Here at BOA, we're celebrating Pride Month by highlighting the work of our LGBTQ+ authors! For the final part in our series, BOA intern Sarah Skibickyj reviews Margaret Ray's GOOD GRIEF, THE GROUND, and Keetje Kuipers' ALL ITS CHARMS! Check out what Sarah had to say about them below!
Margaret Ray gives it direct with her honesty and dark humor in Good Grief, the Ground. Ray offers an interesting approach in exploring topics such as grief and anxiety and queer longing as a girl such as using “Wanda" in a couple poems which is described as “an invention. At worst: an aspirational alter-ego, at best: a 21st century patron saint of curiosity and wonder”. Ray also uses the meteorological symbol for thunderstorms to break up her poems throughout the entirety of the book. Ray shows what it is like to be human, she doesn’t steer clear of the raw emotions of growing up through her writing as she touches on growing up queer and the difficult parts that go along with it.
Poem Excerpt: Grief is a Sudden Room
Grief is a sudden room.
After flailing around, breaking
all the furniture inside it for a time,
you can think you’ve shut
the ancient door behind you as you left,
but the latch hasn’t worked for eons,
it will just spring open anytime
you open a window, elsewhere
in your mind. No matter. The room
will arrange itself in your absence
and wait for your return.
You’ve never seen such patience.
Keetje Kuipers really dives into her raw emotions in her series of poems in All Its Charms as she explores her choice to be a single mother as well as her marriage to the woman she loves over a decade later. Kuipers’ collection does a good job showing the family aspect of a single woman who is a part of the LGBTQ+ community and the hardships she faces as well as the successes and love. It’s her own personal experience but one that many women can relate to through reading Kuipers' poetry.
Poem Excerpt: Georgia
Last week you told me I need to decide
if I’m in love with you. Now, red clover
spattered in the ditches, I watch everything
give itself up to the light as I cross
the state line on my way to answer you:
dogwood trees and effusive azaleas,
even the dead armadillos, belly
up to the sun. I still don’t know what holds
me back. The sign on the car I pass says
Gone for gas, but that’s a lie. Kudzu wound
through the tires, leaves pressed to the glass
where anyone can see the dust on the dash.
Sarah Skibickyj is a recent SUNY Oswego college graduate with a
degree in journalism who is very passionate about writing and reading and looking forward to working in the book publishing industry.