Book Review: New Poets ∙ Short Books ∙ Volume V by Lost Horse PressDo you want 3 quality poets for the price of one? Recently I was searching around the Internet for new literature sites when I stumbled upon a poet by the name of Robert Peake and noticed on his site (of the same name) there was a book to the right that he had contributed to and had poetry published.

As I am a monster for new poetry and discovering new writers, I took a closer look at the book on offer and was greatly excited to find it was not just a new poetry book of one poet, but of 3 new poets to be discovered. So straight away I ordered it right of Roberts site, and as he has recently just moved to London from California, it came pretty quickly, signed by the author too and a bonus CD with audio.

The book as stated has 3 poets, all from the US. These are Valentine Freeman, Robert Peake and Jensea Storie. The publishing company is new to me (another fine discovery) and this is Lost Horse Press. This book is the 5th volume in the series from this non-profit independent press so I will look forward to ordering the other volumes.

So what type of poetry do you get? The great thing about there been 3 poets with 3 short books in 1 is that, you get 3 completely different types of poetry and I will dig a little deeper into each of these.

What’s Truly Is Feral by Valentine Freeman
(Rachael’s shoes are fat little ships, they are fifty-two years old. They are lonely, but I don’t want to take about that.)

Valentine Freeman is from Oregon USA and her book is called What’s Truly Is Feral. Her poetry does not beat around the bush, it is very real, striking in images of life whether to do with friends, family, nature and the sense of a woman, living alone with her cat, thinking about family, jumps from the pages, truly enjoyable reading.

Having young hippy parents has inspired many of the images that dance through her poetry. In the poem Immunity, Two child-parents married in braces/their bright aluminum faces foretold your weird smile, draws up warm images and wonder, only to be slapped beck to reality with how could you wait at her bed/with the stolen meds/the brown food.

At a holocaust memorial in Berlin she describes it with a savage line of, it wasn’t supposed to be beautiful/But we looked for beauty. Her poetry in this book can come along and slap you with beautiful moments of life, nature, family, human spirit yet the dark side of such poems lurk and sneak up on you unexpectedly leaving you wanting more.

Human Shade by Robert Peake
(How can a man who adores his old shoes be taken seriously?)

Robert Peake is originally from California but now resides in London and his book is Human Shade. It could be argued that Roberts poetry deals a lot about death more than any other subject in the book but this is not the case.

Yes a lot of it does deal with death such as the loss of a child, some striking hearth-wrenching poems here that I dare the hardest of hearts not to be moved, the shooting of a Bear in a tree, the death of Saddam Hussein, roadside deaths witnessed by the narrator, morbid is a word that does not show its face in these poems, delicacy, beauty, passion, hope, stream through the writers hands and lodge straight in your brain like cement.

The very first poem in Human Shade starts with the lines Dear imagination of a boy/my round idea/you will not know the calluses on my hand/I will not teach you to wave hello. Absolutely hearth-warming, tragic and moving, yet draws you in to a book you know you will not want to put down and left with the personal and intimate mind of the writer.

But within Human Shade we have much color and expression of words steeped in humour such as Radish, the very first line She has let herself go caused me to burst out loud with laughter, Yellow, which the poet lends his mind to a weed, and In Praise of Old Shoes (my favourite poem in the whole book) humanizes a pair of old shoes that the poet owns and I can relate too, that will leave you feeling very sorry for the shoes as I did.

Human Shade is an extraordinary poetry book that manages to create all types of emotions with the reader. Robert writes about the loss of a child in a handful of poems, eloquently and masterfully.  Each image moves along the page creating pictures, sounds and feelings that will stay with you, reminding you to re-read this book once again.

On The Murder Of Juan De La Cruz by Jensea Storie
(Take this hushed woman, standing since dawn in a pen of stainless steel.)

Jensea Storie is also from California and her book is On The Murder Of Juan De La Cruz. And now for something completely different and extraordinary. Within the final book in this collection we come along to poetry steeped with political issues, activism dipped in the strongest, majestic images and words of the human spirit.

I absolutely loved this book. There is a lot to learn from Jenseas poetry through mistakes made by the human race to how coming together can build foundations of human kinship. Her poetry also shows the making of a strong woman. As a chef, I loved the poem In The Back Kitchen Of A Five-Star Resort. She really captures hard work of the kitchen, the sweat, the craziness, consider her triceps/their strength as her right arm pulls down the sprayer/the tightness in her hand squeezing the handle.

Her poetry screams to be heard. In her book you will find poems on immigration rallies in California, an eerie yet horrifying poem on Rwanda where a young girl and other women hide in a bathroom The toilet remained unflushed as if the silence could save them really captures a horrible moment in history that should never be forgotten of repeated.

Images creep through the book of injured and dead men, women and children in Baghdad that really reach out and grab you by the throat. Operation Dawn is one such poem of a father, holding a dying child that just captures the horror of war and leaves you breathless.

The book is steeped in hard war images. Tonight as a pack of stray dogs picks at a pile of dead Sunni/young soldiers will be boxed home covered in our stars and stripes again these type of images bring emotions to both sides and leave you thinking .

From a brother in a wheelchair from war to a striking poem about a dying ex, this poetry book will leave you slightly disturbed yet frighted of the reality of everyday life for some people. There is no doubt upon reading this book, you will want to read again and again.

Lost Horse Press

This is the fifth book from Lost Horse Press that I only really discovered lately and look forward to discovering more new poets through the other four books. Here we have three totally different, outstanding poets that you will be hearing more and more of in the coming years and poets I look forward to reading more from.

Where To Find It?

You can buy this book at Lost Horse Press website or as I would highly recommend, buying it from Robert Peakes website as not only will you get a signed copy as I did from Robert, you will also get an audio CD that he has created so you can hear the poems too. The book is also available at Amazon