Congratulations to Matt Tompkins on his new book Souvenirs and Other Stories, published in 2016 by Conium Review. Matt Tompkins is one of our favorite contributors in recent issues. His work is both strange and familiar, light-heartened and darkly funny. Lena Bertone (author of Letters to the Devil) calls his stories “loops of life and metaphor, making the surreal become real.” Read Matt’s story “Please Please Please Please Please Keep Smiling” in issue 14 of Monday Night. He is also the author of Studies in Hybrid Morphology.
Raegen Pietrucha’s An Animal I Can’t Name is a beautiful collection of articulate, courageous verse that shares some dark and devastating moments of the human experience, in particular of the family.
“There is no / other story. Best to never / be, but here you are, / and the swells are hissing. / This water was never hesitating, just building / and building – then, unzipping, snickering / at you, the prey it ached to drown in its dark.”
These poems enact the striving and struggling to name and communicate life’s trials: “I couldn’t speak what I feared most / believed speaking made real / summoned things into being again.” Lucky for her readers, Raegen’s poems persevere to revisit and respond to family and home. In the end, this work reflects not a full healing but a grappling through: “reinforcing a fortress with these pitchy songs.” It is a rare achievement to create poetry that is merciless without being gratuitous, that is honest about the damage done but without sentimentality. We’re pleased to congratulate Raegen on her chapbook and her award and look forward to seeing more from her. Order a copy of An Animal I Can’t Name through the Two of Cups Press website. (Other poems of Raegen’s were published in issue 14 of Monday Night.)