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Three Pounds of Cells

Three Pounds of Cell by Oonah V Joslin  Price: $10.00

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“Once I knew only darkness and stillness…my life was without past or future... but a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped to the rapture of living.” Helen Keller

Our perceptions and interactions make us uniquely who we are. The moment we become aware, everything speaks to us – not only people but animals, objects, music and art. Poetry first spoke to me because I was a slow reader. Poetry was short. I could manage a poem in reading time at school, going over and over it. Rhymes and rhythms helped me overcome my difficulties. “The Cat and The Moon” by Yeats was one of my first loves. I inhabited that poem and it made me want to write poems too. It spoke of love, fear and hope, and of imagination. It showed how much of our own natures is locked up inside us – far more than we understand. How little we understand of ourselves. The brain is a great mystery. No use waiting 'til it's dead and dissecting it. We can scan it live, but we will not find the mind. The mind is an emergent property that is constantly changing, mapping our past and influencing our future. Just as the mind is an emergent property of the brain, might there be an emergent property of humanity? An emergent property of the universe? Might that property not be Being itself? Consciousness? And might that Consciousness be God?

We live in this marvellous universe of matter, light and energy exchanges. We perceive light and sound but it is our minds that create art and music, language and poetry. What is it that makes humans spark with creativity? What is this need to make ourselves heard within the vastness? Where do we come from and where are we going? This collection of poems explores some of the things that have spoken uniquely to me in my life, people, places and art that have inspired me – not least the ever-changing sea. Light and music are my very first memories; disjointed, non-verbal memories encapsulated in 'Parameters of Perambulator.' But memories are selective, individual, inaccurate and I have the poorest memory. So what's really real? Dreams aren't real are they – or do all our experiences contribute to personal reality – even our nightmares?

The human brain – three pounds of cells – is how we make sense of the world but I have always wanted to believe that we are parts of an emergent property, bigger than our limited perceptions. And when those perceptions are no more, I don't want to be consigned to dark silence. Scatter my ashes on the sea so I can sparkle and roar a while more.

One Day Tells its Tale to Another by Nonnie Augustine

Poetry Chapbook with Photography   Price: $25.00

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Kirkus Mentioned

So, I did the thing / I would never do,” confesses a young dancer upon landing an art-smothering, body-pulverizing contract job in “Paid to Dance,” one of many seemingly autobiographical poems in Augustine’s debut collection. One can easily imagine the same confession from the older narrator sleeping with her friend’s husband in “Wine and Cheese Villanelle” or the jaded lover of “Sestina,” who “learned to play double, just like him.” Compromise and disillusionment are frequent themes here but so are resilience and learning, although the narrators are often too busy navigating their lives to recognize their growing wisdom. Augustine often layers the perspectives of the narrator, author and reader to bolster the poems’ realism and emotional sincerity, and it’s a technique she hones to near perfection. On rare occasions, the poet usurps the narrator and lapses into bathos: “As we sit at this café table / in Montmartre, sheltered / from the downpour, I see our future. / I will write it down on torn paper, / using a sapphire pen,” seemingly taking seriously Billy Collins’ satirical advice in his poem “The Student” that poets should, “[w]hen at a loss for an ending, / have some brown hens standing in the rain.” On the whole, however, Augustine demonstrates much greater control and precision as she works through multiple iterations of love and loss, employing to great effect forms as varied as the prose poem, the concrete poem, the villanelle, the sestina, the sonnet and the ballad. She reimagines fairy tales, evokes foreign lands through bodily sensation, valorizes women’s perseverance, and revels in the rollicking pleasures of sex, even when they come with risk. As her narrators age, she tightens the circle, mourning and celebrating with equal intensity. One narrator contemplates the “Three Things That Did Not Happen”: “I almost saw Nessie,” “I almost won the jackpot,” and “I almost had a child. / She was there in my womb / until chromosomes killed her. / My God, that would have been something.” Among the losses, though, it “appears gone for good are dramas and bothers, / threats and therapists, drunk, needy lovers. / And…lovely, lovely, lovely is my cat’s furry belly.”

Poetry that often transcends its own bounds, spilling over into readers’ lives and forcing them to confront their own narratives.

Disabled Monsters

Disabled Monsters Paperback – December 31, 2015 by John C. Mannone (Author)  Price: $13.00

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Reviews: In the world of poetry, there are those who paint intricate pictures with simple words—and those who hone their craft, serving a greater purpose with their pen. In Disabled Monsters, John C. Mannone does both, creating bold displays of imagery while depicting how the human race deals with physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral disabilities.

The opening poem in the book, entitled "Empty Shells", starts off with a quote from John Donne. The quote reads, "All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book but translated unto a better language."

From there, Mannone opens the floodgates of imagery for the reader

The tree sways
its arms, crossing them, fingers
moving in the weave of its hands,
as if to sign. You can read
the quaking of leaves telling us
the quiet truth—we are not
the children of a lesser God.
(“The Dogwood”)

—Erin M. Kelly, Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature.

Intense with emotional mystery. Mannone reveals a world of war, lost love, catastrophic illness, depression and regret—so many of the sorrows humans inherit during life. Yet, in the evolution of these poems, Mannone’s honesty, his power of story, individual persona’s love and kindness, and above all, the courage to seek a prayerful life, helps to disable these monsters. Every sun-filled dawn/I will steal its colors/and celebrate until/my throat is crimsoned/with joy, Mannone writes in “Lilies & Morning Matins.” In “Light Blooms” this thought is echoed: No longer am I a child/of the dark. I have grown/into light and I now can see,/count each glimmer, touch each hope…I am not alone anymore.

Readers of Disabled Monsters will celebrate a life’s renascence at the end of these poems.
—Bill Brown is the author of nine poetry collections, including "Elemental" (Taos Press, November 2014). He is a former Breadloaf scholar and distinguished professor at Vanderbilt University.

The Linnet's Wings 2018