presa press

Masterplan by Eric Greinke and Alison Stone

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By Lynette G. Esposito
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The collaborative poetic voices of Eric Greinke and Alison Stone compliment each other in their co-authored 72 page tome, Masterplan published by Presa Press of Rockford, Michigan.
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The poems do not credit either Greinke or Stone but both throughout the four sections entitled Emergency, Little Novels, Q & A and Tarps. The poems successfully vary in theme, form, and subject matter.
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In the first section entitled Emergency, the eighteen poems cover emotive themes and situations that inspire unease and fear.  In the poem Bad Actor on page 22, the narrator puts the reader in a public place watching a live theater presentation. The twelve-line one-stanza poem visualizes a benign situation which characterizes the audience as innocent or totally oblivious depending on perception
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                                           The gunman surprised us
                                           when he leapt on the stage.
                                           His eye were cold as he took aim
                                           at the man in the front
                                           row loudly unwrapping
                                           caramels, instead of at the actor
                                           pretending to menace
                                           the tied-up mayor and his wife.
                                           The other actors froze
                                           And the audience thought it
                                           part of the show, even after
                                           the real blood began to flow.
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The contemporary and subtle commentary on seemingly both real and staged theater inter mix and confuse, not the reader, but an audience that was watching pretend evil  When the audience is confronted with real life evil, it has trouble recognizing and processing what is happening.  The poets have a light touch as those on the stage realize what is playing out in front of them while those who came to watch are now the ones being watched in a skillful switch.
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In the section, Little Novels, the poems are each numbered (from 1 to 31) and are presented as poetic vignettes each telling an almost full story.  Poem 29 entitled The Beaten on page 40 is a good example.
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                                          The sad marching band ran from the field, their
                                          plumed hats drooping, out-of-tune instruments
                                          held to their chests.  They’d practiced for weeks
                                         but their routine had been derailed by
                                         serial love affairs in the rhythm section.
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The story line is almost complete but suggestive enough for the reader to imagine more
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In Q & A, the third section, the first line of each poem begins with a question.  Of the six poems in this section, I favor two equally: Animals as well as Monkey Time.. IAnimals the question is: What don’t dogs tell us?  The answer is:  That we don’t deserve them.  In Monkey Time, the question is: What time is it?  The answer in the second line is:  Time for regret to give way to desire.  This technique of question and answer throughout the poems in this section is consistent and interesting with many twists on old adages sprinkled with touches of surprise irony.
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In the final section, Tarps, The End? begins with the Double Rainbow was the first sign, and ends with: Atheists learned to pray, just in case.  My favorite line in the poem is The dogs meowed.  If the world were to end, wouldn’t there be signs and interpretations?  This poem presents contemporary images and uses a question mark in the title symbolically negating the suggested signs as a maybe.
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The tome is full of both short and long poems of various forms that give clear images of modern life and relatable outcomes to how people react to and interpret situations.  I liked the seamless mixing of two voices in a clearly successful collaborative endeavor.
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You can find the book here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0996502688/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

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Lynette G. Esposito has been an Adjunct Professor at Rowan University,  Burlington County and Camden County Colleges. She has taught creative writing and conducted workshops in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Mrs. Esposito holds a BA in English from the University of Illinois and an MA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Rutgers University.  Her articles have appeared in the national publication, Teaching for Success; regionally in South Jersey Magazine, SJ Magazine. Delaware Valley Magazine, and her essays have appeared in Reader’s Digest and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Her poetry has appeared in US1, SRN Review, The Fox Chase Review and other literary magazines. She has critiqued poetry for local and regional writer’s conferences and served as a panelist and speaker at local and national writer’s conferences.  She lives with her husband, Attilio, in Mount Laurel, NJ.

