Category Archive: Blot Lit Reviews

Jun 01

Blot Lit Reviews: Lantern Lit, Volume 3

Lantern Lit Series, Volume 3Dog On A Chain Press, 2016

Lantern Lit Series, Volume 3 Dog on a Chain Press, 2016 ISBN: 978-0-9855291-6-1 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson Dog on a Chain Press does it again with their highly regarded Lantern Lit Series. Volume 3 consists of three poetry chapbooks contained in one book by authors William Graham, Mat Gould, and Alan Catlin. Each has a …

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May 04

lot Lit Reviews: Not Quite So Stories by David S. Atkinson

Not Quite So Stories, David S. AtkinsonLiterary Wonderlust, 2016Reviewed by Kelsey Tabbert

Not Quite So Stories, David S. Atkinson Literary Wanderlust, 2016 ISBN: 9781942856030 Reviewed by Kelsey Tabbert Each strange but humorous tale from David S. Atkinson’s Not Quite So Stories feels like a small adventure into a world trapped between the familiar and the uncanny. A pattern establishes itself quickly, each story having some exaggerated component …

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Apr 26

Blot Lit Reviews: The Bloody Planet by Callista Buchen

The Bloody Planet, Callista BuchenBlack Lawrence Press, 2015Reviewed by Elizabeth Mobley

The Bloody Planet by Callista Buchen Black Lawrence Press, 2015 ISBN: 978-1-62557-951-5 Reviewed by Elizabeth Mobley Callista Buchen’s The Bloody Planet, her first full-length collection, embodies a universe filled with themes ranging from nature to cartography, art, love, death, life, traveling—the text is overripe with humanity and all that we face. “Bluebird” is a fitting …

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Apr 13

Blot Lit Reviews: Scars by Nadia Bruce-Rawlings

Scars, Nadia Bruce-RawlingsPunk Hostage Press, 2014Reviewed by Catherine Vlahos

Scars, Nadia Bruce-Rawlings Punk Hostage Press, 2014 ISBN: 9781940213002 Reviewed by Catherine Vlahos As writers and readers and listeners, we all understand the value of sharing the stories of our lives with others. However, sometimes spoken word fails us—our lips tremble, our voices stutter, our brains stumble—so we turn to writing. Nadia Bruce-Rawlings’ poetry and …

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Mar 24

Blot Lit Reviews: The Chronicles of Scarbo by Jenene Ravesloot

The Chronicles of Scarbo 2

The Chronicles of Scarbo, Jenene Ravesloot First Flight Books, 2013 ISBN: 978-0-9836035-7-3 Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell The Chronicles of Scarbo is the Inception of poetry collections. It’s a series of persona poems written about the character “Scarbo” who appeared in a 19th century French romantic poetry collection which then had a series of piano pieces …

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Mar 23

Blot Lit Reviews: Dancing on Broken Glass by Barbara Moore

Dancing o Broken Glass, Barbara MooreNightWing Publications, 2015Reviewed by Kelsey Tabbert

Dancing on Broken Glass, Barbara Moore NightWing Publications, 2015 ISBN: 978-0991450510 Reviewed by Kelsey Tabbert Each poem in Barbara Moore’s Dancing on Broken Glass feels like a snapshot of memory. Although the memories are not your own, Moore manages to capture something unmistakably familiar with each one—conjuring the melancholy comfort of looking back. This is …

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Mar 21

Blot Lit Reviews: Violent Outbursts by Thaddeus Rutkowski

Violent Outbursts, Thaddeus RutkowskiSpuyten Duyvil Press, 2016
Reviewed by Jonita Davis

Violent Outbursts by Thaddeus Rutkowski Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2016 ISBN: 978-1-941550-58-8 Reviewed by Jonita Davis Flash fiction pieces are just that, a “flash” of text that opens up an idea, image of slice of life for a closer look. Violent Outbursts by Thaddeus Rutkowski is that and more. It is a gathering of flashes from …

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Feb 11

Blot Lit Reviews: The Baltimore Atrocities by John Dermot Woods

The Baltimore Atrocities, John Dermot WoodsCoffee House Press, 2014Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell

The Baltimore Atrocities, John Dermot Woods Coffee House Press, 2014 ISBN: 978-1-56689-371-8 Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell   With a title like “The Baltimore Atrocities,” you don’t suspect the read to be a happy one, and while the story is grim and at times even horrifying, John Dermot Woods’ spin on the classic noir genre is …

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Feb 04

Blot Lit Reviews: Final Stanzas by Grant Tracey

Final Stanzas, Grant TraceyTwelve Winters Press, 2015Reviewed by Kelsie Plesac

Final Stanzas, Grant Tracey Twelve Winters Press, 2015 ISBN: 978-0986159718 Reviewed by Kelsie Plesac   There are certain works of fiction that require you to devour them in one sitting. You simply cannot sleep, eat, drink, talk, move until the words run out, and even then you crave more. Grant Tracey’s collection of short stories, …

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Jan 31

Blot Lit Reviews: The Blue Girl by Laurie Foos

The Blue Girl, Laurie FoosCoffee House Press, 2015Reviewed by Kesley Tabbert

The Blue Girl, Laurie Foos Coffee House Press, 2015 ISBN: 978-1566893992 Reviewed by Kelsey Tabbert In Laurie Foos’ mysterious and surreal novel, The Blue Girl, rumors float around a small lake town telling of a girl with blue skin who lives in the woods. The girl remains only a rumor until one day three mothers …

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Jan 28

Blot Lit Reviews: Lives of Crimes & Other Stories by L. Shapley Bassen

Lives of Crime& Other Stores, L. Shapley BassenTexture Press, 2014Reviewed by Meghan Davs

Lives of Crimes & Other Stories, L. Shapley Bassen Texture Press, 2014 ISBN:978-0692300039 Reviewed by Meghan Davis As readers, we often find ourselves in two variant situations. That is to say, while we read, we either assume the position of a character within a story or, we float above and around them like Casper the …

