Posts By: Emily Corwin

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Microreview: Claudia Cortese’s Wasp Queen

Wasp Queen by Claudia Cortese (Black Lawrence Press, 2017)

Lucy—Cortese’s recurring character, our “wasp queen”—permeates this collection with stingers and Barbie heads, gauze, shopping malls, cul-de-sacs, wisteria, Ohio, Oreos and Ring Pops, Rainbow Brite, mirrors, fire, swear words, period blood, milk teeth, “the popular girls,” dirt, chicken fingers, Cheetos, lawn elves, masturbation, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dirty Dancing, ribbons, rot, and milkshakes. Through these repeated images, Cortese invites us fully into Lucy’s world, wants us to be her friend, to make pinky-promises and eat a caterpillar with her.

The poem titles immediately engage and set up Lucy’s escapades in Midwestern suburbia—with titles such as “What Lucy’s World Looks Like,” “Lucy Selfie,” “What Lucy’s World Smells Like,” “What The Girls Named Lucy/ What Lucy Named The Girls,” “Lucy tilts the mirror of the CoverGirl compact between her legs.” The cover image of a slit filled with swarming wasps implies a vagina, a peek inside Lucy’s world of girlhood, viscera, aliveness.

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Micro-Review: Fred Moten’s The Little Edges

The Little Edges by Fred Moten (Wesleyan University Press, 2014)

Reviewed by Emily Corwin

Fred Moten once sat in my car. The roads were bad, first snowfall of the year in small town Ohio. I was nervous, feeling all this responsibility: young poet driving famed poet to campus for a workshop. Yet despite the snow, and my neurotic driving, Moten was at ease, hands folded in his lap across his winter coat. There was a warmth in his voice, an openness that made you glad to be in his presence. Read more…

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Micro-Review: Tasha Cotter’s SOME CHURCHES

Some Churches by Tasha Cotter (Gold Wake Press 2013)

Reviewed by Emily Corwin


“Hold that bird your heart.” I have been thinking about this line lately, with the cold autumn temperatures, with my coat buttoned all the way up. Hold that bird your heart. An instruction, an incantation. It is about tending to your rawest parts. It is about desire—for people, for air, for safety, for something un-nameable. Read more…