POETRY! Handle With Care: a book of poems and something sort of like art

Chazda Albright

Lulu, 2008

125 pages, Poetry

4 out of 5 stars

Poetry is hard to write. I quit trying 15 years ago. It’s just as hard to review. I always think I’m missing something, that I’m not appreciating the aesthetics or reading it in the right cadence or rhythm. Once I got into Chadza Albright’s POETRY! Handle With Care: a book of poems and something sort of like art  I realized that this would not be a problem. While I’m not such a fan of artistic prose I did enjoy Albright’s witty and whimsical observations of the world around her. The sarcastic “advice” was filled with funny little nuggets like these:

“When you read, don’t

walk. It annoys people.”

and

“Do not hit your doctor.”

This stuff makes me laugh. Exploring themes of love, sexuality, body image and dreams, Albright delivers a very honest and personal – and sometimes very funny – collection of lifelong poetry. From her experiences riding the bus, to her thoughts while waiting to be interviewed, we can imagine Albright with a notepad on her knee, head down, furiously scribbling phrases that just came to her, hoping to get them onto the page before the bus reaches her stop or she’s called in to be interviewed.  They’re personal and they’re real and usually pretty good. Check out “Unpoem (bad poem)”…

“I never want to be

A good poet…

Poets are sullen and

Sulky.”

She goes on to describe the dark, turtlenecked poet stereotype and how she’d rather wear comfortable T-shirts and feel the wind in her hair. Most of these poems contain a strong sense of feminism, and Albright even gives advise to her fellow feminists:

“Do not be bitter

or cynical

or vile.

Do not have contempt.”

Now those are words that any guy can appreciate.

Each poem is separated by images drawn using Microsoft Word, thrown onto the page as spontaneous reactions to the poems they follow. This unique and resourceful type of artwork, this arrangement of arrows and thought clouds feels limited and downright corporate at first. But as the we move through the pages, the pictures get more interesting, more complicated. They resemble people instead of documents, they come from the heart instead of the toolbar. It’s good stuff and you can check it out, and see what else Chazda has to offer, right here.

You can purchase POETRY! Handle with care here.

Visit Chazda’s site.

Reviewed by Mark McGinty, January 2010.

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2 Responses to POETRY! Handle With Care: a book of poems and something sort of like art

  1. Amy says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading your book reviews and it has helped me understand how many really good authors there are out there. There used to be a strengths/opportunities/good for section at the end of each book critique which I found useful. Any particular reason for dropping that quick reference?

  2. mmcginty says:

    One reason – laziness. 🙂

    I can certainly add them back if you feel they added value to the reviews!

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