The Constant Critic

Timely poetry reviews

My Life in Heaven

Mary Ann Samyn

Just as there are not that many ways to feel truly satisfied, there are not that many serious subjects for poetry. (Sorry.) Leaving one companion and finding another are Mary Ann Samyn’s subjects in My Life in Heaven, and though she treats them so lightly…

Aphoria

Jackie Clark

I am no proselyte for poetry as a category of human effort. I would no more advocate for poetry than I would love or dinner or shimmying. People will pursue or enact these things, and it makes little sense to agitate on behalf of that…

The Story of My Accident is Ours

Rachel Levitsky

Just released by Futurepoem, Rachel Levitsky’s The Story of My Accident Is Ours blends the novel, essay, and serial form into a rich site for assaying the human social condition. Composed in “chapters” and privileging paragraphs as units of thought, Levitsky writes about (read that…

Selected Days

Stephen Ratcliffe

One of the most tricky questions surrounding poetry is one of the most common: “what is this poem about?” While the question seems casual, easy—a way of filling unoccupied air—answering the question requires a fair amount of precision. Unless the answer has a grasp of…

The Epic Post-Easter Basket

Joey Yearous-Algozin

The Epic Post-Easter Basket: The title of none of Joey Yearsus-Algozin’s works under consideration, all of which may be found here: at the Troll Thread Collective. Recently, which is where I left my glasses, I wrote a small note for Harriet* about what I’ve been…

Okay, Okay

Diana Hamilton

Google as a tool for the making of art has had a separate life from Google as a prosthesis for navigating the world and its culture, the way the pencil has had separate lives in the studio and at the office. Taking up the disinterested…

Manhater

Danielle Pafunda

I am not a mother. I have friends who are, and I marvel at them. I marvel&#8212not just at their ability to nurture and care for another completely helpless lifeform, nor how they reconfigure their social relationships, sense of self, way of being, etc…. I…

what is amazing

Heather Christle

In her third book in four years, Heather Christle asks the right question and has the sense to leave it rhetorical. What is amazing is indeed what packs the crowds into the stadium, as opposed to what is sincere, or labored, or beautiful. There’s a…

Continuous Frieze Bordering Red

Michelle Naka Pierce

Our engagement with art objects depends largely upon culture, and the kind of relationship our engagement affords depends largely, of course, upon how we mean culture. If culture is the performance of a refined set of principles, then the object bears instructive potential for perpetuating…

Obedience

Chris Vitiello

Taken from a conceptual poetry standpoint, Chris Vitiello’s newest book Obedience, out from Ahsahta press, offers a strongly humanist rejoinder to the institutional dominance of uncreative writing. Conceived of as one long project in statements that ask to be read a variety of ways, Vitiello’s…