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Jan 26

Blot Lit Reviews: Bird Lizard Horse by August Smith

Bird Lizard Horse, August SmithNostrovia! Press, 2015Reviewed by Elizabeth Mobley

Bird Lizard Horse, August Smith Nostrovia! Press, 2015 Free EBOOK Reviewed by Elizabeth Mobley In Bird Lizard Horse, August Smith invites the reader into his “garden,” which he readily admits isn’t a garden at all: It’s a conceptual garden. The concept is that it’s empty. But Smith’s garden isn’t empty. In fact, it is filled …

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Jan 23

Blot Lit Reviews: Studies in the Hereafter by Sean Bernard

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 Studies in the Hereafter, Sean Bernard Red Hen Press, 2015 ISBN: 9781597099950 Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell   What happens to us after we die? Heaven? Hell? Nothing? Personally I hope there is infinite Netflix and the inability to get cavities—but regardless we all have our own theories. What happens, though, when what we expect turns …

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Jan 20

Blot Lit Reviews: The Part Time Shaman Handbook: An Introduction for Beginners by Michael Gillan Maxwell

The Part Time Shaman Handbook: An Introduction for Beginners, Michael Gillan MaxwellUnknown Press, 2015Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson

The Part Time Shaman Handbook: An Introduction for Beginners, Michael Gillan Maxwell Unknown Press, 2015 ISBN:099635266X Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson You know when you really like something you are reading when it inspires you to find out more. It’s like  when you discover a bit of knowledge, something that intrigues you, and set sets you …

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Jan 10

Blot Lit Reviews: Anatomies by Susan McCarty

Anatomies, Susan McCartyAforementioned Publications, 2015Reviewer, Kelsie Plesac

Anatomies, Susan McCarty Aforementioned Productions, 2015 ISBN: 978-1941143032 Reviewed by Kelsie Plesac   The epigraph, “Certain themes are incurable” (Lyn Hejinian, The Language of Inquiry) fittingly sits atop Susan McCarty’s short story collection, Anatomies. The stories, impressively diverse, are woven together by one thing: they cannot seem to shake their theme of the body, particularly …

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Jan 07

Blot Lit Reviews: Rings by Jasmine Dreame Wagner

Rings, Jasmine Dreame WagnerKelsey Street Press. 2014Reviewed by Jonita Davis

Rings by Jasmine Dreame Wagner Kelsey Street Pres, 2014 ISBN: 978-0932716835 Reviewer: Jonita Davis Have you ever seen one of those micro-photography puzzles? The ones that zoom in to the very fibers that make up an object? Like the ruts and hills that look like a desert-scape that ended up being the surface of a …

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Dec 23

Blot Lit Reviews: My Body is a Book of Rules by Elissa Washuta

My Body is a Book of Rules, Elissa WashutaRed Hen Press, 2015Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell

My Body is a Book of Rules, Elissa Washuta Red Hen Press, 2014 ISBN: 978-1-59709-969-1 Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell   Imagine you’re sick—you’ve caught that bug that’s been going around. Now imagine that all of those symptoms you’ve been suffering are invisible, and when you get back to work the following the week the best …

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Dec 19

Blot Lit Reviews: The Rise and Fall of the Yellow House by John Whittier Treat

The Rise and Fall of the Yellow House, John Whittier TreatBig Table Publishing, 2015Reviewed by Catherine Vlahos

The Rise and Fall of the Yellow House, John Whittier Treat Big Table Publishing, 2015 ISBN: 978-0996540575 Reviewed by Catherine Vlahos There are few things more romanticized by pop culture than decades past and hipster havens like Seattle (although I hear that everyone is predicting lifestyle trends that will usurp the hipster in 2016). Honestly, …

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Dec 13

Blot Lit Reviews: Something Good, Something Bad, Something Dirty by Brian Alan Ellis

Something Good, Something Bad, Something Dirty, Brian Alan EllisHouse of Vlad Productions, 2015Reviewed by Hayley Morris

Something Good, Something Bad, Something Dirty,  Brian Alan Ellis House of Vlad Productions, 2015 ISBN: 0692312757 Reviewed by Hayley Morris   Brian Alan Ellis, author of Something Good, Something Bad, Something Dirty, knows how to make the best out of a bad situation. In his latest effort comprised of short stories, Ellis goes through the …

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Dec 12

Blot Lit Reviews: Bullshit Rodeo by Misti Rainwater-Lites

Bullshit Rodeo, Misti Rainwater-LitesEpic Rites Press, 2014Reviewed by Mariel McElfresh

Bullshit Rodeo, Mistri Rainwater-Lites Epic Rites Press, 2014 ISBN: 978-0557722792 Reviewed by Mariel McElfresh   Bullshit Rodeo by Misti Rainwater-Lites is a story about 37-year-old Misti Velvet. In the book, the character does say that she is Misti Velvet Rainwater-Lites, so what I got out of that is this may be a fictionalized memoir of …

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Dec 10

Blot Lit Reviews: Road Trip by Lynette D’Amico

Road Trip, Lynette D'AmicoTwelve Winters Press, 2015Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson

Road Trip, Lynette D’Amico Twelve Winters Press, 2015 ISBN: 978-0-9895151-9-1 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson   Ever have a relationship that you hang onto just because it is comfortable or maybe it is a crutch that you lean on way too much. Maybe it is a reason you aren’t moving forward? Maybe it is a security …

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Dec 09

Blot Lit Reviews’ Fiction Blast!: Slab by Selah Saterstrom

Slab, Selah SaterstromCoffee House Press, 2015 Reviewed by Kelsey Tabbert

Slab, Selah Saterstrom Coffee House Press, 2015 ISBN: 978-1-56689-395-4 Reviewed by Kelsey Tabbert Selah Saterstrom’s Slab is the kind of novel you devour in one sitting—one moment I would take it in sips, reflecting on the poetic precision of the language, the next moment I’d find myself gulping it down, eager to see the novel …

