We are immigrants in our own skin,
who get by with falsified papers,
fake IDs, and forged signatures.
and found guilty
of a trespass
we pardon ourselves
in our native tongues,
language a placeholder
for the names
we were forced
Indie Blu(e) Publishing is thrilled to announce the release of Arclight by John Biscello.
John Biscello is not simply a novelist and poet, but an alchemist of verses. In Arclight, Biscello captains a voyage that transcends the physical world with graceful introspection, and philosophical wonder. His reflective nature invites us to ponder our own life experiences and ideals. Arclight is a true tribute to the human heart.
“I always saw the humanity
behind his thick-lidded eyes, the small child,
begging for a banquet of golden crumbs
to appease the motherache churning
in his heart and stomach.
A thousand lions
pitted against a studded
chain smoking beer gutted gladiator,
I saw that too, he, the lions, the gladiator,
the smoke and booze,
all of it…”
from, I See Myself
Indie Blu(e) Publishing is thrilled to announce the upcoming release of John Biscello’s first book of poetry, Arclight. Biscello is the author of three novels—Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, and Nocturne Variations—and a collection of short stories, Freeze Tag.
Christine Ray is an extremely rare creature, seemingly transplanted from another age and time, in that she knows absolutely no bounds and will persevere through any obstacle and has the passion of a seventeenth-century bard in her poetic composition and expression.
In today’s saturated world of online bloggers most of us have read competent even exciting authors but few stay with us, underneath the skin. To achieve that, a writer must have captured the moon and control the tides. We live in an impermanent world where we change our fascinations as often as our clothing, loyalty, and fidelity are almost dead. For a writer to clamber from obscurity and retain our fascination seems a heroic feat, more often we have moments of desire for a certain writer and they are forgotten as the next one comes along. Commitment to their art may ensure a writer is briefly remembered again if they keep producing but readership is terribly fickle, no more so than online in the bloggers universe.
Christine Ray even has a memorable name, but she’s far more than just a female poet writing like so many others, on WordPress and other sites, building her following. Ray is a creator, at once a beautiful mess of a woman and a powerhouse, dynamic in a very contradictory way, on the one hand, due to chronic health blights, she has genuinely struggled both physically and mentally, but despite this, or should I say, through this, she has defied the modern authors dilemma of being one of many on a continuum, and become a standout writer who you will remember and need to read.
I can’t say this happens often these days, most of my favorite poets are 200 years old, they lived in a time when the sheer pain of existing meant a tragic will lent their writing a poignancy you were unable to shake. In today’s fattened world I don’t see that level of intensity transmuted into writing, more often there are vain attempts to mimic those of old or replicate the sordid suffering of our idols and it is usually just that, a pale imitation.
On so many levels, Ray is an original. Her work brands the reader with charged, unapologetic, stark and often exquisitely painful memories that don’t lose their potency overnight. The first few times I read a piece by Ray I didn’t continue through others blogs, I paused and thought about what her work made me feel, and that emotion stayed with me all day. She’s got that impossible quality that people would donate their soul to inherit, it’s not something you can learn in graduate school, it’s a pulse underneath the skin that few possess and it marks her as a serious contender for being unforgettable.
Having a book of Ray’s work in my collection excites me, her work leaves me like an addict, wanting more, it’s that simple and this, in a day when few authors can come close to achieving that alluring lasting quality. We live in a world that in many ways, has lost the fantastical and the unknown. We can get answers almost immediately, nothing is mysterious anymore, and therefore, when a writer can leave us breathless and disturbed, we cleave to them like shelter from an otherwise barren landscape. Such is the modern art world, few strike us through the heart or possess the raw talent to remain relevant and pulsating when it’s hard enough finding time to read poetry and locate its worth in our lives. Many who feel broken and have reasons for self-destruction, cannot weld the self-possession it takes to give voice to an unacceptable feeling or experience, yet Ray owns it with her wordsmiths alacrity she displays torment and survives it, bringing hope to burning wounds through the grace of her intelligent observations, pushing them from her deepest recess with no intention of going back.
Ray brings back my love of poetry, she throws it into an empty room and it proliferates, sometimes frighteningly, until it’s halfway down my throat and I only want more. A once in a lifetime author will cause you to become obsessive, you’ll never truly get enough, and you’ll forget your other lovers. That’s how I feel upon reading Ray’s work and I am certain of one thing, she’s only going to keep surprising us, because despite everything, she lives for her art, and it shows, in the sheer force of her will to write it out, and touch us with her fire. She alone can create a cage, set a stage for madness, tattoo a feeling, gut an emotion or twist my psyche with an uncanny awareness of what makes us tick. If we know everything then the only thing left is what we make of the fallout, and Ray is the mistress of revealing what lies beneath us.
