Candice Louisa Daquin Reviews Composition of a Woman, Revised Edition by Christine E. Ray — September 28, 2019

Candice Louisa Daquin Reviews Composition of a Woman, Revised Edition by Christine E. Ray

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Some authors compel you to recommend their books to friends. Others you forget relatively quickly. For a book to enter the hallowed halls of a classic, almost never happens. Composition of a Woman is such a book.

In forty years’ time, I’ll be asking people to read this. I won’t pack this book when I move for fear of losing it, I’ll put it in my bag. It’s a collection that has more than staying power, it’s entered our collective consciousness and become one of the books you list alongside other classics and one day I guarantee this book will be listed among the very best poetry written. Though Ray may feel personally trapped by her physical constraints she is actually anything but, through the sheer will of her wordage. If she loses any of her physical grip, she seems to regain that loss in terms of her writing fluency.

How do I know? I read poetry for a living, there’s indifferent poetry, good poetry, exciting poetry and then there’s a poet. The poet breathes and her words become. It’s a transformative exercise that appears effortless but is anything but. The poet opens her chest, removes her ribs, reaches in and extracts the very marrow of herself. In this process, she becomes unforgettable. Christine E. Ray is such a poet. Whether discussing Fibromyalgia’s egregious hold over her body, her fear of failure, or the determination to feel passion, Ray’s voice is impossible to smother, she’s far too stubborn and talented.

Am I biased in my appraisal? If anything, I hold Ray to a higher standard because of what I know of her as a publisher. She’s got education, life experience, and wicked smarts which when put together created a literal powerhouse. As a writer she’s far less intimidating than she is when she edits and compiles award-winning anthologies, she’s able to throw herself into the ring, set the glaring lights and say ‘go on then, take a look and yes that scares the hell out of me but I’m going to let you anyway.’ That’s damn gutsy, a little crazy and magnificent all at once. But if she didn’t have the gravitas and sheer talent to back up her own poetry, we’d be polite and just nod our heads, we wouldn’t lean into her words like they were a drug and breathe deeply.

Ray’s work has always grasped me tightly around the throat, she holds on, she doesn’t let go. Her courage as a writer and the alacrity of her talent, leaves me wordless at times, and although she will lament her energies are not what they used to be, she has the creative zeal you rarely see in poets, where despite any set-back she continues to produce, high-quality astounding work time and again. For every legitimate struggle Ray has experienced, physically or emotionally, and perhaps because of this, she’s created a state that is quite the opposite of being numb.

Intensely female, Ray could be the closest to a laurate for females we’re going to find in this generation and as such, her ideas, the lengths she goes to express her truth, are breathtaking and never fail to diminish lesser works. That’s what you get when you are in the presence of a real talent, someone who blows you away each and every time, seemingly excavating electricity from nothing. If you ever considered a female weak, read a few lines of Ray and you’ll soon be corrected. This is so much more than a list of sufferings and experiences; this is the root of womanhood.

Most female writers I know personally, wish they had half the originality and momentum Ray has as a creative. Her reach is far, her words are velvet and the allure of her force leaves you vibrating with her presence. If I could buy one collection of poetry for all those, I know who love poetry I’d purchase Ray’s work every time. Her passion, focus and willingness to expose the beating meat of her soul, claims her throne as unforgettable and irreplaceable. Realizing control is an illusion Ray has bequeathed us the greater gift, her elemental truth. “When I turned 50 / I was considered obsolete” (Bad Feminist). Fortunately for us, Ray’s never been one to listen to small talk.

Composition of a Woman is available in print and Kindle versions worldwide

Candice Louisa Daquin of French Egyptian heritage moved from France to America and has worked and lived in the American SouthWest as a Psychotherapist and Writer since. Her work can be found at TheFeatheredSleep .

Kristiana Reed Reviews All the Beginnings of Everything by Kindra M. Austin — July 31, 2019

Kristiana Reed Reviews All the Beginnings of Everything by Kindra M. Austin

Austin has, yet again, created a masterpiece. All the Beginnings of Everything is a sensational collection which spans what feels like a lifetime. Separated into seven parts, Austin explores more in this collection than I feel she ever has done before; without sacrificing her trademark style. Her words remain sharp, raw and honest.

Part one is succinct, fervent and reveals how our childhoods fall into our adult years, no matter how hard we try to leave the past in the past. This is followed by parts two and three: Austin’s ode to self and survival. She is the lioness empowered by her dismissal of those who tried to break her. She will not give thanks; she is the reason she is here today and she will continue to create her own light and legacy.

For me, part four was a departure for Austin. Although she explores grief as masterfully as she did in Constant Muses and TWELVE, here Austin also embraces hope. It is an honest account of how heartache demolished the walls of her heart in order to help rebuild them, stronger than before. This balance of loss and love is repeated in parts five and six as we journey through hurt, lust, unrequited love and goodbyes to find real love; love which feels like a Heaven-sent gift and the easiest thing in the world.

