Humanity has long searched for meaning and truth by looking toward the stars. Poets Steven and Benjamin Ostrowski believe we only need to look within ourselves. This father and son team present what they’ve learned and what they seek to know in their new book Penultimate Human Constellation: A Father and Son Converse in Poems (2018, Tolsun Books). Less an epistolary narrative and more like a private conversation over a long sleepless night, the Ostrowskis embark on their unique quest. We become privy to their efforts.
In Jennifer Battisti’s first chapbook, Echo Bay, we meet a multifaceted and singularly articulate girl and woman, raised on the fringes of the Las Vegas Valley, navigating the complexities of memory with moving poetic detail. The speaker is at once enrapturing and unabashed, exploring adolescence, marriage, motherhood, and grief with both precision and universality. Through Battisti’s unique perspective, we examine the shaded, much less glamorous fringes of the Las Vegas Valley, just as we are presented with the much less idealized aspects of motherhood and marriage. Battisti’s profound work fosters an intensity of emotion which ranges from despair to joy to acceptance as the speaker searches for the freedom of letting go.