Category Archives: Reviews

Review of A Question of Mortality by Susan Clayton-Goldner

This review was originally reviewed for Salem’s Statesman Journal.

A Question of Mortality by Susan Clayton-GoldnerWellstone Press; First edition (May 9, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1930835132
ISBN-13: 978-1930835139
Paperback: 80 pages

Besides being an award-winning novelist and popular blogger, Susan Clayton-Goldner is an accomplished poet whose work has appeared in literary journals for decades. In her poetry, she ably combines her strength in creating character with vivid imagery and musical lines. This year, finally, her heartfelt poems have been gathered into her first poetry collection, a question of mortality, published by Wellstone Press.

Breaking with convention, all the words in the title, the question of mortality, begin with lowercase letters. Perhaps this symbolizes how mortality humbles us. On the cover, a black background frames a woman in a dark room. Dressed in black with her back to the reader, the central figure seems shadowed by tragedy.

In the poems, as in the cover art, there is a sense that tragedy has transformative effects. Hints of resilience appear in the poem “An Eternity of Hope.” After the mention of a brother’s “suicide” and “pain” like “broken glass,” “hope” does “simmer.” The speaker’s grief never disappears, but a daffodil poking up from “frosted earth” signifies beauty coming back like “flames” rekindled

Read my complete review of A Question of Mortality on the Statesman Journal’s website.

High-Voltage Lines by Tiel Aisha Ansari

Review of High Voltage Lines by Tiel Aisha Ansari

This review was originally reviewed for Oregon Poetry Association.

High-Voltage Lines by Tiel Aisha AnsariBarefoot Muse Press 2012
Paperback: 40 pages

Tiel Aisha Ansari’s poetry collection, High-Voltage Lines, lives up to its name. Like the conduits delivering strong electrical charges, sparking the air around them, her artful lines convey potent messages. Tiel treats the reader to a dazzling array of well-crafted formal verse poems including villanelles, pantoums, ghazals, sonnets, and sestinas. Her work is a tour de force of metrical and syntactical dexterity that delights the reader with its skilled blending of structure and meaning.

Read my complete review of High Voltage Lines on OPA’s website.