Bibliohio: Recommended Reading from the Heart-Shaped State

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From the May 1, 2014 edition

“Frankenstein’s Flowers,” Charlene Fix

readcwbooks.com

Why you’ll love it:

Charlene Fix’s newest book of poems, “Frankenstein’s Flowers,” looks at looking. Observing, reading (or misreading), watching — for Fix, these acts of seeing produce empathy. Eyes show up in many of the poems (the crying eye of the Cyclops, for example), fondly referred to as “crater lakes” or “quarter moons.” These poems explore Persephone’s torn attentions, beloved snoring dogs, scenes of reading “Heidi,” “Maus,” “Macbeth” and “Alice in Wonderland.” Fix challenges us to be more attentive to what is around us, and thus, more vulnerable to pain and love.

See for yourself:

“When a flower visits you three times in three days,/...you have to consider the synchronicity,/ that this might be the Universe yoo-hooing to you/ in a form involuted and sexy and coded and perfumey...”

—from “Gardenias”

“Humboldt: Or, The Power of Positive Thinking,” Scott Navicky

cclapcenter.com

Why you’ll love it:

Somewhere betwixt Charles Dickens, Christopher Guest and “South Park,” we find Scott Navicky’s satirical novel, “Humboldt, Or, The Power of Positive Thinking.” We follow Humboldt, an innocent (ignorant?) young soybean farmer, as life upends him on a succession of impossible adventures (from Winesburg, Ohio, to college, Washington, Iraq, New Orleans and many other places). Navicky’s language is relentlessly playful, disorienting and unafraid to offend.

See for yourself:

“Humboldt was in awe of the city’s BIGness. No, its vastness. No, its peopleness. The city was a big, vast peoplefarm. Nooo, its pigeonness! The city was a big, vast pigeonfarm! New York City: the peoplepigeoncity....These strange creatures spent their days foraging for food and desirable reproductive qualities, while continually defecating on each other.”

—from Page 120