Sign up for our FREE Artellagram!
golden nuggets of words, art & spirit
Your Email:

Your First Name (optional):


Don't worry -- your e-mail address is totally secure.
We promise to use it only to send you ARTELLAGRAM.

You can search the Artella Web site or the Shoppes of Artella RIGHT HERE!


Community Bookstore

Click on a topic to see reviews of books by Artella Community members


Submit a book review for the Community Bookstore!
Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.
Your name:*
Name of the book:*
Author's name:*
Your review:*
Your Web site, if you'd like it included with your review (optional)


Click here to submit a review!
Reflections - A Collection of Poems & Writings
by Christopher Obert
Suppose that it is the early 1970s and you are a young teen in middle school who hates poetry. Suppose, also, that you are assigned by your English instructor the dreaded task of actually writing several poems. Somehow, you live through that experience, and later you happen to discover a short anthology of poems that spark your interest and that you can actually say are interesting and fun. What if those events conspired to encourage not only an interest in poetry, but also a yearning to write poetry? And several decades later you hoped that by sharing your poems, and discussing of the writing process, you would be able to encourage reluctant readers and inspire hesitant writers to go exploring the world of poetry. Christopher Obert has written a book of 52 short poems on subjects including nature, war, family and faith. The book also includes 18 pages of notes that provide some terminology (ballad, stanza, couplet), but more important, a glimpse into the creative process, which is often fascinating. If your'e looking for cutting-edge subjects or a mastery of poetic form, you won't find that here. Obert is honest with his comments referring to lines with which he is not satisfied, mentioning what he thinks are his best phrases, sharing events that caused a creative spark, or lamenting moments when his concentration was sidetracked. There is quite a variety here: "Planets of War", an elegy written in heroic couplet and penned in 1975; "Please Don't Ever Go", a song/poem written in the 1980s and dedicated to his wife; a combination ode/elegy inspired by an interest in the supernatural called, "And Redcap Waits"; and "Even The Chores of Mother Nature", a ballad written in 1975 with his mother's help (for that distressing school assignment). Two interesting selections in the book are "Miles to Go Before ISleep" and "Poetry is Needed". In both, Obert chooses lines from Chaucer, Shakespeare, Pope, and other famous writers and weaves those lines with his own words to tell a new story. The author also shares his ideas on how he thinks he could improve some of the lines he's written, and invites the reader to use some of his shorter works (he calls them "snip-its") as a springboard for his or her own writings. After reading this enjoyable collection one has a sense of the joys, frustrations, liberations, and limitations all writers face.

Review by Maribeth Jones, Pear Tree Publishing, 20 South Porter St., Bradford, MA 01836-7646 (978)372-5825.
The Leaf and the Cloud
by Mary Oliver
Being English, I have come late to the wonder of American poetry, but Mary Oliver has quickly become a special feature of my own poetic landscape. Last year for my 40th birthday, my father commissioned a painting by a local artist - and running through the centre of my exquisitely precious painting is this line from The Leaf and the Cloud: "Andhow shall we speak of love except in the splurge of roses,and the long body of the river shining in its silk and froth"... pure beauty!

Review by Claire Sauer.
No More Masks! An Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Women Poets
by Florence Howe, ec
102 women poets with more than three times that of their poems. The haunting beauty of carefully chosen narrative lyric poems will enhance one's ability to hear the words that evoke images which will last, and to recognize the rush and the quiet that create memory. The title comes from a line of Muriel Rukeyser's poetry talking about coming to wholeness, joining our fragmented selves by stripping bare. The poems all work within that theme and are models of stories which help us move inward.
Review by Tammy Vitale

Stealing the Language: The Emergence of Women's Poetry in America
by Alicia Suskin Ostriker
One of my favorite books on women's poetry - a great overview and simply great writing by a writer who is also a poet. She says, "The belief that true poetry is genderless - which is a disguised form of believing that true poetry is masculine - means that we have not learned to see women poets generically, to recognize the tradition they belong to, or to discuss either the limitations or the strengths of that tradition. It also means that individual women writers are read askew." As a poet I have a vested interest in understanding our culture's view of my work. Go count males to females in all the "100 greatestÂ…" anthologies. It will be an eye opener. Then read this book.
Review by Tammy Vitale

Cries of the Spirit: A celebration of Women's Spirituality
by Marilyn Sewell, ed
Along with No More Masks, a great compilation of women's poetry. Between the two books you will surely discover at least one, if not scores, of women poets with whom you fall in love. The best of the best. And a good way to start your own writing/artistic day. Artists inspire other artists, no matter the art.
Review by Tammy Vitale

Otherwise New & Selected Poems
by Jane Kenyon
You shouldn't judge a book by its cover, so they say; however, the cover of Jane Kenyon's "Otherwise New & Selected Poems" with its walled garden, poignant play of light and shadow and open garden gate, draws the reader in. Once inside, the reader is treated to the poet's skillful and meaningful use of language and allowed to share the grace of her life. It has been said that "God is in the details", and the cup surely runneth over in this collection. One example of this is her linking middle age to a pear spoiling from the inside out. Jane died of leukemia in 1995 and her husband, the poet Donald Hall, has written an Afterward; however, her own poem, "The Sick Wife", ends the collection.
Review by Frances Norton Honich

Back to Index