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The Empty Spaces Paperback – June 7, 2013
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
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Her work speaks to a deeper meaning than what's on the page, as all good poetry should. When writing about pronouns in "Turner Classic Movies," there echoes a profound frustration at labels and definitions. "Calligraphy" has undercurrents of suggested eroticism that is beautiful in its understatedness.
Some of her poems - like "Name," "Enigma," "Paper Heart," and perhaps unsurprisingly, "Peaches for Eva" - evoke the style of William Carlos Williams (one of the only poets I can name off the top of my head. I'm sure my 11th grade English teacher would be proud). The emotional depth belies the simplicity of the prose, allowing the reader to relate to the work and see their own emotions reflected in it, like a mirror displayed on your Kindle's screen.
There's love, loss, lust, and longing in these pieces. These poems feel intensely personal, like we're seeing the author standing before us with her flesh stripped away, and raw emotion in its place.
It's easy to dismiss poetry when you don't read it - or, perhaps worse, when you're forced to read it in a setting, like school - but when you take the time with an open mind and critical eye, it's possible to allow yourself to see the beauty that's otherwise concealed by feelings like frustration or obligation.
I'm glad I received these books, and I'm glad I read them. If you have the slightest literary inclination, I recommend giving them a chance and buying them. Or, if you have a literary Philistine in your life (someone like me), do them a favor and buy them a copy. They'll get something out of it, if they'll just put in the time to try.
Palmisano’s rich metaphors create a mood of flying, moving, transcending—paper cranes and snowflakes, airplanes and shifting bodies of water—while always holding close to the things that matter most in life. She explores her own inner life with the same honesty and inquisitiveness that she responds to the world around her. From dreary high school days to the JFK assassination to the difficult conversation of whether to have a baby with her partner, there’s no corner of life that she shies away from.
The collection ends with the poem “40 Things I Never Asked Myself”—a litany of questions, offering no clear resolution but revealing pieces of the poet’s romantic and sexual life with unflinching vulnerability. And ultimately, I found that The Empty Spaces is not about finding the right answers, but a challenge to rise above the questions and make something extraordinary out of everyday life. “Meet the snow with your accord,” Plamisano challenges her readers. “Be the flower that blossoms in the face of adversity.” Readers are sure to be touched, challenged, and inspired by this honest and relatable collection of poetry.
Highly recommend reading all the way through, then going back a few days later to linger on some of the clever phrases, the stranger and deeper poems. You'll find more each time you read it, and each time will leave you wanting just a bit more...