Reviews: Ghost City Press’s 2018 Summer Micro-Chap Series

Every summer, Ghost City Press releases dozens of pay-what-you-can micro-chapbooks. Even better? Funds go directly to the authors. These chaps are a great way to get to know new authors, and a great way to spend the last days of summer.

1. Casserole by Sara Adams

Blackout poetry has been an artistic staple for years, but none are so exquisitely crafted as Casserole by Sara Adams, where the typical opaque marker obstruction has been replaced with colorful glitter. Using pages from Stephen King’s Cujo, Adams brings her own sharp eye, writing novels worth of emotional narrative in just a few words. My favorite among them is picked out between green glitter:

“he sparkled like a dead-end road All dead-end roads.”

2. There Are Over 100 Billion Stars In Our Galaxy by Canaan Anthony Whitston

Every poem in this collection a treasure. “Floral Department,” especially, hit me the hardest in my gut. (“I Literally Want to Fight God is another stand-out star.) 
Canaan Anthony Whitston has a knack at making every poem feel like a small intimate story, musings as you walk down a dark road with a friend after a hard day and everything feels electric with purpose.

3. Wolf Inventory by Zefyr Lisowski

In poetry, the pacing and spacing of the words themselves is just as important as what’s being written, and in Wolf Inventory, Zefyr Lisowski forces the reader to consider every pause, every space, the breaths between words, titles that begin full paragraphs, all in pursuit of poignant, heartbreaking storytelling.

Lisowski’s collection is purposeful, angry, and sad, cataloguing assault in a way that feels both personal and removed from the subject matter.

4. Heaven Is Only Part of Our Body Where the Sickness Resides by Tanya Singh

Fleshy, raw, bodily, weighty. Every section starts with facts and every word sticks to the side of your mouth.

It’s rare to find a piece of writing that feels so present in the body, but Tanya Singh’s poetry invokes visceral imagery so strong it’s stuck with me long after I turned my eyes away.

5. Pulse by Katherine Indermaur

There’s a steady rhythm to Pulse, each poem’s title feels like a heartbeat — Combustion, Pulse, Pulse, Pulse, Pulse, Pulse, Conservation, Pulse, Pulse

I find myself looking for the constant threads, the through-lines in the story Katherine Indermaur weaves. The musicality of every poem cannot be denied.

6. Loneliness and Other Ways to Split a Body by Kanika Lawton

Kanika Lawton doesn’t shy away from the gross in the human experience — vomit, loneliness, regret, sex, the hard conversations at 3 am in someone’s car, tears, sweat, unease. Everything is literal and everything is a metaphor. There’s points reading this where I felt ill, and that speaks to Lawton’s deft hand.

7. Palace by Matthew Bookin

Every line, I came to find in Matthew Bookin’s collection, Palace, reads (to me) like the introductory sentence of a novel, woven together in specific chunks to make one poem. The one poem where this reading falters is in Creatives, in that every part of that poem redirects into an almost sarcastic conversation about the death of a child, staked as a one-act play. Bookin’s poetry shines when sat with and digested slowly.

8. Melodrama by Helga Floros

Every poem in Melodrama is based off a Lorde song — poetry inspired by music. Fans of Lorde’s music will recognize the callbacks within the poems to the song itself — does it frighten you? An immediate callback to the song within the poem Green Light — but even a longtime fan like myself finds freshness in the material Helga Floros creates, whether it’s the create-your-own-poem from a wordbank in Homemade Dynamite or the many readings within the poem Supercut that changes slightly depending on how you read it — in columns? In stanzas?