a blackbird tries to fly
from the drying ink
Sometimes, you must read more than 10,000 short poems before you find one like the opening poem of Darrell Lindsey’s stunning collection. This haiku has a complex architecture of images and meanings. At first reading, the poet tells us about a sumi-e painter, maybe an apprentice. A remarkable scene takes place when the brush leaves its traces. The paper moves slightly under the weight of the brush and the ink changes the brightness of the reflected light. For a moment, the bird seems to flap its wings. Deepening our reading, we discover that the bird trying to fly over the mountains is nothing but the aspiration of this apprentice to detach himself from his teacher and find his own way. In a version of Genesis, both the author and his character (the painter or the poet himself) have the gift to repeat the act of creation in new ways.
— Eduard Tara, Poet
A Master of Stick Figures contains haiku and tanka that reflect upon and question a life. With a studied balance of light and darkness, the poems speak to things unsaid. Like in a painting, the poet tries to “handcuff the light.” These are poems of the past, poems of place, poems that attempt to round out a life through introspection. The master presents his stick figures in a way that readers will find memorable, even familiar, and most of all poignant and sincere. Lindsey’s use of figurative language is highly effective, opening up these poems to deeper insights with each reading.
— Carole MacRury, Poet
“Haynes seems to open the pages of her journal and place them trustingly in the reader’s hands. There is no putting on airs, no trying to be someone she is not. Instead, quietly and humbly the reader is shown where the poet has been and where she is now. It is not by any means a life free of struggle but rather one from which she strives to heal.”
In this collection, the poet shares her celebrations and struggles as a young mother with her honest, endearing, sometimes heart-breaking and extremely relatable poems.
From the review by Julie Warther
In leftover ribbon, Tia Haynes takes us on an intimate journey through motherhood, mapped out by a mix of short-form poems including haiku, senryu, haibun and cherita. Here we follow the poet as she navigates through late night bottles and lullabies to changing body image issues and ideas of what a mother should be. Indeed, while many poems explore deep, complex emotions and dark themes, such as “morning cartoons/I shake out/the last pill”—at the core of this collection is an ever-jubilant sense of love, joy, and wonder of being mama, most beautifully expressed in the titular poem.
From the review by Caroline Skanne