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The poems comprising Babette by Sara Deniz Akant (Rescue Press), are haunted, paradoxical, and beyond time. Who is Babette exactly? According to an interview with the Heavy Feather Review, Akant said that Babette is a "necessary nucleus" of all that is evil about space and time, along with being a "sort of rep for the multiple self." 

Encountering Babette can feel a little jarring at first. But like any new experience, patience yields rewards. In this case, Akant's work feels very ethereal and places she takes the reader at the edges of space and time are unlike anything I've read before.

Maggie Nelson writes, "Let me tell you some things about Babette. It doesn't sound like anything else... It is a deeply weird, expert emissary from a world already fully formed."

Let's look at a section from "gohst,"


the past two years she has been opening the door
and entering the room to make it beautiful.
she had been dusting a perfuming its curtains
so tidying and redecorating was always
changing, getting older, getting better, as they say.


The collection feels ancient. Some of the figures are specters and it relies on very old words with unfamiliar definitions. For our readers who are looking for interesting, unique poetry, I would definitely recommend Babette. I found it challenging at first, but after giving it time, Akant's goals became apparent and I was able to appreciate these unearthly poems.


Ghost County

Ghost County

John McCarthy’s “Ghost County” is a book of poems with a focus on life and death in the Midwest. His poems are about desperate situations and places we know. Verbal fights in pick-up trucks, a high school homecoming, and an alcoholic preacher all populate this memorable book from Midwestern Gothic Press.


The author examines sights that are uncomfortable and does not look away. The poems named “Pickup Truck” deliver quatrain after quatrain of the ebbs and flows of a relationship. Late nights. Fights. Stress about work. Memories from the truck the pair spend so much time together in. As with any summary, one doesn’t get a true sense of the rhythm of the author’s words, which is as important as anything. So here is a taste:


In order to say the word love,
the tongue must pass between
your teeth, and I will say it
with so much force when I bite

my body right out of my body.
I will stand under hot water
until all my skin dries out
but I cannot help any of it.

I will tell everyone, except us,
what to do with their lives,
those final years cracking open
until time is a pair of lungs


To borrow some of the author’s language, “Ghost County” throbs with anger. What these poems reveal is the beauty of those things we might find commonplace now. McCarthy shines a spotlight on the familiar and glossed over. Check out this collection today.

National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month

We're so excited about National Poetry Month, that we are offering 20% off all Curbside Splendor poetry titles, including Artifice Books for the entire month of April. 

That means you can pick up Sara Woods's Wolf Doctors, and write your own poetry thanks to her writing prompts like:

Write a poem on paper made of someone else's hair. Become a nobel-man. Get real good at hopscotch.


A teen romance about a love triangle between Lake Superior and two of Jupiter's moons. Feel free to pick any two moons you like! My favorite are Callisto and and Ganymede.

So get in here and celebrate reading and writing poetry!

Book & Record Pairing

Book & Record Pairing

The BreakBeat Poets and Moh Lhean by WHY?

Yoni Wolf and WHY? have done it again. With the new album, Moh Lhean, Yoni brings back his classic world play combined with the band’s progressive instrumentals, circa their Alopecia era. In “This Ole King,” Wolf lays out lines like, “When I expire/Down dirtward all my hunger/In fire burn my anger/And collapse my stature,” in the vein of WHY? classics, such as “The Hallows” or “Strawberries.”

The evident passion put into the production of Moh Lhean is sure to come through in their live performance. WHY? is not to be missed at their Thalia Hall performance March 17th. Come grab tickets at the store’s box office and get 20% off everything, including the new album.

The BreakBeat Poets is the first poetry anthology by and for the Hip-Hop generation. Edited by Kevin Coval, Quraysh Ali Lansana, and Nate Marshall, this anthology redefines what it means to create poetry in the age of Hip-Hop, and how the style has symbiotically influences modern poetry. Chance the Rapper says it’s, “A cool & diversified version of a mix tape.” Includes pieces from Douglas Kearney, Ocean Vuong, francine j. harris, and many more.

Hip-Hop’s not dead. These artists are here to prove it’s thriving and making its mark in our culture.

MOH LHEAN is our 3/3 from Joyful Noise Records.

my weapon of choice


I chose my voice.

When writing wasn’t enuf

to move


mic check.    mate.





“from mic check, 1 -2.” by jessica Care moore