Rose Solari’s latest review column for Washington Independent Review of Books tackles two stellar new collections by established small-press poets, Terry Ellen Cross Davis and Dan Beachy-Quick. As with all her reviews, Rose uses a common theme to link the subject matter of the books she is reviewing. This month, she explores how the cover design is mirrored by the poetry and vice versa.
Of Terri Ellen Cross Davis’ new collection a more perfect union, Rose writes that before you read the first page you know that the poems will be “strong, elegant, embodied, female, and Black.” She goes on to praise Cross Davis’ incisive poetry which “[don’t] waste time.” In Rose’s words Cross Davis’ “lyricism is purposeful, her observations cut quick and sharp.” Finally, Rose praises Cross Davis for her lack of “sugar-coating” particularly in poems which detail the relationship of a Black mother and son.
Of Dan Beachy-Quick’s aptly titled Arrows, Rose praises a cover and forward matter that at first appear overly “precious” but, after reading the first poem and being transported “immediately into another world, an imagined ancient time where place is a meditative state of mind,” capture the mood and feel of the book perfectly. Rose both praises and criticizes the classical bent of the poetry:
“Unless you’re a classicist yourself, you might need a few reference books (or handy use of online searches) to follow these poems to their landing places. But rather than being put off by that, I was grateful to feel, as I read, my mind widening to encompass the contradictory impulses, the sly jokes followed by unabashed celebration that these poems contain.”