"Pepper Girl," Jonterri Gadson

“Pepper Girl,” Jonterri Gadson


Why you’ll love it:

Jonterri Gadson’s poems are both gentle and fierce, vulnerable and seductive. Her powerful chapbook “Pepper Girl” explores identity, the body, family and how we claim or build our homes. She is unafraid to let readers into intimate memories and thoughts: the time her son brought a dead bird to school instead of burying it, letters that will never be sent, prayers from the body for future lovers. You will find, as I have, that her words take up residence in you long after you finish this book.

See for yourself:

“[A]s homes shape horizons, so do I,/ vein this space, this air: my unwieldy molecules/ wild as morning hair. Blood roots/ through body, body spines this bed/ where we lay with our backs to one another;/ nothing but whispers between us...”

—from “System of Systems”

“Don’t Start Me Talkin’,” Tom Williams


Why you’ll love it:

“Blues is true,” the two main characters repeat in Tom Williams’ musicians-on-the-road novel, “Don’t Start Me Talkin’.” But truth is a pliable instrument, we soon learn from legendary bluesman Brother Ben and his younger, harmonica-slinging partner, Silent Sam. Although our narrator, Sam, is unquestionably devoted to music, he wrestles with his constant performing (on and off-stage) — stage names, fake accents, pimp suits and apocryphal tales of fistfights and origins. From gig to gig, Williams has you cheering this duo on.

See for yourself:

“Just as he believes we must look the part of bluesmen, Ben believes we must also talk the part. And this means more than how we speak — dropping g’s and sprinkling our speech with rural aphorisms — but what we say. As with his lyrics, we have to adhere to what’s been told and retold in the past, yet not too closely...”

—from pages 41-42

Note: See Tom Williams read on Thursday, May 1 as part of Paging Columbus at OSU Urban Arts Space (6-8 p.m.). More info: uas.osu.edu">uas.osu.edu