Bibliohio: Recommended Reading from the Heart-Shaped State

By Hannah Stephenson
From the January 9, 2014 edition

“O Holy Insurgency” Mary Biddinger (Black Lawrence Press, 2013)

blacklawrence.com

Why you’ll love it:

Mary Biddinger’s third poetry collection ushers us into a world of ominous woods, collapsing houses, shattered windows, broken-down cars and migrating birds and mattresses. Biddinger’s tone is dreamlike, hypnotic and insistent that we pay attention to the strange scenes she parades before us. Both eerie and reverent, these poems praise the power of ruin.

See for yourself:

“Everyone babbling about bacteria,/ the moon. All we wanted was keys./ You said you could taste the Detroit/ in every angle of me. You filled/ my mouth with a hundred boats/ at night, all lit with paper lanterns.”

—from “A Pact”

“The Sudden Seduction of Gravity” Paula J. Lambert (Full/Crescent Press, 2012)

fullcrescent.com

Why you’ll love it:

What happens when we fall? How do cope with pain and the loss of control? Paula J. Lambert’s poems orbit around the precariousness of health and balance, probing meaning from anxiety, fainting, dizziness and aphasia. But this is not simply a litany of illnesses — through her poems, Lambert shows herself to be a skilled healer. This book is for anyone who feels wounded or in need of tenderness.

See for yourself:

“You are the blue glass bottle tree, shining/ winking, collecting evil spirits that get so/ lost in you they finally just decide to stay,/ looking at the world from the inside out,/ everything indigo now, melancholy.”

—from “Bottle Tree”