Review: ”Til Death: Marriage Poems’ by Janice Leach and James Frederick Leach

‘Til Death: Marriage Poems by Janice Leach and James Frederick Leach
Raw Dog Screaming Press (January 2017)

112 pages, $12.95 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Let’s go ahead and skip the expected Princess Bride reference and pretend I made it so we can move on, alright? After all, marriage isn’t just about love, no matter how true that love may be. Just as it isn’t about sex (just ask every hack comic). Or the creation of small clones of yourselves. Or the merging of empires. Sure, those are part of it, but they utterly fail to encompass the actual experience. Marriage is about a life shared, along with all of the terror, heartache, unbridled rage and desperation that entails. The rest is just window dressing.Continue Reading

Review: 'Underwater Fistfight' by Matt Betts

underwaterfistfightUnderwater Fistfight by Matt Betts
Raw Dog Screaming Press (April 2016)
98 pages; $12.95 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Matt Betts has been making a name for himself as a novelist lately, but that isn’t how I got to know him. I was first introduced to Matt as a poet, via his superb collection See No Evil, Say No Evil. A guy who wrote poems about cool stuff, like Godzilla and Monsters and Why You Should Totally Leave The Beach. A guy who reveled in the silly and absurd, but could find glimpses of the sublime and occasionally heartbreaking between the lines. Underwater Fistfight is a return to form that I have been waiting for, lo these many intervening years.Continue Reading

Review: 'While the Black Stars Burn' by Lucy Snyder

whileblackstarsburnWhile the Black Stars Burn by Lucy Snyder
Raw Dog Screaming Press (November 2015)
166 pages; $13.95 paperback; ebook $4.99
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

I’ve been a huge fan of Lucy Snyder’s work for years. Her yarns are fun, gutsy and weird as all get out. While the Black Stars Burn, though, has caused me to realize how important it is in the pantheon of full out capital-L Literature.

“Mostly Monsters” makes this indisputably clear from the first page. On the surface, we have the destructive relationship between a father and his daughter and the damage it causes. A sharp, heartbreakingly personal tale of familial horror that kicked me right in the teeth. At the same time, it screams its manifesto to refuse to look away from the small terrors that shape us daily. The sense of causation here, the implications of what went wrong, where and what could be done to keep it from happening in the future are woven through every word without ever stopping the story itself or robbing it of emotional impact.Continue Reading

Review: 'An Exorcism of Angels' by Stephanie Wytovich

An Exorcism of Angels by Stephanie Wytovich
Raw Dog Screaming Press (May 2015)
163 pages, e-book $4.99, paperback $13.95
Reviewed by Anton Cancre

exorcismofangelsSo that we are clear, An Exorcism of Angels is a book of poems about love, but they are a far cry from the images of roses and violets and fleas as sex metaphors. Stephanie Wytovich presents us with love born of need instead of desire. Love that is desperate, angry, bitter and spewing bile and that red, red kroovy all over the place. Love with no happily ever after, ending in padded rooms and jail cells with screams echoing outside and in. Continue Reading