Posts Tagged ‘Patricia Smith’

New Review up at Poets’ Quarterly

The new issue of Poets’ Quarterly is up, featuring my article/review titled “Two Tales of One Tragedy: Patricia Smith’s Blood Dazzler, Katie Cappello’s Perpetual Care, and the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina.”  I’ve never done a dual book review before — and I found that writing about two very different books (in spite of the fact that both books of poetry focused on one event) very challenging.


This weekend I finished Patricia Smith’s Blood Dazzler, a full-length collection of poetry that depicts and explores the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.  Readers of this blog will already know that I named Incident at the Edge of Bayonet Woods by Paula Bohince as my favorite poetry book published in 2008.  However, I must say that if I had read Blood Dazzler last year (the book was also published in 2008), Smith’s collection would have given Bayonet Woods  a run for its money (to use the horrible cliche).  Using different styles of poetry, Blood Dazzler follows the Katrina catastrophe through many different voices.   A reader of this collection will find poems written from different points of view, ranging from voices of the survivors of the disaster, to Hurricane Betsy (a hurricane that hit the Gulf Coast in 1965), to President Bush (don’t worry, the poet is not especially kind to him) to Hurricane Katrina herself.  (herself — in spite of the name, can I give a hurricane gender?)  The result is a stunning collection.

A few months ago, I read Katie Cappello’s first book of poems titled Perpetual Care.  I really enjoyed this collection as well — especially the last section of the book that is dedicated to a series of laments for the city of New Orleans after Katrina.

I have been working on a more formal review of Perpetual Care — but I was sidetracked by Blood Dazzler.  Not because I think one book is better than the other, but because I am amazed about how different two books of poetry can be — even when the two books have focused on the same event.  Can anyone tell me — are there more full length collections of poetry about Hurricane Katrina?  Let me know!!!