Peach Mag Editor Reviews Organizing Isolation in The Public

Peach Mag editor Rachelle Toarmino reviewed Organizing Isolation in this week’s Public. Rachelle was the first person to see any drafts of these poems – it was Rachelle who suggested I reach out to Joel Brenden of Linoleum press to collaborate – and so it’s fitting that she should be the first voice to comment on the whole collection.

She liked it, I think.

The collection is a portrait of ultimates—love, religion, presence, absence—formed from the fragments of letters and postcards previously sent to Ryan by his loved ones. The resulting poems feed new life into moments whose hunger has long since abated. In a poem entitled “The Sister [September 2015],” Ryan collages text that reads, “I have no ideas / none significant or strange. / And living alone at the end causes me such unfunny anxiety. / I’ve never heard anyone shuffle like god / but I’m glad we are continuing.” The careful manipulation of the text speaks to the magical way we sometimes manipulate memories, given enough estrangement, in an attempt at what Ryan sharply terms “organizing isolation.”

Rachelle also noted Joel’s extraordinary book-artistry.

True to form, Brenden adds stunning craftsmanship to Ryan’s vision and produced an art object that plays with themes of organizing and the intimacy of handwritten letters.

Pick up a copy of The Public this week to see the review in print.

Review: Rotten Kid, by Ben Brindise

Ben Brindise has been a friend and close collaborator since we met at the first Foundlings launch back in May 2016. We’ve read together countless times, from the election season “Whistle Stop” tour to a poets’ showcase Ben hosted Monday night at Nietzsche’s (now to be a recurring thing, based on that night’s massive success). Now Ghost City Press has published his first chapbook, Rotten Kid, and I got to review it for The Public. I already spilled quite a few words on the book, so go read the review. If you don’t have plans for this Sunday, 5pm at the Gypsy Parlor, mark it in your calendar.  We’ll be celebrating the release with a round of readings from the likes of Justin Karcher, Eve Williams Wilson, Megan Kemple, Ten Thousand, and Tom Dreitlein. I’ll be reading, too.