“Donating the Heart” by David Hernandez (Pearl, 2001)

In Donating the Heart, David Hernandez reveals further proof of his talent as a poet. Published in 2001, just one year after Man Climbs Out of Manhole, it is nevertheless crucially different from his debut collection.

Here there are the specific characters and unique settings that we have come to know as Hernandez’s ploy, except here there are events that really could take place, instances that actually occurred at one point, and have been superbly captured by a very deserving poet.  Split into two parts, the second also provides insights into the poet’s life and history, as well as some amusing and moving escapades.  Donating the Heart serves as a welcoming follow-up to Hernandez’s debut.

Originally published on February 25th 2002.

Originally published in the Long Beach Union.

“Man Climbs Out of Manhole” by David Hernandez (Pearl, 2000)

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There comes a time when you read a novel or book of poetry and you will love every single word of it, as you turn each page; when you finish it you will realize that it is only a small publication, and the entire world doesn’t know about the beautiful words and sentences you just read.

David Hernandez is clearly one of those authors (along with his wife, Lisa Glatt), and this is made clearly evident in his first chapbook, Man Climbs Out of Manhole.  There seems to be little of David Hernandez the person and history in this book, and yet between the lines of a stanza everyone once in a while one will wonder if one hadn’t just read a piece of Hernandez’s life.

Every poem is different and unique, with a new character and totally new setting, and it will be unlike anything you have read.

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Originally published on February 25th 2002.

Originally published in the Long Beach Union.

“Shelter” by Lisa Glatt (Pear, 1999)

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With her second book of poetry, published in 1999, Lisa Glatt has come a long way since Monsters and Other Lovers.  The first book was one of release and admittance; in Shelter Glatt has a lesson for you, and the moral of the book is read and learn.

In every poem there is a message to be read and understood: in some cases it is a warning, in others a piece of info you can either accept or ignore.

Within these sixty pages is also a collection of “if you” poems: “If You Have Sex With a Married Man,” “If You Have Sex With a Man Ten Years Your Junior,” “If You Have Sex With a Graying Guy,” and “If You Have Sex With a Stranger With One Ball.”

Emotions are alive in this book – there is laughter, but there is also pain.  While Shelter is not as dark as Glatt’s first book, it is in no ways inferior, revealing her further talents as a poet.

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Originally published on February 25th 2002.

Originally published in the Long Beach Union.

“Monsters and Other Lovers” by Lisa Glatt (Pearl, 1996)

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You need something vibrant yet compelling to kick-start a career in poetry, and with Lisa Glatt’s debut book, she has done just that.  If you know Glatt pretty well, Monsters and Other Lovers will scare you; if you don’t know Glatt at all, the book will still scare you.

Published in 1996 and written over a period of many years before that, Glatt writes about what she knows and has experienced, albeit sad and horrifying in a mundane sort of way, it remains true and real.  Split into four parts that loosely tie in with significant changes in her life – her mother’s breast cancer, Glatt’s own accident as a young girl, her move to 69 Rose Street.  She even has some advice for impoverished writers with “I am Weird to the New Boys”: When you write for a living/and no one buys your words/canned food grows appetizing.”

Glatt is a fresh voice in this turbulent world of anger and pain, and she reminds us that even though life may be going to hell in a hand basket, there is still hope.

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Originally published on February 28th 2002.

Originally published in the Long Beach Union.

“Drive Through the Blue Cylinders” by Ed Friedman (Hanging Loose Press, 2001)

A graduate of UC San Diego, Ed Friedman has lived most of his life in New York.  His work has appeared in New American Writing, The World, Hanging Loose and Conjunctions. With Drive Through the Blue Cylinders, we do not have your garden-variety poetry style, but it is presented more in the form of prose, each piece consisting of a single paragraph, along with a could that are pages long but can still not be considered stories.  There are no limits for Friedman and he’s going to take you anywhere and everywhere, even if you don’t want to go.  While of a style of  writing that comes off as deep and complex and sometimes confusing, Friedman spirals in and out, up and down, and if you hold on tight, you’re in for a bumpy ride.

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Originally published on December 3rd 2001.

Originally published in the Long Beach Union.

“The History of the Invitation: New and Selected Poems, 1963-2000” by Tony Towle (Hanging Loose Press, 2001)

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This is Tony Towle’s tenth book of poems: a collective history spanning from the beginning of his career to the present.  A New Yorker, Towle was born in Manhattan in 1939 where he spent most of his life and currently resides in Tribeca.  The collection is divided into eras: 1963-65, 1965-69, 1970-79, and 1980-2000.  If you’re a fan of Towle or you want to find out what his poetry is like, then this is the book.  It encompasses a complete range of Towle’s abilities as a writer and poet, delving into his experimental styles and imagery.

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Originally published on December 3rd 2001.

Originally published in the Long Beach Union.

“Borrowed Coats” by Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel (Hanging Loose Press, 2001)

Having published three other collections of poetry, Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel returns with new talents and new insights into the world of poetry.  Of German, Irish and Cherokee extraction, and having crossed over from the Dustbowl of the 30’s in Oklahoma to the “Pastures of Plenty” in California; McDaniel has a world of knowledge to draw from, in which she can never repeat a story or retell an old one.  Each thought she draws from is as fresh as a spring flower, taking to  you levels and dimensions you didn’t know existed.

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Originally published on December 3rd 2001.

Originally published in the Long Beach Union.