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UH-OH
UH-OH
by Derrick C. Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: $20.00

5.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Collection Celebration Two Decades of Incredible Work by Derrick Brown, August 20, 2016
This review is from: UH-OH (Paperback)
Derrick Brown was one of the first poets that knocked the wind out of me when I first began going to poetry slams in 1998. I remember seeing him perform at the 1998 National Poetry Slam in Austin, TX, and the other poets on my team & I couldn't stop talking about his work: how strange and wonderful it was, ethereal yet grounded, ambitious yet unpretentious, stunning in its text yet performed with purposeful artistry. Derrick Brown was like no other poet I'd ever seen, and he has continued that reputation in the two decades since.

UH OH captures two decades of Derrick Brown's writing, and as a someone who already owns all of his books (including rare & out of print ones), I still found myself utterly knocked out by this book. Brilliantly ordered in reverse chronological order (meaning the newest poems Derrick has written come first, and the oldest ones bat clean up at the end), UH OH allows the reader to meet Derrick where he is now, and then watch him unravel his past for you. It is an incredibly satisfying experience. Brown's largely autobiographical work allows you an intimacy as a writer, and it is interesting to follow threads and themes -- the constant movement, the celebratory act of falling in love, the wrestling with time, family and death -- as they shift color and tone over the course of his life. And as a long time fan of Brown's work, it is so thrilling to see some of my favorite older pieces resurrected in this beautiful new book, to compare and contrast with his muscular new work.

As with all Write Bloody books, the book itself is beautiful, but even so, this book is special. I highly recommend UH OH for Derrick Brown fans and novices alike, and I hope that it exposes the work of the eclectic, authentic and prolific Brown to new legions of fans.


Sex & Love &
Sex & Love &
by Bob Hicok
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.95
55 used & new from $8.41

5.0 out of 5 stars another human and marveling masterwork from Hicok, July 1, 2016
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This review is from: Sex & Love & (Paperback)
Bob Hicok is such a quiet master of the form of poetry. It's rare to find a poet whose work you can press into the hands of friends who are poets & friends who have never read a poetry book in their lives. Hicok's work has always been that to me: deceiving simple, plain-spoken with barely contained storm locked in each piece. With SEX & LOVE &, Hicok has written some of the most beautiful love poems I've ever read -- and not because they speak of love as unspoiled or unbent, nor does he write of love as ugly or fleeting. Rather, the love he shares for his wife in this latest collection is human and marveling. He examines the life and love with a watchmaker's focus, taking it apart and putting it back together, and holding it up to his ear, smiling at its ticking: persistent and comforting. The poems about sex also come from that same human and marveling place. He writes frankly & warmly about the shifting landscape of sexual love in a long term relationship, the things that change as years go on, and the things that stay the same. But throughout all the poems, you return to the same place: gratitude. No matter how much he tumbles through the elements of his life and his marriage, they all click together as that place. This is a beautiful tribute to the love of husband for his adored wife, and another Hicok book I will be giving as a gift for years to come.


Shader: 99 Notes on Car Washes, Making Out in Church, Grief, and Other Unlearnable Subjects
Shader: 99 Notes on Car Washes, Making Out in Church, Grief, and Other Unlearnable Subjects
by Daniel Nester
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.98
19 used & new from $9.63

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sharp, thoughtful, heartbreaking, hilarious and human, December 29, 2015
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I have always loved autobiographic writing -- whether in prose, poetry or graphic novel form. There is something so fascinating in someone willing to expose themselves -- their vulnerabilities, their flaws, the truths, their lies -- and in how they chose to do it. Daniel Nester's SHADER is like the lovechild of two of my favorite memoirs: Chuck Klosterman's FARGO ROCK CITY and Kevin Sampsell's A COMMON PORNOGRAPHY. Like Klosterman, Nester defines himself from a young age by his music -- both his ever-evolving love and respect for it, and how is different his music is to his "shader" contemporaries. Music sizzles and hisses throughout throughout this book, connecting us to Nester in fresh, funny and powerful ways. And like Sampsell, Nester decided to examine this complicated childhood a format of (relatively) short chapters. Using the "Notes on [____]" conceit, Nester is able to light upon a full spectrum of his experience -- bouncing around between the hard and the easy, the present and the past, the devastating and the delirious -- but always lands this sharp, thoughtful prose on the steady-eyed, human truth. A true triumph!


Dark Sparkler
Dark Sparkler
by Amber Tamblyn
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.64
80 used & new from $4.46

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, haunting and fearless look at what the costs of being a young, beautiful woman in the spotlight, April 7, 2015
This review is from: Dark Sparkler (Paperback)
In her third full length collection of poetry, poet, actress and director Amber Tamblyn dives hard into the black waters of what it is like to be a young beautiful woman in the spotlight, and the result is equal parts stunning, staggering and illuminating. The daughter of a child actor (WEST SIDE STORY'S Russ Tamblyn) and a child actor herself (Tamblyn started a six year run on GENERAL HOSPITAL at 12), Tamblyn seems keenly positioned to receive and seek out stories of other young actresses crushed, damaged and even killed in the fame machine that is modern Hollywood. Reaching back into the golden age and as modern as this decade, Tamblyn charts these women's lives with a poet's eye, an actress's empathy, a director's sense of staging and historian's attention to detail. But Tamblyn herself is not lost in this story -- her realness is felt in her empathy, her fear and the push-pull that happens when you read a story similar to your own that ended horribly. You want to distance yourself for it, but you also want to pull it closer, understand it, even love it despite its tragic end. The epilogue which concludes this gorgeous themed collection is in itself worth the price of the whole book. It showcases Tamblyn's powers as a poet: her vulnerability, the dark delight of gut-punch metaphor, and an openness to her own darkness and fears.