In this ability to represent our deepest emotions, Ray reminds me of the classical poets whom we adored and emulated, she is the original from which we follow and yet, she is desperately relevant to today, because she inhabits the now with the tongue of yesterday. This first published collection is an exquisite rendering of Ray’s kaleidoscope of work themed around mental angst, PTSD and the unbearable lightness of being, cleaved from her chest cavity. She wields her deft needle, threading gorgeous imagery, ghosts, voids, screams, immeasurable psychological depths and carved beauty in one breathless gathering of work. Read her. Want her. Need her.
Candice Louisa Daquin’s own life, traveling from her native France, via England, Canada and finally the US, has brought a myriad of experiences that others have often been able to tap into via her writing. A collection of lives really, and with this, she tries to weave greater meaning through poetry and touch those who experience similar questions, doubts, and hopes. Surely this is what writing attempts in its very human form?
Daquin’s themes include feminism in its complex, everyday form, and the experience of being a woman, a gay woman, a bi-racial woman, a bi-cultural woman and finally, a Jewish woman of Egyptian extraction (Mizrahi) and how this sits with the world’s current revolt between the dominant faiths.
You can read more of her writing at The Feathered Sleep.
The print copy of We Will Not Be Silenced is on sale at Amazon today for $9.50– you may need a copy. Or three.
They make great gifts. . .
Eric Syrdal’s Pantheon takes readers on an epic journey through time, space and emotion
As a keen reader of sci-fi and fantasy novels, I was very impressed by Eric Syrdal’s Pantheon. For me, the title alone recalled deities of myth, promised encounters with larger-than-life heroes, and set up an expectation of sweeping verse. Syrdal, a self-proclaimed romantic and sci-fi and fantasy enthusiast, does not disappoint: He deftly weaves a tale of adventure, his protagonists crossing paths with virtuous Goddesses, who coax them toward their destinies.
As I read the first section, I worried that Pantheon was a little too heavy on the usual themes of fantasy and fairy tale: Warhorses champing at the bit, armored fighters, swords at the ready, the proverbial dragon looming over the embattled heroic Poet. Despite this, I continued on and was glad I did, for Syrdal quickly demonstrates that his story stands apart from and above the typical. With Courage and the Queen of Hearts at his side, and Hope, Grace, Mercy, Karma and Fate in the shadows, the Poet must make a pivotal decision. His choice at that critical moment is masterfully mirrored in the subsequent sections of the book, and I marveled time and again at the way Syrdal coherently connected his multiple story lines, the seams necessarily apparent but still flawless.
Soon enough I saw and admired the Poet for what he was: a part of the human soul that comprehends the complicated relationship between suffering and joy; perhaps he is a reflection of Syrdal himself? I cheered on the heroine, who takes the form of a talented cellist struggling with depression, an AI computer system designed to keep a deep-space traveler alive, the immortal and vengeful Daughter of the Phoenix. In every incarnation, she engages in a struggle with fear and desire to realize her role in the workings of the universe.
I began to anticipate the arrival of the Goddesses, to appreciate their place in Syrdal’s cosmos, which spans time and space and delves deep into the human soul. My three favorite sections of the volume, “Amor Vincit Omnia,” “Time and Again,” and “Lightspeed” occupy these dimensions beautifully. “Amor Vincit Omnia,” the kernel of the novel, takes us to the mythical halls of the Goddesses and their sister-liege the Queen of Hearts, but also paints the earthly encounters between Fate and her most admired hero. There is the presentation of the age-old question, “Love Conquers All/Is that phrase true?” The answer is given through the rendering of Fate’s essence. Syrdal refines that essence and extracts it via her interactions with the Queen of Hearts:
When the talk
moved back to
the importance of
her resolve shattered
into a million teardrops
And this pain is multiplied within “Time and Again,” as the Poet is jettisoned from existence to existence, just so that he can fulfill a freeing, but horrifically soul-crushing directive. At the culmination of each experience, he pleads with Mercy. The reverberations of her pitying refrain “Not today, Love,” are heard as well in “Lightspeed,” a space operetta in which time and the chasm between human and artificial intelligence are, paradoxically, the hindrances to and the impetuses for love’s expression.
Ever wary of revealing an ending, I will still give you this: Pantheon finishes as epically as it began. All along, the Queen of Hearts and her sisters have artfully molded their heroes’ journeys, bringing them back to central truths about life and love. Should you read this book (and you should!), I trust that the imagery of that final section will be long lasting in your mind, along with a sense of awe at Syrdal’s beautifully written verse and sense of literary craftsmanship.
Mariah Voutilainen is an aspiring writer who enjoys reading sci-fi/fantasy, flash fiction, and poetry of the medium-dark and romantic varieties. She marvels at the beauty of everyday life in the Pacific Northwest. Her ruminations on all manner of things can be found on her blog, (re)imagining the mundane.