Most of us are familiar with the concept of the seven deadly sins: gluttony, envy, wrath, lust, sloth, to name a few. Alice Kaltman embraces these sins—along with their virtuous counterparts—in her short story collection, Almost Deadly, Almost Good. She personifies the sins in her complex characters while exploring an equal number of virtues. Her stories depict the tragedies and triumphs of human nature. Characters embodying gluttony, envy, and wrath seem to be in a constant state of inner conflict and turmoil while those who practice kindness, humility, and patience have better outcomes.
“For all the mutts.”
Dela Torre, the most recent chapbook from poet and essayist Dani Putney, opens with this dedication. Simple and effective, they give no other preface before diving into 20-some pages of raw, emotional poetry where they break down their own mixed-race heritage, the history of their parents, and tear into colonialism with sharpened teeth. While Dela Torre runs rife with various themes about identity and family, there is one through-line that can be felt in each and every one of these poems— anger.