Finally, fittingly, part seven delivers the end of this collection and takes us back to the beginning. This part is Austin through and through; it holds some of the best pieces I believe she has ever written. The title poem is quite simply, a masterpiece.

With each new release, Austin’s craft continues to blossom and out-do what came before. I cannot describe her words and work in any other way than magic. Not because her words appear as if by magic but because she wields a power many would struggle to harness. She is true; and for that, in this day and age, she is otherworldly.

All the Beginnings of Everything is now available for purchase



I write about love, lust, struggle, survival, fickle things, dreams and the stars. And anything in between.  You can read more of my writing at My Screaming Twenties

I released my debut collection of poetry and prose in May 2019, Between the Trees which is available to buy, below. I am currently working on my second collection.

Between the Trees:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Arclight in the Gyroscope Review — June 2, 2019

Arclight in the Gyroscope Review

Review of Arclight appearing in the Gyroscope Review.
“Arclight, by poet John Biscello, is an intriguing book brimming with possibilities. The book is divided into six diverse sections that carry themes through each section and tie them together with spirituality and attention to the relationships between people and creator, people and others, people and self.
I enjoyed the mix of short little poems that captured the intricacies of love and relationships, as well as the longer poems that delve into what it means to be connected with the spiritual, and the complications of love. Arclight is always drawing comparisons, answering and composing questions. Some of my favorite lines were about the Self, and its bonds to the heart.
from Beacon

The hidden vocabulary

of my heart

is reduced to essentials”

Read the full review here.
Eric Syrdal Reviews Conversations With My Higher Self by Rachel Finch — May 28, 2019

Eric Syrdal Reviews Conversations With My Higher Self by Rachel Finch

To walk outside your own body. To look back and see yourself as the universe sees you.  To see the entire story of your life laid open before you and to thumb through it page by page and truly understand.  To see clearly, all the events that have lead up to where you are now and the choices you made, actions you took, and to gain a snapshot of your soul.

Pain, loss, joy, grief, death, and rebirth.  To know that you have done it all the best you were able and that above all else you survived.  And love, the greatest of all emotions, is within you.  You are loved, you have loved, and you deserve love. 

Most of all the deepest love possible.

To love yourself.

What would the scenario described above look like?  If anyone is capable of drawing out a sketch of these events, I believe Rachel Finch is just such a person. 

She has painted a deeply emotional picture of this landscape and through her eyes we are able to gain a rare glimpse into what it might be like to view yourself from afar.

In “Conversations With My Higher Self”, Finch takes us on a guided tour of self-perception from outside one’s on psyche.

It’s a marvelous journey of exploration and discussion with one’s own consciousness.

Asking difficult questions and receiving difficult answers, as only your own heart can give.

I was profoundly moved by this piece.  As a poet and an empathic soul, my heart and mind were solidly gripped by the experience of reading this book.  

If you are one who enjoys philosophical discussions about how the events in your life have molded you into the person you are, then this is exactly the book for you. 

It will leave you with a profound feeling of having witnessed something beautiful.

It will also likely uncover the hidden answers in your mind to some of the most desperate questions your heart has been asking.

Conversations With My Higher Self is available through Amazon worldwide, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, and other major online book retailers.

Kindra M. Austin Reviews Kristiana Reed’s Between the Trees — May 14, 2019

Kindra M. Austin Reviews Kristiana Reed’s Between the Trees

My reflection in the train window settles

between the trees

beyond the glass

lining the field of gold.


In itself, the opening of the title poem speaks of forlorn reluctance, wishes, and wonders. It must be because there’s something so powerful and intimate about one’s reflection; we study ourselves and pick up every nuance, whether we want to acknowledge ourselves or not. As I continued to let the verses unfurl, I wondered if Kristiana Reed had written this poem for me.

Between the Trees, as a poetry collection, is a heroic tribute to Self. I say heroic, because self-discovery is a demanding journey that many of us often quit, or never even begin. What strikes me most is that Reed brings her vulnerabilities to light without abdicating a single fiber of her resolve to persevere in life, “I want to reach inside myself/and find perennial blossoms, /butterflies, and next times” (Perennial Blossoms), and in love. “I want to listen to bird song/and reminisce about love, /about your touch” (Reminisce).

On the surface, Kristiana Reed’s poetry appears to be delicate, but don’t be fooled by a simple glance. Within these pages, you’ll find countless chasms to explore. This body of poems and prose is certainly Reed’s body. It is her mind and soul. I hope that when you read Between the Trees, you take the time to contemplate her truth, and perhaps apply this level of honesty to your own life.


Between the Trees releases this week, and will be available globally on Amazon. Links to come!