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Dec 05

Blot Lit Reviews: Traveling by M. Mack

Traveling, M. Mack  Hyacinth Girl Press, 2015  Reviewed by Graham Bell

  Traveling, M. Mack Hyacinth Girl Press, 2015 Reviewed by Graham Bell Growing up is hard. You’ve heard that before, right? The process of growing up– Learning about yourself, who you are, how you relate to the people around you, understanding society’s expectations, and adapting to the best of your abilities… it isn’t easy. It’s …

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Dec 02

Blot Lit Reviews: Residue by Jim Knipfel

Residue, Jim KnipfelRed Hen Press, 2015Reviewed by Catherine Vlahos

Residue, Jim Knipfel Red Hen Press, 2015 ISBN: 9781597093026 Reviewed by Catherine Vlahos The holiday season is upon us, and what better way to celebrate than with cults, a double-homicide, and clueless police work? Jim Knipfel’s murder mystery novel Residue wrenches Leonard Koznowski from his comfortable, low-key life as the sheriff of rural Beaver Rapids, …

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Nov 30

Blot Lit Reviews: The Crawford County Sketchbook by Tom Janikowski

The Crawford County Sketchbook, Tom JanikowskiRed Hen Press, 2015Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson

The Crawford County Sketchbook, Tom Janikowski Red Hen Press, 2015 ISBN: 978-59709-533-4 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson The cover of Tom Janikowski’s first full length novel in shorts, The Crawford County Sketchbook, is a telltale sign of the rural, down-home weirdness you will find inside. Written in three main sections, with the first offering 36 flash …

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Nov 28

Blot Lit Reviews: Animation by Evan Guilford-Blake

Animation cover

Animation,  Evan Guilford-Blake Deeds Publishing, 2015 ISBN: 978-1-941165-95-9 Reviewed by James Holden Evan Guilford-Blake’s second novel, Animation, focusses on the struggle of Adonis Agystyn, or Aggie as he prefers to be known, to cope with the reduced circumstances he has found himself in: “There are only thirty-five, forty apartments all told, and he sees two …

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Nov 05

Blot Lit Reviews: An Interview with Sara Henning

author photo_Sara Henning

Her chapbook Garden Effigies is a moving depiction of abuse, body, female experience, and survival. What can we find out about Sara Henning, beside that she has a cat that looks mysteriously similar to Review Editor Kayla Greenwell’s cat? Well, we thought we’d ask her some questions, and here is what we learned about the warm and wonderful …

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Nov 04

Blot Lit Reviews: Garden Effigies by Sara Henning

Garden Effigies, Sara Henning Dancing Girl Press & Studio, 2015Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell

Garden Effigies, Sara Henning Dancing Girl Press & Studio, 2015 Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell Do you know the feeling of satisfaction you get when you see something fit perfectly into its aesthetic archetype—like the perfectly shaped ice cream cone or having all of your books line up perfectly on a shelf? That is the same …

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Oct 28

Blot Lit Reviews: Sophia’s Journal by Najiyah Diana Maxfield

Sophia's Journal, Najiyah Diana MaxfieldDaybreak Press, 2014 Reviewed by Jonita Davis

Sophia’s Journal, Najiyah Diana Maxfield Daybreak Press, 2014 ISBN:978-0990625902 Reviewed by Jonita Davis Science fiction is a genre often used for testing new ideas and exposing complicated, existing ones. Najiyah Diana Maxfield’s young adult novel Sophia’s Journal performs both tasks in an age when American students could use some education on the Muslim culture—as well …

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Oct 21

Blot Lit Reviews: The Existentialist Cookbook by Shawnte Orion

The existentialist cookbook

  The Existentialist Cookbook, Shawnte Orion NYQ Books, 2014 ISBN: 978-1-935520-92-4 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson The Existentialist Cookbook by Shawnte Orion attempts to tackle the realities and absurdities in society, addressing everything from moon cheese to Keith Richard—getting to the heart of existential thought. The cover art by Carol Roque is exceptional and makes TEC …

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Oct 14

Blot Lit Reviews: Make Anything Whole by Brendan Walsh

original

Make Anything Whole, Brendan Walsh Five Oaks Press, 2015 ISBN: 978-0990784203 Reviewed by Miranda Morley From the humid heat of Laos, to the cities of Korea, to the twisting turning highways of the United States, Brendan Walsh’s poetry collection, Make Anything Whole, invites you to experience a world of diverse people, foods, liquors, environment, and …

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Oct 07

Blot Lit Reviews: Celadon by Lucia Blinn

photo found at yourobserver.com

Celadon, Lucia Blinn First Flight Books, 2013 Reviewed by Elizabeth Mobley Celadon, one of Lucia Blinn’s several full-length collections, allows readers to watch the reel of memories play across her mind. With poem titles such as, “I was a Teenage Knitter,” “Consider the College Drop-Out,” and “What Do You Think When I Say: Potato Pancakes?,” …

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Sep 30

Blot Lit Reviews: Pigeons and Peace Doves by Matthew J. Hall

Pigeons and Peace Doves, Matthew J. HallBlood Pudding Press, 2015Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell

Pigeons and Peace Doves, Matthew J. Hall Blood Pudding Press, 2015 Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell It is not often I come across a chapbook that incorporates the tangible materials of its binding and pages into the reading experience. The silvery sparkle of the grey pages and the messy, yet endearing thread binding of Matthew J. …

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Sep 24

Blot Lit Reviews: Fiddle is Flood by Lauren Gordon

Fiddle is Flood, Lauren GordonBlood Pudding Press, 2015Reviewed by Jonita Davis

The Fiddle is Flood, Lauren Gordon Blood Pudding Press, 2015 Reviewed by Jonita Davis Lauren Gordon’s Fiddle is Flood embodies the idea of the “chapbook as an experience.” The front cover is a throwback to the days of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and her homestead on the prairie. There’s even a purple yarn embellishment to the heavy paper …

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Sep 19

Blot Lit Reviews: Tables Without Chairs #1 by Brian Alan Ellis and Bud Smith

Tables Without Chairs #1, Brian Alan Ellis & Bud Smith House of Vlad, 2015Reviewed by Julie Larson