Beautifully illustrated and fearless written, DARK SPARKLER is a brilliant new heights for the always risingTamblyn, and I am happy to be one of the earliest voices in the chorus of praise this book so richly deserves!


Bouquet of Red Flags
Bouquet of Red Flags
by Taylor Mali
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.68
39 used & new from $8.17

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Risky, Challenging, Complex & Great, October 29, 2014
This review is from: Bouquet of Red Flags (Paperback)
In his third full-length collection of poetry, BOUQUET OF READ FLAGS, poet Taylor Mali challenges himself in explore the full spectrum of his recent life experiences -- the light and the dark -- with poems that are as dazzling as they can be heartbreaking.

Readers are likely familiar with the Mali's work on the stage -- a popular touring poet, Mali is also the most viewed poet on YouTube -- and his best known works cover the subjects of family, society and, of course, teaching. But in this collection, Mali tackles the complex, challenging and emotionally-wrenching topic of divorce. In BOUQUET OF RED FLAGS, Mali gives readers an intimate look at the topography of his heart-break, as he examines the evidence, holds up the purity of his love, admits his failings (both with his now ex-wife, and with previous partners) and, ultimately, finds himself on a happier path.

BOUQUET OF RED FLAGS reminded me of Billy Collins's HOROSCOPES FOR THE READS -- another darker-themed book by a popular living poet also know for his wit and charming turn of phrase. And like HOROSCOPES, I am grateful for the bravery and openness which the poet gifts his long-time fans. Mali knows how to write a crowd-pleasing poem (and there are crowd-pleasers in this collection for sure), but it must of felt like a big risk to put so much of his heartbreak on the page.

But it is a risk for which I am so grateful.


Our Poison Horse
Our Poison Horse
by Derrick Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.00
44 used & new from $6.93

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful, Confident & Joyful Dispatch on Life from A Beloved Poet, October 19, 2014
This review is from: Our Poison Horse (Paperback)
In this latest collection of poetry, OUR POISON HORSE, poet Derrick Brown continues to live up to the promise of his previous (and beloved) collections, breaking new ground and challenging himself in new ways. As follow up to this Texas Book of the Year award-winning book STRANGE LIGHT, we find Brown moving through and passed a crossroads in his life. A troubadour poet who lived mostly in California when not on tour, OUR POISON HORSE sees Brown moving to Texas and seeing his world -- and himself -- in a new light. The result is a book that is joy to read -- funny, romantic and thoughtful, and not afraid to move between shadow and light. Brown is in an interesting time in his career -- confident enough that his writing excludes a wonderful and intuitive boldness, but he is still wrestles with a delicious young hunger, that keeps his mind & metaphors ever moving. It is a joyful, complicated and incredible portrait of an artist fully coming into himself, and I highly recommend it!


Bad Feminist: Essays
Bad Feminist: Essays
by Roxane Gay
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.00
151 used & new from $4.74

8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Funny, Smart, Vulnerable, Expectation-Defying Delight, August 5, 2014
This review is from: Bad Feminist: Essays (Paperback)
As one of the most anticipated debut book of essays of the year, Roxane Gay's BAD FEMINIST certainly had a lot of hype to contend with... but I think she not only met those high expectations but exceeded them.

BAD FEMINIST is such a wonderful and eclectic collection, one that defies expectations of what it should be while also embracing everything you have loved about Gay herself. She is funny, smart and searingly honest. It doesn't discriminated between "high brow" and "low brow" topics, nor emotional vs intellectual positions. She is a complicated and isn't afraid to explore any topic of her choosing, even if she veers into territories that may seem difficult. Her writing isn't afraid to be hilarious, or heart-breaking, timely and timeless, personal, authentic and vulnerable.

Like her two previous books, AYITI and AN UNTAMED STATE, Gay's book will leave in a curious but delightful state: completely satisfied, but wanting more from this fearless new writer.


An Untamed State
An Untamed State
by Roxane Gay
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.00
147 used & new from $3.78

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing & Nuanced, June 23, 2014
This review is from: An Untamed State (Paperback)
With its first arresting page -- "Once upon a time, in a far off land, I was kidnapped by a gang of fearless yet terrified young men with so much impossible hope beating inside their bodies it burned their very skin and strengthened their will right through their bones. They held me captive for thirteen days. They wanted to break me. I was not personal. I was not broken. This is what I tell myself." -- you get an immediate sense of harrowing, complicated and nuanced story that author Roxane Gay is about to tell.

