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Red Booth Review - Spring 2014

  • Image: Image
  • Issue Number: Volume 10 Number 3
  • Published Date: Spring 2014
  • Publication Cycle: Triannual
This issue of Red Booth Review starts with two poems by Timothy Dyson, both synopsizing “B-Movies,” with their predictability, such as the end when “Darnell, wearing only a raincoat, / walks into the mist, smiling, alone / There is one small burst of laughter.” This of course gives the poem a sense of predictability, but the poems are more about observation than telling the story.

James B. Nicola’s “E-Mail with Variables” is endearing, playing on the “xoxo” that may end a note to a long-distance lover:

But if you save
the X and print
it out—enlarge it first—
you can, if you wish,
place it on your lips,
cheek, forehead, anywhere.
Kelly Nelson’s “The man I nearly married calls years later unexpectedly” is as quick and swift as the call itself, ending “He said, okay, good night / I’m so glad I called.” Katy Davidson’s “Smog,” too, is short, with a quick glimpse in the morning, “Sun or left-over moon, for a moment we could not tell.”

Tina Egnoski’s “Busking, Providence” is probably my favorite of the bunch, bursting with sounds that would do well as spoken-word poetry. The street jazz player is frustrated with advice as a tip that “doesn’t pay rent” and says, “Take and shove your John 3:16, your Do Unto Others, / your Dongbang 15 mm needles. Your pressure / points, charkas, tourmaline, calendula, kripalu, Stairmaster . . .” It meshes into a list first with commas and then mashed together creating both a swifter sound and an intonation that you can take all of those things together and just “shove” it. It ends on a clever note: “Two-fifteen / and I gross seventy-five and a Chinese puzzle. / Cosmic joke, it reads: chicken or egg?”

I should point out that I have a few qualms about this journal which include a small difficulty in navigating within the issue and to the TOC and the lack of dates on issues. And while I wasn’t caught up in every poem, some which felt unpolished and in need of some more vivid descriptions, there are a few gems that make it worth exploring.
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Review Posted on July 21, 2014

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