Tables Without Chairs #1,  Brian Alan Ellis and Bud Smith Illustrations by Waylon Thornton House of Vlad, 2015 ISBN: 978-0996352659 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson Everyone loves a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Even though separately both taste so good, spread them together on a cracker and you just can’t stop eating the stuff. The same …

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Sep 16

Blot Lit Reviews: Under the Mountain Born by John Swain

Under The Mountain Born, John SwainLeast Bittern Books, 2015Reviewed by Catherine Vlahos

Under the Mountain Born, John Swain Least Bittern Books, 2015 ISBN: 978-1511943727 Reviewed by Catherine Vlahos Grab your granola bars and hiking boots, because we’re going camping. Maybe. Honestly, “camping” is possibly too manufactured of a word to describe the trip John Swain’s poetry collection Under the Mountain Born embarks on. Regardless, get ready to kiss …

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Sep 12

Blot Lit Reviews: KocKblockers by Karl Koweski

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KocKblockers, Karl Koweski Kleft Jaw Press, 2014 ISBN: 978-1505543957 Reviewed by Stacey Brown KocKblockers is a collection of nine stories written by long-time small press champion Karl Koweski. If there is a writer that most encompasses the Blotterature tag line “merging the art of fancy words with blue collar sensibilities,” it is Koweski. His characters are …

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Sep 09

Blot Lit Reviews: Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets by Jacob M. Appel

Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets, Jacob M. Appel Black Lawrence Press, 2015 Reviewed by Kelsie Plesac

Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets, Jacob M. Appel Black Lawrence Press, 2015 ISBN: 978-1-62557-933-1 Reviewed by Kelsie Plesac Jacob M. Appel’s collection of short stories, Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets, is a smart, completely unique collection that is eccentric in the very best of ways. The mood and tone of the …

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Aug 30

Blot Lit Reviews: Where the Meadowlark Sings by Ellaraine Lockie

Where the Meadowlark sings

Where the Meadowlark Sings, Ellaraine Lockie Encircle Publications, 2015 ISBN-10: 1893035239 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson Dear Ellaraine, Here, in the middle of urban metropolis commercialism, where I have spent most of my living and will remain for some time, there seems to be an alter ego with a bullhorn in my head trying to lead …

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Aug 26

Blot Lit Reviews: The Secret Games of Words by Karen Stefano

The Secret Games of Words, Karen Stefano1 Glimpse Press, 2015 Reviewed by Kelsie Plesac

The Secret Games of Words, Karen Stefano 1 Glimpse Press, 2015 ISBN: 978-1502544131 Reviewed by Kelsie Plesac Karen Stefano’s The Secret Games of Words is a thought-provoking collection of compelling and complex characters who tackle difficult situations with wit and heart-breaking honesty. Each of these 23 stories resonate with the reader, making the act of reading …

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Aug 22

Blot Lit Reviews: meant to wake up feeling by Aimee Herman

Meant to Wake Up Feeling, Aimee HermanGreat Weather for MEDIA, 2014Reviewed by Lily Rex

Meant to Wake Up Feeling, Aimee Herman Great Weather for MEDIA, 2014 ISBN:978-0985731748 Reviewed by Lily Rex Aimee Herman’s Meant to Wake Up Feeling will have you afraid that someone in a crowded train station is reading over your shoulder. So, you read it in your own house late at night, and with your heart racing …

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Aug 19

Blot Lit Reviews: We Can’t Read This by Meg Day

We Cant Read This, Meg DayGrazing Grain Press, 2013Reviewed by Elizabeth Mobley

We Can’t Read This, Meg Day Gazing Grain Press, 2013 Reviewed By Elizabeth Mobley There is a reason why Meg Day was named a Best New Poet in 2013; her chapbook, We Can’t Read This, is edgy and reflective—a fresh and unexpected new exploration of written, signed, oral, and expressive language. Day challenges the nature …

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Aug 16

Blot Lit Reviews: How to Carry Bigfoot Home by Chris Tarry

How to Carry Bigfoot Home, Chris TarryRed Hen Press, 2015Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell

How to Carry Bigfoot Home, Chris Tarry Red Hen Press, 2015 ISBN: 978-1-59709-301-9 Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell Anyone who has seen my Sailor Moon memorabilia knows I am all about girl power. So, I was a little daunted when I picked up How to Carry Bigfoot Home, Chris Tarry’s collection about maleness. And I did struggle …

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Aug 12

Blot Lit Reviews: The Crossing by Jonathan Fink

The Crossing, Jonathan FinkDzanc Books, 2015Reviewed by Catherine Vlahos

The Crossing, Jonathan Fink Dzanc Books, 2015 ISBN: 978-1938103025 Reviewed by Catherine Vlahos There is something inherently pleasing about pairs to us humans: salt and pepper, peanut butter and jelly, cats and dogs, life and death… Jonathan Fink’s The Crossing is acutely aware of our natural affinity towards perfect pairings and the very raw humanity within …

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Aug 11

Blot Lit Reviews: Drink by Laura Madeline Wiseman

Drink, Laura Madeline WisemanBlazeVOX, 2015Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell

Drink, Laura Madeline Wiseman BlazeVOX, 2015 ISBN:978-1-60964-205-1 Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell Drink is not your typical mermaid tale. Laura Madeline Wiseman ditches Ariel’s “dinglehopper” hairbrush for sharp teeth and empty bottle collections, and she uses a mixture of ethereal imagery and cutting realities to refocus some of the more painful parts of human experience. Madeline …

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Aug 05

Blot Lit Reviews: My Beautiful Hook-Nosed Beauty Queen Strut Wave by Jeff Kass

My Beautiful Hook-Nosed Beauty Queen Strut Wave, Jeff KassDzanc Books, 2014Reviewed by Catherine Vlahos

