always Be Better

Jessy Randall (Red Hen Press / Sept 2012)

Jessy Randall is a girl after my own heart. Her poetry is about robots, muppets, monsters, dreams, video games, and motherhood. It's perfection parading around as paranoia. It makes you giggle, snort, hiccup, and gasp.

I stumbled across her collection just a few weeks ago while flipping through my twitter feed. Her Muppets Suite poem was linked through The Nervous Breakdown and I thought it was absolutely brilliant. The good news is... as awesome as this is.. there are poems within this collection that are even better. I know, how could that be possible, right?

Her approach to poetry is so refreshing. I'm betting she'd be a cool chick to hang out with. Go on and get this one. You're going to find so much to love here.

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