Book and Chapbook Reviews: Comstock Review Poets
Authors - P
Carolyn Page is the author of Barn Flight (Negative Capability Press) and the earlier Troy Corner Poems (Nightshade Press, 1994).She is the former editor of Potato Eyes and co-founder of Nightshade Press. These are warmly-told narratives of the people and landscape of her beloved Maine.
Elsie Pankowski's 32 page chapbook Gathering Stones (Pudding House, 2003) is a collection of intelligent and accomplished poems of place and home, encompassing her parents, a troubled sister, and other relatives as they live their lives of duty. This is a compassionate and moving book.
What Part Motion Plays in the Equation of Love (Palanquin Press, 1999) is the intriguing title of Robert Parhan's newest chapbook. These intelligent and carefully crafted poems have the same sort of edgy mystery as the title. 22 pages.
Delusions of Gander (1992) is Robert Paschell's very witty collection of puntoons and wordplay; Robert is also the artist who drew the clever cartoons.
The Geometry of Loneliness (David Robert Books, 2006) comes from the pen of Lee Passarella. Tom Lux notes that this book's driving force is an attempt to give order to the business of the heart, Many of the poems in this collection are ekphrastic poems taken from the art of music, often dealing with "what it means to be a lover of Handel and Schumann in the age of the postmodern pop-cultural paradigm shift."(Leon Stokesbury). This is a serious collection of hauntingly lyrical. poems. ( New 11/07).
Lynn Pattison is the author of the chapbooks Tesla's Daughter (March Street Press, 2005) and Walking Back the Cat (Bright Hill Press, 2005). Stylistically varied, the poems in both are whimsical and visionary with multi-layered imagery and fey charm. These are lyric poems shining with the poet's love of language and big-hearted vision. www.MarchStreetPress.com & www.brighthillpress.org. (added 2006)
Sarah Patton's new and collected poetry appears posthumously in Wizard's Broom (Scopcraeft Press, 2003), which gives us a cornucopia of the astonishingly radiant lyric poems which I have long admired, with their delicate, lacy imagery, gorgeously rich, evocative language and launting lyricism. Previous books include The Roses (Light Source Press, 1991), My Voice Is The Gray Cat's Music (Small Poetry Press, 1995), The Joy of Old Horses (Scopcraeft Press, 1999) and Sanctuary (Scopcraeft Press, 2000).These books are a treasure.
Ellen Peckham is both the poet and the artist whose work comprises the second (and expanded) edition of Ticket Stubs (2007), Medicinal Purposes' winner of its 2002 chapbook contest. Beautifully designed and assembled, with its different page colors and illustrations by Ms. Peckham, its themes range from ekphrastic poems through landscapes of British fog, Vermont rain, and South American rain forest, seen through the mists of memory. (Added 3/08)
Linda Tomol Pennisi is the author of Suddenly, Fruit (Carolina Wren, 2006), winner of the press's poetry contest, a delightful retelling of the Persephone story, authentic and intriguingly contemporary, ripe and elegantly told. Her previous collection is Seamless (Perugia, 2003), marked "the wise, complex and heartbreaking debut of a significant lyric poet," These celebratory, radiant, sensuous and concentrated poems survey the boundaries of myth and reality. (updated 1/07)
Patric Pepper's first full collection, Temporary Apprehensions (Washington Writer's Publishing House, 2005) brings the poet's love for this world in all its diversity by its attention to the significant details of nature, his physical environment, and culture that move him. He is a fine craftsman whose voice slips easily and naturally into the formal, rhymed lyric. These poems are charming, truthful and moving as he looks for what is brave and good in this world. (added 12/05)
Hands Collected (Pavement Saw, 2000) is a generous (500+ pages) collection of the poetry of Simon Perchik from 1949 through 1999. His mysterious and surreal untitled poems have a haunting loveliness in their imaginative and original treatment of the mythic fields of memory and desire. (link added 9/05)
Portsmouth (NH) Poet-Laureate John Perrault is the author of Here Comes the Old Man Now (Oyster River Press, 2005), one of 2005's best poetry collections, filled with wit, wonder, and written with a fine lyric gift. These wide-ranging, affirmative, heartfelt poems sing their truths, bring sheer delight. Highly recommended. Website: http://www.johnperrault.com/
Howl and Hosanna (Whelks Walk Press, 1997) gives us 103 pages of Joan Peternel's vivid, fine-tuned verse. There are poems of formal elegance here, including sonnets blending seamlessly with her free-verse poems. Commentaries are included with each section.
