Five Books: Carol Alexander, Terri Muuss, Kitty Jospé, Milenko Budimir, Frank Reardon

Reviewed by George Wallace

BRIDAL VEIL FALLS, Carol Alexander (Flutter Press, 2013)

Foreclosures of the heart. Derelict roofs come tumbling down. Near death moments and moments of calamity befall us, yet somehow we narrowly escape. And there are moments when we hang limp as a garden gate, suffering disrepair. In Bridal Veil Falls, Carol Alexander offers us all these moments and more. In poem after poem she reminds us we are all in the same fix called life together -- whether in precarious alliance or terribly alone, 'so close to another country…all but lost.' One could walk all night, sleepless, or heed Alexander’s dictum to "Live, you sore fools, live!" So we must, with the kind of rueful rejoicing and aplomb only a taleteller of Alexander's superb skill can summon to the telling.


OVEREXPOSED, Terri Muuss (J.B. Stillwater, 2013) 

Terri Muuss never misses a beat-- she has created poetry that straddles the terrible gulf between personal horror and the fictionalizing process that makes dealing with personal horror possible. This is poetry that demands to be read. It lives between myth and the monsters which make myth-making necessary. You will admire her fearlessness; you will admire even more the theatrical finesse with which she reveals just enough and no more, leaving it to your imagination to fill in the tantalizing gap. A captivating collection that rattles your cage and takes no prisoners.


MOSAICQ, Kitty Jospé (Finishing Line Press, 2013)

"Mosaic, explains Kitty Jospe, is the hard work of the muses, which is to imagine what isn’t, break what is and piece together the broken into a new whole. In poem after poem, Jospé does this hard work for her reader, breaking what is and offering up an assemblage of mythologies within mythologies, At their best, her poems are alchemy -- pieced together like a clenched fist from the fragmented heart of stone. Or pulled, like a sword, from solid stone. In these pages the Medusa's mad stare. In these pages poems sinuous as tempered steel. In these pages poems that sting us to profound silence, like golden honeybees sprung from Machado's broken heart."


DEPARTURES, Milenko Budimir (Burning River, 2012)

To enter these finely crafted poems by Milenko Budimir is to be swept up in a windswept and continuous present. His voice ranges widely, sometimes sharp as 'vinegar in your eye,' other times foreboding as a vulture hovering in the sky. Cut to the mad bone, too, like law and order reaching for its anatomical guns. And in his most graceful and ennobling moments one can hear the hush of eternity -- 'weighty/as a thimble/of stars' -- surrounding his words.


NIRVANA HAYMAKER, Frank Reardon (NeoPoeisis Press, 2012) 

Is it possible to crack the egg of doomed existence with some kind of 'Nirvana Haymaker'? The title of this book would suggest so. At least, temporarily. Like some Sisyphus of South Boston, Frank Reardon looks over his weary shoulder at us and tells poems about the temporary triumphs and necessary resignations of a damned soul. But there is more to these poems than that -- they want us to also see beyond necessary resignation – to believe that, caught between the hope of possibilities and the moment hearts and minds begin to break, we are capable of reclaiming for a little while a state of tragic grace, ‘more than man, more than beast, more than one who would always yield.'