Unlike the last book of poetry I reviewed, Christine Heppermann’s Ask Me How I Got Here, Jana Prikryl’s The After Party is not particularly narrative. The last third or so of the book, titled “Thirty Thousand Islands,” has some narrative elements, but for the most part the book is built more around form and language and personal history than plot. While that gives Prikryl a considerable amount of freedom to experiment, it also makes the collection a bit more hit-or-miss on an individual level, prone to wild shifts in subject from moment to moment. But Prikryl is an immensely talented writer, and while I never warmed to every poem in the collection, her wit, imagery, and style unquestionably won me over.
The Songbird In My Heart by Mark Steven Rhoads is written in two parts. The first is The Magnificence of Being, A Simple Message of Grace, a journey of self-discovery. The second part consists of Acts of Contemplation, Freedom for a Glad Heart which are a series of exercises designed to bring the reader similar results via their own efforts.
Mark summarizes his book himself, “You were born perfect and present in your original mind. You acquired an egoic personality leading to a life subject to false reality, pain and suffering. Allow your original mind to be ever present, coexistent with, and observant of your egoic mind. This is the purpose of your life, to live in the pure consciousness of your original mind. There is nothing else that you need to