My Beautiful Hook-Nosed Beauty Queen Strut Wave, Jeff Kass Dzanc Books, 2014 ISBN: 978-1936873678 Reviewed by Catherine Vlahos As a feeble, shy girl who spent the majority of her youth inside her room plagued with allergies and back problems, I was skeptical after reading the first few poems of Jeff Kass’s My Beautiful Hook-Nosed Beauty Queen …

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Jul 30

Blot Lit Reviews: Introvert/Extrovert by Russell Jaffe

Introvert/Extrovert, Russell Jaffe Punk Hostage Press, 2015 ISBN: 978-1-904213-81-1 Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell Put on your dang moon boots, because Jaffe’s Introvert/Extrovert is going to take you on a mother-F’in ride!! This poetry collection uses the strange and brilliant mixture of code switching, emotional imagery, and “keyboard smashing,” in what I can only describe as experimental …

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Jul 20

Blot Lit Reviews: Interview with Jane L. Carman

Photo on 1-6-15 at 2.12 PM #2

  Jane L. Carman is the founder of the Festival of Language, a reading eXperiment, Lit Fest Press, and codirector of the Publications Unit at Illinois State University where she received her PhD and is a former Sutherland Fellow. She prefers writing that takes in genreless breaths and lives by rules that continuously morph into …

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Jul 18

Blot Lit Reviews: Tin House Book’s The World Split Open

The World Split Open, Tin House Books2014Reviewed by Jonita Davis

The World Split Open: Great Authors on How and Why We Write  Tin House Books, 2014 ISBN: 978-1-935639-96-1 Reviewed by Jonita Davis Every aspiring writer, at some point in his or her journey, looks for guidance from those before them who have tamed their words.  I remember picking up books by Stephen King and Janet …

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Jul 15

Blot Lit Reviews: Tangled in Motion by Jane L. Carman

Tangled in Motion, Jane L. Carman JEF Books, 2015Reviewed by Elizabeth Mobley

Tangled in Motion, Jane L. Carman JEF Books, 2015 ISBN: 978-1884097638 Reviewed by Elizabeth Mobley Jane L. Carman has aptly named her poetry collection Tangled in Motion. The labyrinthine web of experimental, abstract poetry—with hardly a concrete image to latch onto—features three main characters: Hot Mama, Sweet (or Sugar) Daddy, and Baby C (or CC). …

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Jul 12

Blot Lit Review: An Interview with Rebecca Foust

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  It’s not often a piece of work challenges our Co-Founder Julie Demoff-Larson, but Rebecca Foust’s Paradise Drive sure did.  It made us at Blotterature curious to see how she ticks and what this incredible poet has been up to. Spoiler: She got to live (AND WRITE) in Robert Frost’s Freakin’ Farmhouse. How cool is that? …

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Jul 11

Blot Lit Reviews: Paradise Drive by Rebecca Foust

Paradise Drive, Rebecca Foust Press 53, 2015Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson

Paradise Drive, Rebecca Foust Press 53, 2015 ISBN: 977-1-941209-16-5 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson I am not even sure where to begin this review because Rebecca Foust’s Paradise Drive, winner of the Press 53 Award for Poetry, has taken me on a surprisingly emotional journey. Paradise Drive is a contemporary collection of sonnets that is critical …

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Jul 09

Blot Lit Reviews: An Interview with Amy L. Eggert

Eggert_headshot

Amy L. Eggert is a Midwest gem. Her work appears in Festival Writer, Bluffs Literary Magazine, Heart, and American Book Review, and her heart-wrenching, blood-and-guts collection certainly captured our attention. Blotterature is thrilled to have reviewed Scattershot. Blotterature has a strong connection to our place – industrialized Northwest Indiana – and it is reflective in our writing. …

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Jul 08

Blot Lit Reviews: Scattershot by Amy L. Eggert

Scattershot, Amy L. Eggert Lit Fest Press, 2015 ISBN: 978-1943170005 Reviewed by Lyle Carating Amy L. Eggert’s Scattershot is absolutely chilling. This collection of poetry and short stories is filled with disastrous, emotionally-charged imagery that kept my attention from the first piece all the way to the last. In fact, after reading each piece, I …

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Jul 06

Blot Lit Reviews: The Hook and The Haymaker by Jared Yates Sexton

hook

The Hook and The Haymaker, Jared Yates Sexton Split Lip Press, 2014 ISBN: 978-0-9909035-2-9 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson Jared Yates Sexton’s short story collection, The Hook and The Haymaker is a solid example of blue collar/working class, down-and out, winter of our discontent writing. Detailed and character driven, Sexton’s stories explore relationships—the good, the bad, …

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Jul 02

Blot Lit Reviews: An Interview with Mindela Ruby

2-22 partying

  Mindela Ruby is funny, quirky, and all together down to earth. Blot’s thrilled to have been able to read a book as cut-throat and honest as Mosh It Up. Make sure you check it out and see what Ruby is up too. Hope you enjoy our interview with her. Blotterature has a strong connection …

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Jul 01

Blot Lit Reviews: Mosh It Up by Mindela Ruby

MoshItUp_Front-200

Mosh It Up, Mindela Ruby Pen-L Publishing, 2014 ISBN: 978-1-940222-70-7 Reviewed by Catherine Vlahos Even if the only thing you know about punk is that Brand New’s Your Favorite Weapon album is widely regarded as a masterpiece, Mindela Ruby’s hardcore, hard-knocked punk protagonist Boop demands your attention and never lets go. Mosh It Up may …

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Jun 24

Blot Lit Reviews: Open Heart Sutra Surgery by Stephen Roxborough

Open Heart Sutra Surgery

Open Heart Sutra Surgery by Stephen Roxborough NeoPoiesisPress, 2013 ISBN: 978-0-9892018-3-4 Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell A love poem is a love poem, is a love poem. But can the same thing be said about desire? Open Heart Sutra Surgery (NeoPoiesisPress, 2013) by Stephen Roxborough is an interesting exploration of questions like these. His “arc of …