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White Storm by Gary Metras

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By Lynette G. Esposito
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White Storm by Gary Metras, published by Presa Press, the reader is introduced to traditional form and images that walk, skip and run across the pages in common and uncommon images delighting in clarity and directness but holding a surprise insight that appears close to the end of each poem.
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For example, the first poem entitled White Storm, the reader is surprised that although night is wheezing and the trees are pounding, it is a love poem  and a lament on lost youth and hope.
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                             Old man night is unsettled
                             In his white haired sleep.
                             From my bed I hear him
                             wheezing in the trees, pounding
                             his fists on the brittle mountain.
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The poem ends with
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.                            …Where are the angels?
                            about to sing our praises and the praises
                            of light and grass and field solid under foot,
                            so we could rise from the bed:
                            and step into the simple day?
The word images demonstrate the precise language of winter and age and lost youth and it works well .
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Robert Peters of The Connecticut Poetry Review says “Metras writes moving mediations on our lives and on his own.  His language is direct and unpretentious.   His music has a full and faultless sound…in every poem there is a surprising  insight,,,”  I found this so true.  On page 73,
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The Melted Bell suggests so much.
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                                Born in fire, the forged bell
                                Learned its pure song that rang
                                Sundays through slatted steeple
                                Down hill and across valley.
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The poem has four stanzas with four lines each and each stanza details the power of the bell until it is melted and the sound can only be carried in the heart.  But still, although it can no longer ring, it is heard.
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Metras celebrates women men love in his poem, Believing in Eyes ,on page 74 where he references the Beatles’ Lucy in the sky with diamonds to what men see in the eyes of  their beloved women. He mentions diamonds he sees in the eyes from wife to his daughter to his granddaughter in a way one can feel his joy .in knowing these girls.  He ends the poem with:
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                                …So let us praise all the women
                                 who ever showed us that joy, that hope,
                                 which men by ourselves can’t know.
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This poem clearly shows the complexity of the deep relationships between men an women.
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I don’t have a favorite poem in this book.  I liked them all.  This is a good read.
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You can find the book here: White Storm
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Lynette G. Esposito has been an Adjunct Professor at Rowan University,  Burlington County and Camden County Colleges. She has taught creative writing and conducted workshops in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Mrs. Esposito holds a BA in English from the University of Illinois and an MA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Rutgers University.  Her articles have appeared in the national publication, Teaching for Success; regionally in South Jersey Magazine, SJ Magazine. Delaware Valley Magazine, and her essays have appeared in Reader’s Digest and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Her poetry has appeared in US1, SRN Review, The Fox Chase Review and other literary magazines. She has critiqued poetry for local and regional writer’s conferences and served as a panelist and speaker at local and national writer’s conferences.  She lives with her husband, Attilio, in Mount Laurel, NJ.
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Poets In Review

poets in review

Poets In Review

By Eric Greinke

Presa Press 2016

124 Pages

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Review by g emil reutter

A book review is one person’s opinion. Many reviews have no impact on sales of books, however some do. The value in a review, positive or negative, is the fact the reviewer took the time not only to read the book but to write about it..

Eric Greinke has collected his book reviews into Poets In Review. While some may believe Greinke’s ego and desire to be included in the literary cannon motivated the publication of this book, I believe his motivation was also to publish a history of post-modern poetry as witnessed through his eyes..

The reviews written between 1972 and 2015 bring into question relevance. Can dated reviews of old books be valued in today’s world? I believe they are relevant. To know history is to know lineage and Greinke has them all in this collection. He is tough on Bukowski and Creeley, kind to Giovanni, Hall and Lifshin. There is a progression in poetic thought and insight on Greinke’s part, a maturing over four decades. Some of the reviews are long and rambling others tense and short. There are books reviewed published by major houses and by small presses..

Poets In Review is a snap shot of the history of American poetry during an era of change and challenges. Get a copy, see from where you have come..

You can get the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Poets-Review-Eric-Greinke/dp/0996502602

g emil reutter is a writer of poems and stories. He can be found at:https://gereutter.wordpress.com/about/