In a fine gathering of old talented friends of mine, Revelator Press has just released a small e-chapbook of poetry titled Letters to My Sister, by Angela Vasquez-Giroux.
You shouldn't read it because of its timeliness. You shouldn't read it because it is very often beautiful and wise. You shouldn't read it for its excellent balance of narrative and contemplative verse. And you shouldn't read it because Angela is a Catholic who loves baseball, Tombstone, and Frank O'Hara, even though I liked all those things about her when I met her.
No, you should read it because despite her quarter-century-long love of words like extraordinary, Angela's real gift is for the short familiar words of childhood, to which we always return -- pronouns, prepositions, articles, and simple single-syllable adjectives and nouns. (These examples are plunked from different poems from Letters To My Sister.)
by now you are there.
new white boots for war.
Glued whole when you cried,
its hooves, head
laid out in your palm.
Also -- and this is real inside talk now -- Angela is really good at with her Ps, Bs, and Ds, in a loose consonant rhyme. She uses internal alliteration, slant alliteration, and plain old first-consonant alliteration very well. She's got the goods in the way of craft, is what I'm saying. And it warms this once-poet's heart to see it.