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Jun 20

Blot Lit Reviews: A Condensation of Maps by Roberto Carcache Flores

A Condensation of Maps

A Condensation of Maps, Roberto Carcache Flores Dink Press, 2015 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson Dink Press has a nice niche going on in the realm of chapbooks. Their primary focus is on emerging poets who have great potential for future growth, and that comes through in Roberto Carache Flores’ A Condensation of Maps. This nineteen …

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Jun 17

Blot Lit Reviews: Mendeleev’s Mandala by Jessica Goodfellow

Mendeleev's Mandala

Mendeleev’s Mandala by Jessica Goodfellow Mayapple Press, 2015 ISBN: 978-1-936419-49-4 Reviewed by Elizabeth Mobley Jessica Goodfellow’s Medeleev’s Mandala is a fantastic labyrinth of poetic imagination. Her playground of words comes alive, begging the reader to play along. The collection, which includes a range of works from traditional poetry to experimental forms, offers a fresh look …

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Jun 12

Blot Lit Reviews: If Not For This by Pete Fromm

If Not For This

If Not For This, Pete Fromm Red Hen Press, 2015 ISBN: 978-1597095389 Reviewed By Sam Slaughter Pete Fromm’s newest novel attempts to take on the raging river that is loved ones dealing with a degenerative disease while trying to live a normal life and, for the most part, he succeeds. If Not For This begins with …

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Jun 10

Blot Lit Reviews: The Paul Simon Project by Karen Lillis

The Paul Simon Project

The Paul Simon Project, Karen Lillis Night Ballet Press, 2014 ISBN: 978-1-940996-74-5 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson There is something to be said about the music we love and the poetry in the lyrics. We identify with the messages and make those that resonate with us the backdrops of our lives. So, I was really excited …

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Jun 06

Blot Lit Reviews: Liturgical Calendar by Kevin Brown

Kevin Brown

Liturgical Calendar by Kevin Brown Resource Publications, 2014 ISBN: 1498203752 Reviewed by Jonita Davis Kevin Brown’s Liturgical Calendar is a poetry experience for any true lover of the lyric manipulation of the written word. I know. That sounds like a pompous exaggeration. I assure you that the distinction is warranted. Read on. You’ll see. First …

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Jun 03

Blot Lit Reviews: The Dark Sunshine by Len Kuntz

KuntzCoverWeb-500jpg_388x600_60b1f7acda693ca74e1b6bd8076c8a96

The Dark Sunshine, Len Kuntz Connotation Press, 2014 ISBN: 978-0-9914613-0-1 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson Wonderful! That is my first thought after I read Len Kuntz’ shorts collection The Dark Sunshine. Indicative of the title, these little ditties have glimpses of the appalling, humorous, and hopeful nature of the human condition. I found myself rooting for …

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May 30

Blot Lit Reviews: When You Cross That Line by Sam Slaughter

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When You Cross That Line, Sam Slaughter There Will Be Words, 2015 Reviewed by Catherine Vlahos Some stories are meant to be recited by lofty academics, celebrated and lauded by philosophers and critics across the globe—and some are meant to make you do a double-take between sips of your cheap morning coffee. Sam Slaughter’s award-winning …

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May 27

Blot Lit Reviews: What We Love And Will Not Give Up by Emily Alta Hockaday

Emily Alta Hockaday Cover

What We Love and Will Not Give Up, Emily Alta Hockaday Dancing Girl Press, 2015 Reviewed by Lyle Carating Emily Alta Hockaday’s latest publication comes in the form of a delightful chapbook titled What We Love And Will Not Give Up. This collection of poems beautifully demonstrates the namesake of the text as Hockaday explores …

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May 24

Blot Lit Reviews: You Could Never Objectify Me More Than I’ve Already Objectified Myself by Alexandra Naughton

Alex Naughton

You Could Never Objectify Me More Than I’ve Already Objectified Myself by Alexandra Naughton Punk Hostage Press, 2015 ISBN: 978-1940213804 Reviewed by Michelle L. Quinn You Could Never Objectify Me More Than I’ve Already Objectified Myself by Alexandra Naughton has good intentions, but has a hard time delivering an authentic voice—at least one that we …

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May 20

Blot Lit Reviews: Pointed Sentences by Bill Yarrow

Pointed Sentences, Bill YarrowBlazeVOX, 2012Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell

Pointed Sentences by Bill Yarrow BlazeVOX, 2012 ISBN: 978-1-60964-082-8 Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell   Bill Yarrow has somehow figured out a way to cage chaos. Pointed Sentences (BlazeVOX, 2012) is like a trip to the future, where poetry has evolved into an ever-shifting being. His words defy categorization or replication, and Yarrow is not afraid …

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May 19

Blot Lit Reviews: Blasphemer by Bill Yarrow

Blasphemer by Bill Yarrow Lit Fest Press, 2015 ISBN: 1943170010 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson On the back of Bill Yarrow’s second poetry collection, Bud Smith states that “Blasphemer doesn’t fuck around.” And it doesn’t. Blasphemer is everything a worshipper of contemporary poetry is looking for and deserves a critical in-depth analysis. However, word count and …

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May 16

Blot Lit Reviews: Typewriter for a Superior Alphabet, Stories from the Archive of Lost Possibilities by Robert P. Kaye

Typewriter for a Superior Alphabet / Stories from the Archive of Lost Possibilities by Robert P. Kayealice blue books, 2013Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson

                        Typewriter for a Superior Alphabet, Stories from the Archive of Lost Possibilities by Robert P Kaye alice blue books, 2013 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson Typewriter for a Superior Alphabet, Stories from the Archive of Lost Possibilities by Robert P. Kaye is a beautiful …

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May 13

Blot Lit Reviews: Through a Garden Gate by Charlotte Mandel

                    Through a Garden Gate by Charlotte Mandel, poems and Vincent Covello, photographs David Robert Books, 2015 ISBN: 9781625491213 Reviewed by Elizabeth Mobley Charlotte Mandel’s poetry in Through a Garden Gate invites the reader to take a nature walk through the paths of Vincent Covello’s magnificent …

