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Review of Martina Reiz Newberry's most recent book,
Submitted by: MartinaReiszNewberry
On reading Martina Reisz Newberry's book, 100 Select Poems Plus One, I've been asking myself what makes great poetry so compelling. Is it stature? Diction? Allusion? Theme? Or is it something like romance? There is an intimacy about these hundred poems that gives the reader a sense of voyeuristic participation. That intimacy is key to their magic. I feel in some of them as if I were watching a beautiful woman undress slowly, layer after layer, the skin revealed in slivers of shadow and light, there is an ecstasy of expectation, here, where words become images, disguises, and reflections.
With this book, you sit down to a dinner expecting the usual: appetizers, soup, main, salad, and dessert, but find instead a feast. Newberry's book is the ultimate soul food. "Which one was I?/Which one were you?" she asks and the reader is down the well of memories, promising not to tell. "Amen" she says and gets up, unredeemed, to make dinner. And what a dinner she makes! Each morsel satisfies, touches the emotional palate in its own way, so that when you swallow a line like "dying ruins everything" you know you are tasting the salty marrow of a truth revealed. When she sets before you a savory that tells your spirit some beauty's are so powerful they can make us "selfish and sad" you understand you are ingesting art.
Again and again you will find yourself caught in her meditation: that there is nothing more quiet than `an empty pillow,' that `dreams are only... - mirrors thinking they are prophecies or fairy tales,' and understand that `we will know dimming streetlights and trains slowing to a complete stop..."
There are mesmerizing essences here, intuitions, and distillations that will clarify your world. If true poetry is `magic' then this work is sorcery of the highest order. `Pry any of us open," says Newberry, "and you will find something bright and unspeakable but essential." You will see yourself in every poem, fill up with the full gamut of emotions, and want to return to this table again and again. I recommend the whole menu, and my compliments to the Chef.
Michael Wilds, Phd, Founder Oxford Academy, Santa Barbara, CA
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Martina Newberry lives in Palm Springs, CA with her husband, Brian Newberry—a vidographer, and their cat, Gato.
Newberry was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in Poetry by poet Andrew Hudgins in 1989. Her most recent books are: 100 Select Poems plus One, and What We Can't Forgive.
She was included in Ascent Aspirations’ first Anthology and has been widely published in literary magazines.Martina's amazon link