Some noteworthy reviews.

Early praise for debut poetry collection, South of Here

[She is a fierce and lyrical record-keeper—a poet who performs a meticulous forensic accounting, and then registers in dark ink what is missing from the official ledgers. Here, the re-collection of memory is at once tender and ferocious. A vigilant observer, Melvin waits in the shadows of lost and stolen time, to name what she sees there: from her own mother, born to a housekeeper in 1939 on her employer’s “eggshell-white kitchen floor”; to Marty Joe, a first love who phones to “promise [he’d] be back in jail soon, back to one call a week.”] Read More. 

Early review of Sáma’s chapbook, After “Sleeping to Dream”/After After

[I love a book that toys with the idea of how we traditionally read and Sáma’s chapbook takes the idea of what she calls the “reverse ekphrastics” to lyrically stunning new heights. In After After, Sáma fixates on Argus Panoptes, the hundred eyed giant of Greek mythology and in After “Sleeping to Dream,” the classical takes a modern turn with contemplations on art that traverses natural, bodily, and domestic planes. The level of play operates not only linguistically but also in the handling and reading of the book—a joy in each turn.] Read More.

Review of Sáma’s chapbook, Le Animal & Other Creatures

[This collection of language will enter your self-making how it will, will strike and pass what it will; for my part, its final word thrummed a wave backward through itself and forward into me: “break.” How am I broken, by myself and by others, and what does that breaking mean for how I break others, the world, and how might that outward breaking come back to me, what happens when I think before I somehow break, what happens when I break without noticing or without reason or without cause, how do I get to a point of breaking something or someone intentionally, how and what am I meant to break, how broken can a person become, where can one go, what can one do with brokenness, and how much of all this is beyond intervention, how much is chaos? I’m less willing to chalk it up to chaos, though there is much; *le animal* & other creatures tugs us, by the hand, through a reminder that there is a human mode of adaptation or evolution or effort that swims through and in brokenness, a mode of being that recognizes, embraces, risks being more human.] Read More.

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Review of Sáma’s chapbook, Le Animal & Other Creatures

[Sáma’s writing, we are told in an introductory interview, is concerned with risk, and is an attempt to startle the self out of complacency. There is formal experimentation here, but also warmth and humour. The collection begins with extracts from a series called ‘The Acupuncture Sessions’, a fragmentary, dreamy, imagistic collection of impressions collected while under the pin. The poem captures the allusive and associative nature of memory, and runs sharply defined images together in intriguing juxtapositions. Sáma begins with the lore and logic of acupuncture, before dissolving into a sequence that seems to evoke memories of relationships lost or broken:] Read More.

Review of Sáma’s chapbook, Le Animal & Other Creatures

[Just as Sama’s poems take surprising lefts and rights to form a winding map of a given poem’s voice, the entire collection juts out and dips in, in such a way that a pattern is formed. Each deviation from this pattern heightens the experience of the poem while adding additional depth to the whole. This is all to say that Sama’s work is functioning on multiple levels, stimuli absorbed through multiple senses, and textual conversations taking place independent of the text– and you need to read up to keep up.] Read More.

Review of Sáma’s latest offering, Swing at your own risk

[Later in her interview with Phillips Bell, Sáma offers her understanding of poetry’s work that must be undertaken, which also describes the restorative historical imperative that drives both the first person and the documentary work of Swing At Your Own Risk: “As with any work that we do in the U.S.,” she says, “we have to gain awareness; we just have to be willing to go there, to completely investigate the self, to completely acknowledge the history of the self & all the self is tied to, to hash it out, deal with it, and to simply step the fuck up. This is not a statement limited to Caucasian Americans.” We are all called upon to do better, then as, in this historic uprising and protest for Black life, now.] Read More.

Review of Sáma’s chapbook, Le Animal & Other Creatures in Puerto Del Sol

Review of Sáma’s latest offering, Swing at your own risk

[There have been poets who have worked with structures, using basic computer skills, for example, to help their poems do the work their poems intend to do, such as Douglas Kearney and a former student, Morgan Christie. And poets such as Maria Damon who have embedded poems into textiles and Anne Carson who has reimagined what a book of poems can do. They have each shown me that the worlds I imagine are possible, as long as I have the skills to pull off the work.” There is risk here, presented in incredible ways, from elements of poetic structure to the very nature of her content, moving in multiple directions articulating elements of gender, sexuality, religion, culture, racism and misogygy throughout American history, all of which led to the moment from which she lives and writes; all of which makes for an unyielding, powerful and incredibly relevant collection of poems, as Sáma explores a history far too relevant to the contemporary, and a contemporary that demands not only attention, but action.] Read More.

Review of Sáma’s latest offering, Swing at your own risk

[The poems of Metta Sáma’s Swing at Your Own Risk insist that the power of language is not a mere abstraction, that a poem’s subjects concentrate through political and lyrical relation. Its first poem “When the body’s a graveyard” begins with a question that dilates and contracts over two pages “what if the body is not / sacred ground,” through various subjects (fetus, child, man, child, father, history, mother), “does this stilled child still belong / to me? to / the ground? itself?”, and undergirds the collection. The born or unborn child, literal or figurative, is biologically like the mother, and the mother like child; it’s now known, irrefutably, that pregnancy changes maternal DNA.] Read More.

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