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May 07

Blot Lit Reviews: Lantern Lit, Volume 2

Lantern Lit, Volume 2
Dog on a Chain Press, 2014Reviewed by Michelle L. Quinn

                      Lantern Lit, Volume 2 Dog on a Chain Press, 2014 ISBN 978-0-9855291-5-4 Reviewed by Michelle L. Quinn There’s an argument out there – and one that we have here at Blotterature often enough – about what makes a “prose poem” a poem and not, …

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May 02

Blot Lit Reviews: Addicts & Basements by Robert Vaughan

Vaughan

                        Addicts & Basements, Robert Vaughan Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2014 ISBN: 9781937865238 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson Addicts & Basements demonstrates Robert Vaughan’s versatility as a writer, showing mastery in technique as the collection moves freely from poetry to prose. This eclectic collection is divided …

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Apr 22

SLAG by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

    Slag by Leslie Anne Mcilroy Main Street Rag Publishing, 2014 ISBN: 978-1-55942-492-1 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson   Holy Crap! Leslie Anne Mcilroy’s poetry collection SLAG rips any taboos associated with sexual abuse to shreds and spreads the bits all out in the open that challenges the comfort zone. The collection, presented in three parts, …

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Apr 16

An Interview with Michael Patrick Collins

Michael Patrick Collins

Blotterature loves it when one of our contributors reaches out to us to do more for them. So, we were thrilled when Michael Patrick Collins contacted us for a Blot Lit Review. We hope you enjoy what Michael has to share with all of us. Blotterature has a strong connection to our place – industrialized …

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Apr 15

Blot Lit Review: Psalmandala by Michael Patrick Collins

Psalmandala Michael Patrick Collins ELJ Publications, 2014 Reviewed by Cathleen Allyn Conway “All creation must converse with culmination,” Michael Patrick Collins writes in his collection Psalmandala, and one could argue this is the conceit the collection attempts to interrogate. Among the narratives of mythology and myth-making, the ruminations on loss and change, the dreamscapes and …

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Apr 01

Blot Lit Reviews: Unfounded by Michael Trocchia

Unfounded by Michael Trocchia FutureCycle Press, 2015 ISBN: 1938853601 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson Michael Trocchia’s Unfounded (FutureCycle Press, 2015) is rooted in the abstract with just enough concrete images to get the gist of what he is trying to accomplish in this short poetry collection of 28 poems. Arranged into three sections, the poems almost …

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Mar 25

Blot Lit Reviews: Face Painting in the Dark, Poems by Ann Cefola

Face Painting in the Dark, Poems by Ann Cefola Dos Madres Press, 2015 ISBN: 978-1939929167 Reviewed by Lyle Carating Face Painting in the Dark (Dos Madres Press, 2015) by Ann Cefola is a fantastic example of what beautiful poetry can be. Reflecting on her own experiences, Cefola inserts seemingly trivial everyday situations into her poems …

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Mar 23

Blot Lit Reviews: Wake by Laura Madeline Wiseman

Wake by Laura Madeline Wiseman Aldrich Press, 2015 ISBN:978-0692364338 Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell Wake (Aldrich Press, 2015) by the prolific Laura Madeline Wiseman is one of several publications to come out in the past two years.  Co-founder Julie Demoff-Larson and I were both recognized in the acknowledgements of this piece, and there are several pieces in …

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Mar 21

Blot Lit Reviews: The Hunger of the Cheeky Sisters: Ten Tales by Laura Madeline Wiseman

The Hunger of the Cheeky Sisters: Ten Tales by Laura Madeline Wiseman Les Femmes Folles Books, 2015 ISBN: 978-0-692-36231-0 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson In another successful venture with small press publishing house Les Femmes Folles Books, Laura Madeline Wiseman offers The Hunger of the Cheeky Sisters: Ten Tales (HCSTT) this time around. This collection of …

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Mar 18

Blot Lit Reviews: Running Music by Crystal Simone Smith

  Running Music by Crystal Simone Smith Longleaf Press, 2014 Reviewed by Elizabeth Mobley Crystal Simone Smith’s Running Music sings all the sweet melodies of home. The poetry in this collection is simple yet inviting, short but deep, allowing for a quick run through or a methodical jog. These traditional poems, ripe with metaphor, double …

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Mar 11

Blot Lit Reviews: No-Accounts by Tom Glenn

No-Accounts by Tom Glenn Apprentice House, 2014 Reviewed by Lyle Carating Tom Glenn’s No-Accounts (Apprentice House, 2014) may be fictional, but it contains an abundance of woeful truths. Set in the 1980s when the AIDS scare was at its peak, No-Accounts is told from the perspectives of Peter, a 31-year-old gay dancer dying of AIDS, …

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Mar 04

Blot Lit Reviews: How to be Another and This Visit by Susan Lewis

    Review: How to be Another and This Visit by Susan Lewis Červená Barva Press, Blaze VOX [books], 2014 Reviewed By Elizabeth Mobley Susan Lewis’ full-length prose poetry collection, How to be Another and her full-length poetry collection, This Visit are highly abstract, punny, and rich in carefully planned out verbiage. Her soulful words …

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Feb 25

Blot Lit Reviews: Watching the Perseids by Jed Myers

Watching the Perseids, Jed Myers Sacramento Poetry Center Press, 2014 Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell Watching the Perseids (Sacramento Poetry Center Press, 2014) truly reflects the star shower for which it is named. The collection of previously published poems encompasses the conflict, climax, and fallout of the narrator’s cancer-suffering father—and the journey is one that is …

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Feb 18

The Arctic Circle by Kristina Marie Darling

Review: The Arctic Circle by Kristina Marie Darling BlazeVOX [Books], 2015 Reviewed by Cathleen Allyn Conway Kristina Marie Darling’s The Arctic Circle begins with an act of defiance: the narrator of the first poem drives into a snowstorm because her fiancé tells her not to. You can’t have ‘defiance’ without ‘fiancé’, all the more so …

