Claire Hamner Matturro Interviews Michael David Blanchard

CHM:  Mike, do you perceive a difference between being a poet and being a person who writes poetry? If so, into which camp would you put yourself—poet or person who writes poetry? MDB:  A person who writes poetry. That phrase better connotes someone for whom the creation of literary art is but one of many […]

“Naming the Silence: New & Selected Poems,” by Michael David Blanchard

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro When by his own admission Michael David Blanchard was a sensitive, introspective teenager, he began writing poetry as a student at Baton Rouge High in Louisiana. He continued composing in college and twice won the University (of Virginia) Union Fine Arts Award for Poetry. In his professional days after earning […]

“Lisbeth,” by Marina Brown

Reviewed by Claire Matturro As with her stunning debut novel, Land Without Mirrors, Marina Brown has, with her newest book, Lisbeth, plumbed the emotional truths of diverse and conflicting characters as they struggle through chaos, peril, and change. Lisbeth is a big, bold, intense, and intensely complex Southern Gothic, with lyrical writing, lushly described settings, […]

August Read of the Month: “Hopscotch,” by Steve Cushman

Reviewed by Claire Matturro Someone draws a hopscotch board on a sidewalk by a hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina. The hospital CEO with a Grinch persona orders it cleared off and a recently released felon, John Deaver, glad for his job as a janitor, erases it. But the chalk hopscotch board reappears on the sidewalk—again […]

“House of Memory,” by Carolyn Haines

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Something profoundly sinister is on the prowl in central Alabama. It’s the time of the Jazz Age, a spirited respite between national disasters, but what lurks and stalks young women will not be tamed by exuberant dancing or bathtub gin. Whether the evil is spectral or human—or both—is just one […]

“The Myth of Water,” by Jeanie Thompson

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Award-winning writer Jeanie Thompson is a brave, bold poet. In The Myth of Water (University of Alabama Press 2016), she presents a remarkable and evocative series of thirty-four poems to tell a deeply personal story of the iconic Helen Keller. And if the concept of historical persona poems wasn’t daring […]

April Read of the Month: “Oh, Florida: How America’s Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country,” by Craig Pittman

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro With Oh, Florida, a book that defies easy categorization, award-winning journalist Craig Pittman has penned a definite winner. Oh, Florida is nonfiction, though its legends and lore add a devilish charm and a wicked-fast pace more commonly associated with Florida thrillers and their motifs of death, crime and gore; their […]

“Burials,” by Mary Anna Evans

Reviewed by Claire Hamner Matturro Burials, the tenth Dr. Faye Longchamp-Mantooth archaeological mystery by master-writer Mary Anna Evans, begins with a bang. Literally. Faye and her client are hiding under a pick-up in Oklahoma as somebody shoots at them. Though the precise motive and identity of the shooter will not be revealed until the end, […]