I’m so grateful of the reading and work that went into this thoughtful review of my chapbook Almost Famous by Karen Craigo, Missouri Poet Laureate on her outstanding blog Better View of the Moon as part of her Poem366 feature where she provides reviews of chapbooks and poetry books.
Karen Craigo has published two full-length collections of her works via Sundress Publications, Passing Through Humansville (2018) and No More Milk (2016). She is also the author of three chapbooks, the mini-collections Escaped Housewife Tries Hard to Blend In (Hermeneutic Chaos Press, 2017), Stone For an Eye (Kent State University Press, 2014), and Someone Could Build Something Here (Winged City Press, 2013). Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including Atticus Review, Poetry, Indiana Review, Prairie Schooner, Puerto del Sol, and The MacGuffin.
Craigo’s reading and insight captured so much of what I was after in this collection of poems. I’m really so honored she spent the time reading and writing this review. Here’s an excerpt:
“I mentioned that the first poem was one of my two favorites, but my very favorite — the place where Hopkinson comes into her full-throated own — is “Mixed Tape.” This poem is composed partly of lines from other poems in the collection and partly with new material, and the snippets are numbered and discrete, à la Wallace Stevens. Each section stands alone as its own perfect gem. I offer two favorites, just to give Hopkinson a chance to really strut her stuff here:
IV. I remember the fertile mud smell of the lake in Missouri where I learned to swim. If sense of smell worked underwater, it would smell of catfish and silt and long afternoons of treading water in the sun with the bluegills.
V. Should I ever grow a tail, my sacrum will connect it to my spine and wiggle when I walk or wag. For now, it holds my pelvis in place, gives each side a wall to lean on, like beatniks against a lamppost.
I am enchanted, body and soul, by those beatniks. It’s a perfect, and perfectly surprising, image from a rare talent.”
I love her interpretation of the book in the first paragraph, which so aptly describes my approach to the collection, “In Almost Famous, the fourth chapbook by the consummate literary citizen, Trish Hopkinson, we find powerful and painful coming-of-age stories crafted as poems. The book starts with a vivid depiction of her own birth, written from her perspective, and it carries forward into the childhood and teen years, and every poem packs a potent gut-punch. While there were parts of my own life that diverged widely from the childhood Hopkinson describes, there was enough here that was familiar and shared.”