Three Books: Jane Rosenberg LaForge, Laura Read, & Thomas Stock


With Apologies to Mick Jagger, Other Gods, and All Women by Jane Rosenberg LaForge (Aldrich Press, 2012) 

Being and on-being, Lao Tzu said, produce each other. Rosenberg LaForge’s third chapbook of poems is smart like that. A prismic oscillation, with explorations and transmutations as ephemeral as dust that rises like mustard, as day that liquefies into heat. She offers up country girls who, failing to subsist on water and lard, diminish into sand.  Faces of loved ones flicker into and out of being like improbable origami. Locked in the cambric of the world’s relentless weaving, it leaves us where it begins, where all things begin—in the whistling wind which sings in the heart of bone.


Instructions for My Mother's Funeral by Laura Read (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012) 

In these poems we find Laura Read in some unusual places; leaning out through a car window into the Wyoming dark, to avoid not hearing the silence of the man she rides beside. Riding the Octopus in Coney Island, heart like salt water taffy, screaming to get off.  In the kitchen of a donut factory squirting raspberry filling into donuts, fingers thick with sugar and lips still swollen from a night of long dragged out kisses in ditches littered with anonymous boys.  This is the America you were born into, dead so long you don’t even remember its voice, empty as pink Depression-era glass. “These breasts are heavy,” she intones, “Louisiana sweating down between them, and my body’s gone limp like the trees.” It’s enough to make you want to cut off your hair and offer it to the wind.


Hidden Agenda: A Poetry Journal by Thomas Stock (Writers Ink Press, 2012) 

We find poet and naturalist Stock "walking among pitch pines (and) mosses, crouched and touching their breast" in these placid and centered poems of his adopted home within the Long Island Pine Barrens  ecosystem. Stock teaches us to live richly on little things—dragonflies in a zinnia patch, green frogs on the edge of a small pond. Stop here for a daily dose of the tender beauty of nature unfolding from the sometimes prickly stuff of bone-dry woodlands and tannin-brown water.