Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Write the Town 2016: Poems from Sites in Salem, Oregon by Poets of the Mid-Valley Poetry Society

Write the Town 2016: Poem from Sites in Salem, Oregon by Poets of the Mid-Valley Poetry Society is a short collection filled with poems that offer a taste of Salem, Oregon through the eyes of several poets who participated in Write the Town. The chapbook is divided into sections based on the sites the poets visited to find inspiration over the Summer of 2016. Reading Write the Town reads like a tour of Salem through the eyes of several quite talented poets. Some poems spoke to me on a deeper level than others but all the poems offered unique perspectives. I enjoyed reading Write the Town 2016 and look forward to Write the Town 2017.

Limited number of copies available at CC Willow Art Etsy Store.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir by Paul Monette

I bought Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir by Monette because it was recommended by a class on AIDS I was taking as research for a book I'm writing. I thought the book might help me better understand the AIDS patient and even AIDS itself. Monette tells a story that is a heartbreaking mix of love, family, and loss. Not just the loss of his life partner but loss of a way of being in the world. He demonstrates eloquently the devastation fear wreaks when knowledge is minimal while showing the immense power of love to hold people together. At times, Monette's self-deprecation felt a bit too much, but it showed a glimpse into how insecurities can push us to both our best and our worst. He talked with graphic detail about the physical havoc AIDS brought not only to the bodies of those who suffer with it but to the lives and the communities where AIDS became such an accepted part of life that people talked about when instead of if. Monette talks about his and the gay community's resentment of people's ignorance and particularly their determination to remain ignorant. His love for his life partner, Roger Horwitz, is palpable throughout the book. I felt almost like an interloper in their lives in some of the more intimate portions of the book. Monette writes in a way that had me wishing for Roger to be saved even though I knew before I even began the book that was impossible. Near the end, I also found myself longing for Roger's suffering to end even though the end of that suffering meant death. Monette's description of full-blown AIDS and the suffering of not only Roger but their friends broke my heart and made me determined to support death with dignity laws. Monette downplays his own diagnosis of AIDS throughout the book. Roger is his focus because Roger is the one who is in crisis. I felt Monette's grief throughout the pages. I felt the secrecy in place to try to protect those who could offer support. I felt the love these two men shared. I felt the openness of love and compassion coupled with the anger and despair at a system not moving quickly enough to make a difference in lives. Borrowed Time is a reminder that no matter who we are, how we live our lives, or who we love, the time we have is only borrowed and it will be taken away at some point...

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Death Makes No Deals by David L. Hoof

Death Makes No Deals by David L. Hoof offers the reader a nonnegotiable deal filled with intrigue, suspicion, and complicated relationships. Hoof’s characters feel like someone you could meet at your favorite coffee shop or strike up a conversation with in a bar and never guess the depths of the secrets they hold, the struggles they face, or the world they live in all while assuming far too much in common or far too many differences. Death Makes No Deals coaxes the reader to accept that humans have a tendency to create a reality we can accept even when everything around us screams our reality is little more than fantasy. Hoof aptly demonstrates that the past will haunt the present and both will inform the future based on our interpretations and decisions. Death Makes No Deals is filled with deadly deals that demonstrate the power of death over the living.

Note: This review is based on an unedited ARC provided by the author.