Author Archives: Christopher Margolin

About Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin spent more than a decade in Education as a high school English teacher, and is now an Instructional Coach for the Longview School District. He is also the founder of The Poetry Question, an online journal which focuses on reviews of small press poetry publications, and runs a regular series called "The Power of Poetry," where notable poets share their personal stories of how poetry has affected their lives. Margolin resides in Vancouver, Washington with his wife, and daughter.

REVIEW: STEVIE EDWARDS – HUMANLY (SMALL DOGGIES PRESS)

10984537_946644925346059_3537223673726097425_o

 

If I string the night between two fence posts,
one side heaven and one side hell,
if I stand in the middle of the field
with a bottle of wine, human
and raging, my friends will still hang
from the line like the earth’s dirty laundry,
my feet just sinking in the mud
that is not a grave, not tonight.

-Humanly

I have brought you here to discuss the rules of dying:
I’ve been stacking cards for a decade.

– “Luck, Luck, Noose”

For years I’ve told my students to avoid writing about situations with which they’ve yet to fully digest. I do not want to read their fumbles through yesterday’s tragedies, but rather their honest emotions once whatever happened has had some time to settle. There’s a power in time away – even if that “away” means that it still occupies a majority of daily thoughts. Too many times, writers do not heed this advice, and their words end up flat, emotional, but not providing enough to place the audience inside the moment. Stevie Edwards, in her newest collection, Humanly, exemplifies what it means to pause for a moment, breathe, and then address everything that’s been pushing and clawing at the back of her eyes. Continue reading


Review – Vow – Kristina Marie Darling

product_large_355

 

We are made and unmade by those we love: expectant white backdrop against which shots are fired at a distance.

In a world with a divorce rate north of 50%, it feels sort of refreshing – in a darker way – to read about the tragedy of innocence lost after a wedding day. Kristina Marie Darling’s Vow is an honest inner-monologue where our speaker almost immediately feels trapped by her own vows, in a burning house full of locked rooms, with a partner unseen, and a white dress that no longer holds the metaphor it should.

What does a white dress actually resemble? Fallen branches. A dead hummingbird. You watch as it hesitates on the cusp of otherworldly. Continue reading


Review – Cunt. Bomb. – Jessica Helen Lopez

8317.tmp

I’m not a woman, not a mother, never had breasts, or a child growing inside me, but thank you Jessica Helen Lopez for writing this chapbook, and making me want to thank my mother for everything she’s done for me, and apologize for every remotely bad, or disrespectful encounter we might have had.

The simple fact that I am a human, with a heart, who came from a woman, and loves a woman who is a mother of a daughter, allows me to wrap myself  in the words of this book. It helps me understand just a little bit of the world I’ll never really know. It makes me pay more attention to the words that leave my mouth. It makes me pay attention.

Jessica Helen Lopez’s Cunt. Bomb. (Swimming With Elephants Publications) is powerful. There’s an intense clarity in Lopez’s vision throughout this book. A body belongs to the individual, and while we take on that may happen to us, it is our responsibility to be: Continue reading


Review – Freud Blah Blah Blah – Sarah Bartlett

8820.tmp

My body wants to meet your body in a dark alley

and say things in Braille. When I leave notes

on your pillow it’s supposed to be a gimmick. Still,

here we are in love, careening toward death like a flower.

Have you ever written a letter, an email, or a text message, and then waited by the mailbox, clicked refresh over and over again, or stared at your phone, hoping for that response, that reply, or some type of vibration that at least allows you to feel anything, but realizing that maybe you didn’t say enough to warrant the acknowledgement for which you’d pined? If yes, you have something in common with Sarah Bartlett’s newest chapbook, Freud Blah Blah Blah. In this short, but direct, chap from Rye House Press, Bartlett digs deep into our intrinsic sense of wanting someone so badly, and even when they’re within reach, not being able to actually cling onto them, or let them know how we truly feel – in love, but “careening toward death like a flower.” Continue reading


Review – Dead As – Robyn Bateman

dead-as-cover

I am baby-faced –

I am baby-boned –

I am the miracle

of every death

around me.

I do not feel that the deaths of family members, a few familiar co-workers, and an acquaintance or two, truly bring to life the concept of losing someone whom you meet, and then becomes a part of you. Robyn Bateman’s newest chapbook, Dead As, is as close to capturing that feeling as anything I’ve ever read. There’s an overwhelming sense of loss that’s felt in a very straight forward, almost – pardon the phrasing – deadpan, state-of-shock type of way. The idea of hearing about the loss of a loved one, but not quite recognizing what that actually means at first. Continue reading