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Feb 11

Review: Deep River Burning by Donelle Dreese

Deep River Burning, Donelle Dreese WiDo Publishing, 2014 Reveiwed by Jonita Davis   The cover of Donelle Dreese’s Deep Burning River features sunset hues over the foaming sea. Under over-sized title font stands a lithe, scantily-clad damsel looking out onto the horizon. All of these elements predict a romance novel in the pages to come. …

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Feb 07

Later, Knives & Trees by Maureen Alsop

Later, Knives & Trees by Maureen Alsop Negative Capability Press, 2014 Reviewed by Janine Harrison The cover art aroused curiosity. The feel of the cover and paper within was smooth, soft to the touch. And the introductory blurbs were poetic—making me want to not only read Maureen Alsop’s collection but also to explore the reviewers’ …

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Feb 04

Burning Number Five Power Plant Poems by Cindy Huyser

Burning Number Five Power Plant Poems, Cindy Huyser Blue Horse Press, 2014 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson Cindy Huyser’s chapbook collection, Burning Number Five Power Plant Poems, 2014 co-winner of the Blue Horse Press Chapbook Contest, is a reminder that writers are immersed in all corners of society and not just coming out of academics. Blue …

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Jan 21

A Week With Beijing by Meg Eden

A Week With Beijing by Meg Eden Neon, A Literary Magazine, release date February 7, 2015 Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell Meg Eden‘s A Week With Beijing, due out on February 7 from Neon, A Literary Magazine, is a refreshing collection of difficult truths and insightful discovery. In this 21 poem collection, the author charts her intimate …

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Jan 14

Intimates and Fools by Laura Madeline Wiseman and Sally Deskins

Intimates and Fools Poetry by Laura Madeline Wiseman Art by Sally Deskins Les Femmes Folles Books, 2014 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson   This time around, versatile poet Laura Madeline Wiseman teams up with artist Sally Deskins for a collaboration that is full of whimsy, yet reflective of how women identify, judge, and love their bodies. Intimates and Fools, …

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Jan 07

Blot Lit Reviews: Einstein’s Beach House Stories by Jacob M Appel

  Einstein’s Beach House Stories by Jacob M Appel Pressgang, 2014 Reviewed by Julie Demoff-Larson Warning: this review is a sappy love story  between Julie Demoff-Larson and the contents of Jacob M Appel’s collection of short stories, Einstein’s Beach House. Now that my adoration has been stated and the element of surprise squashed, I will state the reasons …

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Dec 30

Blot Lit Reviews: An Interview with Laura Madeline Wiseman

  Laura Madeline Wiseman has been a great friend to Blotterature and we are always excited when she has a new collection for us to review. She is one of the hardest working small press writers out there today, fearless in her marketing and generous with her time. Kayla Greenwell gave a glowing review of …

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Dec 30

Blot Lit Reviews: Threnody by Laura Madeline Wiseman

  Threnody by Laura Madeline Wiseman Porkbelly Press, 2014 Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell Laura Madeline Wiseman’s Threnody (Porkbelly Press, 2014) defies categorization. The fourteen micro-pieces float between genres, which creates a reading experience as mysterious and ethereal as the subject matter. The chapbook is a beautiful rendition of some of the most conflicting and uncomfortable …

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Dec 22

Blot Lit Reviews: freedomland blues by henry 7. reneau, jr

Review: freedomland blues by henry 7. reneau jr. Transcendent Zero Press, 2014 Reviewed by Elizabeth Mobley henry 7. reneau jr, in his full-length collection, freedomland blues, offers a glowering critique of all that’s wrong with “Amerikkka” (Reneau). In “eyes shut wide: in response to every cowardly, self-serving Amerikkkan poet who has taken a hands-off approach to …

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Dec 18

Blot Lit Reviews: An Interview with Evan Guilford-Blake

Sometimes we discover  kindred spirits within the our writing clan. Evan Guilford-Blake is one such spirit, and as I sit here going over his interview I discover similarities of where we both have lived, the music we love, and the writers who have influenced us most. I am especially keen on his commitment to the writing community and what that should …

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Dec 17

Blot Lit Reviews: American Blues by Evan Guilford-Blake

  American Blues by Evan Guilford-Blake Holland House, 2014 Reviewed by Kayla Greenwell   American Blues (Holland House, 2014) by Evan Guilford-Blake is a rare literary treasure. This harmonious collection of short stories tied together by an ongoing theme of Blues music explores the minds and souls of a multitude of different characters. The collection …

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Dec 11

Blot Lit Reviews: An Interview with Steph Post

Steph Post’s interview below is indicative of her writing style, precise and warm. Even though A Tree Born Crooked is on the edgier side, Post draws the reader in with down-home comfort. This shines through her responses too. Blotterature has a strong connection to our place – industrialized Northwest Indiana – and it is reflective in our …

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Dec 10

Blot Lit Reviews: A Tree Born Crooked by Steph Post

A Tree Born Crooked, Steph Post Pandamoon Publishing, 2014 Reviewer: Julie Demoff-Larson Reading Steph Post’s debut novel, A Tree Born Crooked (Pandamoon) is like riding in a beat-up old truck through the backwoods of small-town U.S.A., holding on as every twist and turn comes. The story, set in the Florida Panhandle, is set up as a stirring mystery that …

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Dec 04

Blot Lit Reviews: An Interview with Tyree Daye

After Sea Island Blues received a rave review from Janine Harrison, Blot Lit Reviews is pleased to introduce Tyree Daye to our friends. His incredible talent is undeniable and big things are expected in the future (no pressure there). Read where Tyree’s passions and ideas come from in the interview below. Blotterature has a strong connection to our place …

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Dec 03

Blot Lit Reviews: Sea Island Blues by Tyree Daye

Review: Sea Island Blues by Tyree Daye Backbone Press, Inc. Reviewer: Janine Harrison   And when bone sprouts from under skin we water it in hallelujahs. Lines such as this one from the first poem, “When I Was New,” in Tyree Daye’s collection, Sea Island Blues, invoke enslaved African ancestors with whispers of lynching in …

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