All the Lavish in Common (University of Massachusetts Press, 2006) won the Juniper Prize for Allan Peterson, and deservedly so. These lavish poems make the most of language as they explore the rich and complicated givens of our lives, using a wide canvas for their splatter of diverse subjects. Like his previous book, Anonymous Or (Defined Providence, 2001) with its inventive, restless, searching poems that delve into our world of organized chaos, his metaphors are wonderful as he sorts out what being alive means. Small Charities (Panhandler Press, 1994) is a small chapbook of untitled stream-of-consciousness poems. Again, the metaphors are stunning. Any Given Moment is the name of his downloadable book. (updated 2006)
Bindweed (Ganders Knob Press, 1989), by the late Richard Hart Phillips, mixes clever verse with powerful lyrics of great beauty, adds some free-verse and haiku for variety, and comes up with this 97 page collection that celebrates the wonder of language.
Boston psychiatrist Ronald Pies has two chapbooks, Lean Soil (Pudding House 1985) and Riding Down Dark (Pudding House, 1992). These straightforward and well-written narrative poems are informed by the poet's profession and often give us real people, troubled and hurting.
Diana Pinckney: Alchemy (Main Street Rag, 2004), White Linen (Nightshade Press, 1998) and Fishing With Tall Women (Persephone Press, 1996), which won the Fifth Persephone Press Book Award in 1996, are the work of this North Carolina poet . These fine memory poems are chiseled and elegant, with striking imagery and metaphor.
Georgia Popoff's newest work is The Doom Weaver (Main Street Rag, 2008). These vivid and direct portraits cover a wide range, including still-lives and landscapes, family stories, and remembrance of past loves, often with a suggestion of oriental form and sensibility. Some of these engaging poems reflect the poet's background in performance poetry while offering "canny assessments of life and lives, love and family." (Charles Martin). Previous poetry books consist of Greatest Hits (Pudding House, 2003) and Coaxing Nectar from Longing (Hale Mary, 1997), a volume of clear and luminous poems of relationship and longing. Naomi Shihab Nye says "Clear, full of intimacy and conviction, these poems speak of love, childhood, family relationships, with fertile warmth and hope." And there is a Greatest Hits (Pudding House, 2003), too. (Updated 3/08).
Connie Postís chapbook, And When the Sun Drops, (Finishing Line, 2012) is both straightforward and moving, covering 20 years in the life of her autistic son, who is also unable to speak. The language she uses to express life together with him and his sister is disarmingly simple, coupled with brilliant turns of phrases ("since he canít speak... how do you know what he wants?" ... "how do I know when itís dawn...") Her descriptive ability involves the reader in the hard-hitting reality of disability at the same time it envelopes one in their family. "You are not merely metaphor/ trying to take shape in a poem....") She blesses the group home caretaker who "can make an origami out of/ any shape of loss/ and make it somehow/ feel like gratitude." The word love is used in a common way, only once that I noticed, to imply its larger meaning: "I know how much you love/ the chicken I will make// you and I both know/ how it must simmer/ for the longest time." This book was the Editorís Choice Award for the Fall 2012 issue of the Aurorean. (Peggy Sperber Flanders, Reviewer, Comstock Review website, 9/2012)
The Perfect Day (Parallel Press, 1998) is Andrea Potos' 24 page chapbook. These gentle and heart-filled poems of family draw their inspiration from the poet's memory of her Greek grandparents.
Elaine Preston's Look for a Field to Land (Bridge Works, 1994) explores survival in our unsettled times with evocative narrative poems that celebrate the endurance of the human spirit.
Still Life With Moving Fingers (Paradise Press, 1994) by Constance Pultz is a 22 page chapbook with movingly tender and wonderful dramatic and lyric poems. The endings of each poem are especially memorable.