Kiki is kinky; Kiki by Amanda Earl Book Review

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By: Amanda Earl

Released: October 1st by Chaudiere Press

Length: 130 Pages

Genre: Poetry

Rating: Four Stars

Acquired: via publisher


I  am a window made of paper,

a fragile silhouette that goes up in flames

with the merest touch of light.

-untitled from “Alice”

Kiki is based on Kiki de Montparnasse, born as Alice Ernestine Prin. A woman of many talents and surrealist photographer Man Ray’s mistress, Kiki tells her life in parts. Divided up in four sections, the collection begins with “Alice” with rather short, untitled poems about Alice becoming Kiki; the marvelous nights spent drinking, dancing, performing; her sexual awakening and awareness. It is perhaps one of my favorite sections of the collection. The next part titled “Tales of Montparnasse” is one long poem about just that. Fitzgerald and Hemingway make an appearance, of course, as do many others. I didn’t find myself connecting to this one as much. The third section is entitled Opium (After Cocteau). The shortest long poem in the collection, it is by far my favorite in the entire collection. It is about opium use, but there is a beautiful juxtaposition that takes place within the poem that made me instantly fall in love with it.

I remove my mask.

I lie prone on the ground,

a flower’s stem impaled in my chest.

There is something in those two lines is slightly disturbing, but when I picture the flower’s stem, I can’t help but think about the rest of the flower. The whole poem has very strong imagery that challenges each of your senses. It’s the one section not to be missed. The most unique section, and the last, is a call and response to William S. Burroughs’s Naked Lunch with Kiki as the speaker. The most interesting section by far, I read it very quickly, compelled to keep reading. The responses were very fascinating, and passages chosen from the novel.

Overall, I really enjoyed this collection. It was very sensual, explicit with curse words in “Alice”, with imagery that both challenges the senses and brings a reality to the life of Kiki. I think she would be proud of this piece of work.


Not My Wedding Vows: Someone Else’s Wedding Vows by Bianca Stone Book Review

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Someone Else’s Wedding Vows

By: Bianca Stone

Released: 2014 by Tin House

Length: 88 Pages

Genre: Poetry

Rating: Five Stars

Acquired: via publisher


 Even in the window box we fit

even in the dog’s collapsed grave

even in the wreck

and everyday

-Even Moon

Someone Else’s Wedding Vows is poet Bianca Stone’s full length debut collection. A raw, emotional, beautiful collection of poetry that ranges from topics in varying degrees such as traveling to space, marriage, relationships, and being. She takes a simple concept and transforms it into something whole and immense. There wasn’t a poem in her collection I didn’t love. Her book is earmarked relentlessly.  There are hidden truths in her words. Meanings we have to look for, but have no problem doing so.

Her collection is one of the more cohesive collections I have read in some time. It flows beautiful. Each poem melting seamlessly into the next. They leave you wanting more. At the end, I was desperate for more. I earmarked the last page. I had to. I won’t share with you the last passage of Practicing Vigilance, but it really resonated with me. The whole poem, really.

She splits her collection up in three parts, my favorite being part two. Part two opens up with a rather long poem, Monsieur that I absolutely adore.

Isn’t it hard, monsieur, to speak

of anything except the moon anymore?

Like the room we just now

are leaving

like our mothers

refusing to blow a single fragment

off the ground

only when we look away

things flutter


Aren’t those two great stanzas? The whole poem is wonderful. Beautiful, delicate, yet a little needy at times. There are so many emotions conveyed, it’s impressive. You read about a relationship that isn’t perfect; has flaws, beauty, and realness. It’s completely refreshing. As is her whole collection. To think this is just a debut! I can’t wait to follow her career.

I know I may sound vague in my critique of her collection. But there is just so much! It’s hard to include everything. When I finished with the first poem, maybe the second at most, I knew there was something special here. That I was reading one of the best collections I have ever read. It’s hard to describe why. To put into exact words and phrases why Stone’s poetry is so special. I can only hope you can trust my words when I say this book of poetry is not to be overlooked. It is raw, real, and truthful. She doesn’t shy away from anything. It’s fresh and imaginative. Go find this book. Buy it at your indie book store for it won’t be at a big one like Barnes and Noble. Believe me, it’s worth reading. It really is. The journey she takes you on is half unreal (living on another planet) and half devastatingly, beautifully real.


After Reading this book: You are a Little Bit Happier Than I Am by Tao Lin




you are a little bit happier than i am

By Tao Lin

Released: November, 2006 by Acton Books

Length: 72 pages

Genre: Poetry

Rating: Five Stars

Acquired by author


I don’t quite know what to say about this short book of poetry. Wow isn’t completely apt enough. Intense, funny, self-deprecating, and heart breaking, maybe if you mix it together. Throw all those adjectives into a blender and you have Tao Lin’s you are a little bit happier than i am. I couldn’t stop reading this. I read it on a bus ride. I got a few looks when I laughed hard. Sometimes not even because of the content of the poem, but by the title. Some of my favorite titles (not necessarily the poem itself) are: i want to pour orange juice on my face, poems that look weird, pessimism or robotics?, and possibly my all time favorite- book reviewers always praise books as “life-affirming” because the more humans there are on earth the better.

This collection just made me happy, and sad when it ended. I loved his second book of poetry Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that I read first. That was just as unique as this little gem. The way Lin writes his poetry is not in a form we typical read There is something so organic about them. Although he doesn’t capitalize anything like e.e. cummings did, there is no other poet around that writes like Lin, can emulate Lin, and capture a realness that Lin does. Not all of his poems make sense, hence why they are just so great. He just doesn’t care.

I met Lin this past Sunday at the Brooklyn Book Festival, and he basically shrugged at everything I said. Not in a mean way, though. Just, in a way where he just didn’t care. I admire him for that, but also want to shake him because he did agree to do a signing. The least he can do is be a little more forth coming, right? Well, he gave me this gem. And, I will forever be grateful. I have had this book on my goodreads shelf since I joined over three years ago. And, he just gave me his copy that he was reading! Took out his bookmark, post-it, and handed it to me, with a shrug for good measure. I was shocked. No other author I think would do that. He just said he had more copies. Makes up for his shrug and lack of empathy.

I would say I would highly recommend this collection, and I would, but it isn’t for everyone. The poems are not traditional. More stream of conscious writing, if that is even close to what it is. You really have to have an open mind; no real comparisons at the ready. You really will never read a poet quite like him, I think. At least, I haven’t. I haven’t read all poetry, but I can tell you his is the most entertaining because it all seems like one big shrug now that I met him. And, I love that. I respect him for not caring, but caring a lot if the two go together.

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