An Amateur Review of Peluda by Melissa Lozada-Oliva

First published on Patreon on August 23, 2018
Like a lot of people, I’ve seen Melissa‘s poems floating around social media. Her performances are hilarious and poignant and in the way she discusses in this article (that I would highly recommend), very much a performance. Not to say that it’s inauthentic – and what even is authenticity anyway? – but that she performs for her audience, even if that audience is herself.
I see this reflected in Peluda. She explains herself but doesn’t, like she wants you to understand but isn’t gonna break it down if you don’t get it. So I don’t get it, in a lot of ways. The collections talks a lot about body hair, about it’s removal and what that means. It talks a lot about growing up in the space between ‘immigrant’ and ‘American’. Being in immigrant kid, with the rootlessness and expectation that comes with it, strikes a chord. But a lot of specificity, a lot of the content rooted in Latindad, I don’t understand on that bone deep level. That’s OK though, I don’t need to get it.
The style is loud, unapologetic even in it’s apology. One moment that stuck out for me more than any other is in You Use Your Hands So Much When You Talk:
alternate universe where! daughters of immigrants/are not overwhelmed by all that they are/supposed to be
Also the Wolf Girl Suite is pretty incredible. If you read nothing else in this collection, read that.
In case you can’t tell, I like this collection a lot. I would definitely recommend it. If you can get it from your local library or independent bookshop please do. Here are some places you can get it online:
The cover image is the cover of Peluda. 3 identical illustrations of a dark haired person kneeling in black boots spread out on a yellow background.
Advertisements

An Amateur Review of Sunfish, by Shelby Eileen

First published on Patreon on 14th June

Edited 9th September to respect Shelby’s pronouns

I follow Shelby on twitter (@briseisbooks), and I really enjoyed their first collection Soft in the Middle so when they put out a call for anyone who wants an ARC, naturally I said yes.
I’m not a poetry reviewer and, despite writing so much of it myself, I know precious little about what makes one poem good or bad. But I do know that Sunfish is good.
It’s easy to read in that none of the poems punch you in the face but this is a good thing. It’s gentle, patient, meets you where you’re at rather than forcing to look.
When I’m reading Sunfish it’s not like talking to a friend, because I don’t know Shelby like that and it’s much too honest a book for that kind of presumed familiarity. It’s not like a conversation, because there is nothing for me to say back to them. This collection feels like sitting on a bench in an empty park in early spring and listening to a stranger talk. It feels like a moment of unearned intimacy that reminds you how important it is for humans to connect. It feels a little uncomfortable, because Shelby is all but a stranger and there’s nothing for you to say, because I’m sorry doesn’t ring true. It feels like understanding how they feel, but having no words for but that’s OK, because the only words needed are theirs anyway.
Sunfish feels like silence. It’s the reminder that silence, loneliness and powerlessness aren’t the same thing. That not everything requires a response and sometimes you just need to listen. Sunfish makes you want to listen.

Mercury with MoonPark Review

In the middle of last year I submitted a prose-poem to MoonPark Review. It was rejected. After picking myself up and dusting off my bruised ego, I noted that my rejection included an offer to submit again in future. So I logged that away and knew that when I had a better piece of short prose I would submit.

Then, late last year I wrote a story/poem/monologue called Mercury. I took it to a workshop where it was torn apart by the facilitator. After once again picking myself up and dusting off my bruised ego, I used the critique I got to almost completely rewrite it.

I submitted the new and improved Mercury.

It was accepted for their summer issue.

I highly recommend going back through prior issues too. There’s some good stuff there.

Thank you Mary Lynn and Lesley for giving me the encouragement I needed to submit a second time and for publishing this piece.

Find Mercury Here

Lipstick Stains with Djed Press

Sometimes you forget to read the submission guidelines properly. That will almost always result in that poem you so lovingly crafted being immediately deleted because editors simply don’t have that kind of time. But. once in a blue moon it can work in your favour.

Djed Press is an online magazine publishing creative work by PoC in Australia. I didn’t notice the “Australia” bit when I was submitting so I crafted my bio and cover letter, selected my pieces and sent them off.

Thankfully, their editor Hella was not only patient enough to read my pieces, but kind enough to publish me.

You can find Lipstick Stains here.