I returned on Monday from a week at the Jersey shore and a few days in NYC to a reentry into the smoky conditions of the Pacific Northwest. You can get a visual on how many fires the West Coast of North America is dealing with here. I’ve also noticed more than a typical number of earthquakes over the past two months. I monitor the ones in the Ring of Fire here. The Ring of Fire is the large basin of land surrounding the Pacific Ocean where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.
I think it’s fair to say, at least regarding our fire “season” that we have reached a “new normal” meaning fires all year round in this region. We’ve seen quite a few respiratory problems at the clinic over the past couple of weeks. It’s certainly unpleasant particularly since we only get a couple of months of sunshine where I live, but of course, it’s been worse than just smoke for people and animals in the fires’ paths.
I have a review of Max Ritvo’s forthcoming book, “The Final Voicemails” (Milkweed Editions, 2018), up at the Rumpus. Max Ritvo was an enormously gifted poet who died at age twenty-five, two years ago, on August 23, 2016, after a prolonged bout with cancer. His posthumous collection, The Final Voicemails, will be released on September 11, 2018. As a nurse practitioner who cut her milk teeth watching young gay men die in droves in the 1990s, I was tremendously moved by Max’s courageous work in the face of his death. I hope you will read my review, and more so, that you will read his work, which includes the also posthumously published, “Four Reincarnations”.
I am finding writing reviews of poetry to be very engaging, an activity which forces me to read very closely and deeply into a poets’ work. My next review for the Rumpus will be “The Black Bear Inside Me” by Robin Becker (Pitt Poetry Series, 2018).
Let me know if you want me to review your book on my blog!
I’m also looking forward to seeing an interview I conducted with Jen Rouse, coming soon on Bekah Steimel’s blog. Headmistress Press published Jen’s “Acid and Tender” in 2016, which was a finalist for the Charlotte Mew Prize. Jen has a fabulous new book, just released, that you don’t want to miss. It’s called “Riding with Anne Sexton”. Check out this poem from the book that was published on Glass: A Journal of Poetry, called Anne Sexton Talks to God. It will knock your socks off, I promise!