Review: I*HATE*YOU*JAMES*FRANCO & Havoc – Two Reasons to Read Kristy Bowen (and the first one’s free!)

Rhiannon Thorne



PDF: 20 pages
Publisher: Sundress Publications
Available for free: Sundress

I don’t hate James Franco—I’ve never met the guy nor has he done anything publicly which has actually wanted hate—but apparently my friends have heard me gripe about his forays into the world of poetry enough times that it has become a bit of a joke. In fact, I have several friends who report back to me about Franco, assuring that I don’t miss any of his poetry news: interviews, book releases, questionable publications… well, it’s a long list, because as everyone knows, Franco is nothing if not prolific.

A few months ago, the joke finally paid off. “Have you read this book by Kristy Bowen?” my friend asked, the link she included to I Hate You James Franco starting my literary love affair with Bowen.

While most of us in the poetry community spend our time griping…

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A Review of Kate Garrett’s Minor Things

Rhiannon Thorne

Kate Garrett Minor Things

Minor Things by Kate Garrett

Paperback: 21 Pages
Publisher: Self Published
Available for purchase at Lulu

I’m always weary of self-published books. Often, I’ve found they live up to the stereotype of being under-edited and amateurish. But not all self-published books are created equal. And that’s a great thing.

Minor Things by Kate Garrett proves to be more than the standard self-published fare. She begins by stating, “This is a mixtape, not a misery memoir” and hits play at birth in 1979. Each subsequent poem, or track, moves the reader through a song of her youth, from a stepfather with “the dead smile of a shark,” to the boys with their mixtapes:

Plastic castles of folk and rock,
industrial, grunge and hip hop. They gave
her the sound of second-hand shop clothes.
They handed over promises of something more
than home-grown apathy.

Like most great mixes, Minor Things is…

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Club Changes

The club is changing how we operate. We will no longer be reading a specific book each month, instead, we will be republishing and redirecting to book club reviews written by members and published off-site, as well as new reviews at the member’s discretion.

If you’d like to have your book reviewed, please email: with the subject line BOOK REVIEW.

If you’d like to publish a book review here, please shoot us an email with the subject line REVIEW SUBMISSION.

July 2014 Book Discussion: Scrawny Girl by Karen Jakubowski

Scrawny Girl  Scrawny Girl by Karen Jakubowski

Karen-JakubowskiKaren Jakubowski is a Pushcart Prize nominee and a member of the Amateur Writers of Long Island, the Long Island Writer’s Guild, The Bard’s Initiative, Performance Poets Association, and Poet’s in Nassau. Her poem A Woman’s Intuition won the June 2012 Goodreads poetry contest. Local Gems Press released her first poetry collection, Scrawny Girl, in 2013 and will soon be publishing a chapbook of her tarot poetry. Her poetry has appeared in numerous on-line journals and print anthologies.

Discussion Questions:

*Out of all the poems in this collection, why do you feel Jakubowski may have chosen “Skinny Girl” to name the collection after? Do you think that the book would have read differently if she had named it after “Fat Fuck” or a sexual poem like “Merging Once Again” or “Hunt”?

*Unlike our last selection, “Howl”, Jackubowski employs several different poetic styles throughout her collection. How do you feel this variation impacts Scrawny Girl?

*Do you feel that this collection speaks to any particular group? For example, do you feel like this volume has more to say to women than men?

*Which poem or poems are your favorites?

June 2014 Book Discussion: Howl by Allen Ginsberg

Welcome to our “Oldie but Goodie” month at The Perusalist Society where we are discussing “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg.

Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg

As there are numerous editions, we won’t be linking to where you can purchase a copy. We will also be keeping our introduction brief as Ginsberg is so well-known, but here are some key facts:

*Allen Ginsberg worked on drafts of “Howl” mid-1954 to 1955, including many references and allusions to other poets, friends, and real life events.

*Howl and Other Poems was published in 1956 in London. Shortly thereafter, it was seized by customs and subjected to a court trial based on charges of obscenity. Defended by nine literary experts made up of fellow poets and professors, the charges were dropped when California State Superior Court Judge Clayton Horn ruled that the poem had “redeeming social importance.”

*For all things Ginsberg, visit They have an extensive biography.

You may listen to Allen Ginsberg reading “Howl” below:


Discussion Questions:

*What do you most like about “Howl”; what do you least like about it? Do you have a favorite section?

*”Howl” was greatly influenced by William Carlos William’s use of rhythm based on actual speech. Ginsberg said, “I took out little four-or-five line fragments that were absolutely accurate to somebody’s speak-talk-thinking and rearranged them in lines, according to the breath, according to how you’d break it up if you were actually to talk it out…” How do you feel about Ginsberg’s breathy metering?

*For those familiar with Ginsberg, how does “Howl” compare to Ginsberg’s later work? Which do you prefer?

*What does “Howl” mean to you as a reader/poet/citizen/etc?



May 2014 Book Discussion: Odessa by Patricia Kirkpatrick

Odessa by Patricia Kirkpatrick


Patricia Kirkpatrick received the inaugural Lindquist & Vennum Poetry Prize. Her book, Odessa, selected by poet Peter Campion and published by Milkweed Editions in 2012, was awarded the 2013 Minnesota Book Award in Poetry. She is the author of Century’s Road, poetry chapbooks, and books for young readers. Her work appears widely in journals, among them Prairie Schooner, Poetry, and Agni Online, and in anthologies, including Robert Bly in This World and She Walks in Beauty, edited by Caroline Kennedy. Her awards include grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Bush Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the Loft- McKnight.

Odessa’s Description on Amazon: A grim prognosis, brain cancer, leaves the speaker in Kirkpatrick’s Odessa fighting for her life. The tumor presses against her amygdalae, the “emotional core of the self,” and central to the process of memory. In poems endowed with this emotional charge but void of sentimentality, Kirkpatrick sets out to recreate what was lost by fashioning a dreamlike reality. Odessa, “roof of the underworld,” a refuge at once real and imagined, resembles simultaneously the Midwestern prairie and a mythical god-inhabited city. In image-packed lines bearing shades of Classical heroism, Kirkpatrick delivers a personal narrative of stunning dimension.

Discussion Questions:

*This book includes a number of quotes from other works and seems to introduce them as essential to the meaning of the poems. Do you believe it’s possible to get a full sense of these poems without having read these other works? Do you feel that works with obvious knowledge and study behind them, such as this one, can actually potentially alienate an audience? How did you feel about it?

*Not having had a brain tumor yourself, how effective do you feel Kirkpatrick’s project was? Did you feel the ache and confusion and the loneliness of her experience? What else did you gather from it?

*What was your favorite part of this book? Why?

*Do you feel that you will read more work by Kirkpatrick?

Next Book Up: June 2014 – “Oldie but Goodie” Month – Howl by Allen Ginsberg