Book and Chapbook Reviews: Comstock Review Poets
Authors - O
Jeff O'Brien's Trajectories (Fieldstone Press, 2000) preserves rural Pennsylvania in loving detail and accurately maps the territory of the heart at mid-point in well-crafted poems combining precise diction and dexterous prosody.
Kaleidoscopes (Main Street Rag Press, 1999) is Pam O'Brien's delightful 44 page chapbook with its mix of classical mythology, personal history, love and family and dream written with clarity, tenderness and charm. And the follow-up, Paper Dancing (FootHills, 2004), continues her charming rewoven fables from the Brothers Grimm, and others. They are clever and witty and the sweetness never cloys.
Mary Beth O'Connor writes under the pen name Anna E. Moss. Smackdown: Poems about the Professor Business is her prize-winning chapbook (See Moss, added 5/08)
Angela Alaimo O'Donnell brings us the graceful 28 page chapbook Mine (Finishing Line, 2007)., a poetic memoir of growing up in the anthracite mining towns of northeast Pennsylvania "where culm dumps rise camel-backed/ against an ashen sky." The poems are finely crafted, with superb diction, tenderness, and plenty of heart as they detail what is now the lost world of the Italian immigrant miners of the Pittston/Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area. "Inspired" is the best one-word description I know for this chapbook. (added 10/07)
Eva Miodownik Oppenheim explores the world and its memories in her fine chapbook Things As They Are (Moon Pie Press, 2005). These graceful poems are compassionate, insightful and direct as she laments losses and explores the lessons of her childhood as a child refugee from Nazi Germany. (added 11/05)
June Owens' Tree Line (Prospect Press, 1999) contains poems that flow effortlessly and musically, studded with wonderful imagery. Owens' is a radiant yet unsentimental poetry that celebrates life, whether describing nature or home and family. One of 1999's best poetry books.
Suzanne Owens' precise ear and eye for the specific detail made The Daughters of Discordia (BOA, 2000) an award-winner in its depictions of persecuted women from history, beginning with myth and ending with Ma Barker in 1935. Her newest chapbook, Harvesting Ice (Finishing Line, 2008) enjoys the same precision and specificity as she explores difficult subjects with honesty and imagination. Science and spirit dance together to create these beautiful and wrenching poems. (New 1/09)