I am sure much will be written about Roxane's handling of her protagonist Mireille's kidnapping and its brutal, visceral aftermath. It is handled deftly, unapologetically and very much rooted from Mireille's perspective. The violence that Mireille is forced to endure is of course the cleaving moment of her life: everything immediately becomes either before or after.

And this, was to me, the most impressive part of Gay's novel: the loving and complicated portrait of the loving and complicated Mireille. Before, during and after her ordeal, Mireille isn't simple or easy to understand. She is temperamental, willful and speaks without thinking, saying hurtful things she both means and doesn't mean. She is driven, conflicted, critical and nostalgic. She hurts the one she loves, loves the ones who hurt her, and understands, with frightening accuracy, the consequences of her actions, but lives her life only the way the only way she see how.

It was an utter pleasure to see how all characters develop, grow and change through out every aspect of this story. Like people in your own life, Gay's cast of characters are not easy to define or pin down. Their choices through out the book will surprise you, disappoint you, enrage you, challenge you and break your heart. You will this book looking at the people in your own life, and the world you live in, with new eyes.

I highly recommend this incredible debut novel, and am already looking forward to reading her next two works: her upcoming collection of essays, "Bad Feminist" and her forthcoming memoir.


This Is Between Us
This Is Between Us
by Kevin Sampsell
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.92
61 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fantastic book from the unstoppable Kevin Sampsell, November 27, 2013
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This review is from: This Is Between Us (Paperback)
I absolutely adored Kevin Sampsell's previous book, his amazing memoir "A Common Pornography." It was a mainstay in a bag for years, and I give it as a gift to at least a half-a-dozen writers and friends. Needless to say, I was excited (and nervous -- my expectations were so electric!) for Sampsell's next book. a novel titled "This is Between Us." As it turns out the excitement was completely justified, and the nervousness a total waste!

Echoing the intimacy and honesty of the ultra-brief chapters in "A Common Pornography," "This is Between Us" pulls the reader in by giving us vulnerable and clear-eyed access to an ocean of moments in the five years of a romance. There are moments of quiet lust, lusty confusion, confusing intimacy, intimate comedy, comedic tragedy and tragic silence.

As someone who just left a decade-long relationship, I find down-right miraculous that Sampsell can be so graceful in showing us the spectrum of what it means to be a relationship: the bravado, the romance, the mistakes -- ones you admit to and ones that you hide --the juxtaposition of feeling like you know someone better than anyone else in the world while also realizing you may not know that at all, all the times you watch them silently, the locks you are always trying to pick within the other.

There is a lot of beauty in this book -- a lot of lust and romance -- but Sampsell allows us the gift of seeing beauty even when there doesn't seem to be any: the awkwardness of bumping into an ex's brother in a clothing store, the nervous heat of taking your girlfriend to place you once brought other woman, the parental fear that your leap towards to love might have consequences you can't easily reverse with the kid who didn't ask to brought into this world.

It's addicting, honest and immensely readable book. I highly highly recommend!


The Importance of Being Ernest
The Importance of Being Ernest
by Ernest Cline
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.84
49 used & new from $6.84

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastically Geeky & Hilarious Time Capsule of the Early Work of Ernest Cline, September 13, 2013
When I was a kid, I knew I wanted to be a writer. But growing up in working class Philly, it seemed like an impossible dream. I mean, I knew writers exists, but I didn't understand how they got to BE writers: the years of effort, the steps it took, the rejections & acceptances that would eventually put them on their path. When I began looking into the lives of writers I admired, I loved ones who seemed to have fought impossible odds -- creating wonderful and iconic work along the way -- to get them where they are. And it is for this reason that absolutely adore the Write Bloody Publishing's gorgeous illustrated re-issuing of novelist & screenwriter Ernest Cline's first (and only!) poetry collection, THE IMPORTANT OF BEING ERNEST.

For those fans of Cline's work that were first introduced to him via the (cult) film, FANBOYS, and even more so for those book-lovers who fell in love with Cline via his incredible debut novel, the NYTimes-bestselling READY PLAYER ONE, there is so much for love in this collection. We see Cline in his earliest years as a writer: ranting about his day jobs, railing against unchecked complacency & contemporary idiocy, and -- perhaps most fun -- unabashedly geeking out over the things he loves. Although these spoken word pieces are all over a decade-old, there is a smart freshness to them. Even though I've heard the pieces before -- you can download his spoken word CD for free on his website, and it contains many of the pieces in the book -- I still find myself laughing out loud. And the highly stylized, high-energy Len Peralta illustrations which accompany the pieces just add to the fun.

Feel free to google some of the best known works in the book -- "Dance Monkeys Dance" "The Geek Wants Out" "Tech Support" "Airwolf" "Nerd P*rn Auteur" -- to get a sense of what is in here, but please know that are lesser known Cline gems to enjoy as well. It is a fun & heartening book for any fan of Ernest Cline's, and any geeky writer wondering were a powerhouse like Cline got his start!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 23, 2016 3:37 PM PDT


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