Both this and last week's micro reviews are more micro than usual, and extra special. Janaka and Minetta each read close to thirty books in thirty days as part of the National Poetry Month festivities. This week, enjoy Janaka's top three picks from his April reads.
Paige Ackerson-Kiely - My Love Is a Dead Arctic Explorer
Full disclosure: Paige is a good friend of mine and co-edits the literary journal I publish, Handsome. That is just how much I loved this book; I'm willing to risk you thinking I'm a nepotistic asshole just so you'll do yourself a favor and read one of the best collections of poetry I've picked up in years. Paige hits it out of the park with poems that are so completely realized, I can't help but believe she is securing a prominent spot in the history of American letters.
Karen Rigby - Chinoiserie
Although Karen and I are press-mates, I don't know her--in fact, we're not even Facebook friends (OMG!). Black Ocean is known for publishing a fair number of prose-poems but I personally value the line tremendously. Karen's meticulous attention to enjambment and white space, combined with her brutal economy of language, make for a cavalcade of knock-out lines that also amount to really satisfying poems.
Ariana Reines - Mercury
I'm not friends with Ariana either, though I'd like to be if she'd just return my emails... If I loved the other two books for their fine-tuned restraint, I loved this book for its wild willingness to indulge impulse. Peppered with pithy short poems, sigil-like inscriptions and incantatory language that is at times absurd and at times arresting in its seriousness, Mercury is the id within my conflicted heart.