Change is something that many of us strive for—changing ourselves, changing others, and, most particularly, changing the world. But too often we expect radical change without having to put in the work to achieve it; we ignore the arduous tasks that precede major transformation and
At the risk of generalizing perhaps too broadly, prose by poets—that is, prose written by writers whose primary mode is poetry—seems to fall into two camps. Either the writing is extremely sober, to clearly differentiate it from the poet’s poetry (think criticism, or op-eds), or
If Irish poetry could not claim to be fine art before the twentieth century, it is not because there was a lack of Irish poets with talent and voice; rather, it is because the literary world ignored them, or willfully caricaturized them. Though the problem persists, this anthology makes it clear: the work of Irish poets is undeniably diverse, crafted with rigor, and historically urgent.
Johnson comments on the circumstances that informed many of the poems in the narrative, autobiographical book: watching films with her parents; learning about her father’s work as a bomber pilot in the Air Force during Cold War; and working with her parents’ principal and patient caregiver, Donna.
The novel takes the reader on a tour of a not-too-distant American past, when fear was weaponized and righteous rage boiled over. Smyer’s debut explores themes of the self in chaos; the prose is clean as bone and the anger is focused and piercing.