Author Kate Gale’s seventh book, loneliest girl (University of New Mexico Press, 2022),
takes the reader on a vulnerable journey of raw emotion and hardship. Men and masculinity are challenged in this very poignant story told from the female point of view. Adapting the timeless
myth of Medusa, Gale spins an original heart-wrenching tale of the modern trials of womanhood.
Outlining sections as “Before,” “During” and “After” creates a seamless flow through a timeline of abuse. While battling sexism within the walls of one’s own home and the reality of abuse, Gale leads her
readers through a tumult of expression that speaks to the injustice experienced by so many
women in the world today.
Commenting on social issues without beating around the bush is a specialty of Gale’s:
“Carry this story forward: Rape is the fault of the victim. // Carry this story forward: The female
turns the key, opens the door.”
While her story is one of tragedy and grief, Gale leads her readers to an ending of hope, courage and power that gives the story to the reader to finish in their own way. “Have you ever wished to be transformed? // This is that story.”
Gale’s ability to empower women to create their own lives and claim their own destinies is truly remarkable. With lines and stanzas full of metaphor and intense diction articulating the real and raw, this book will take you on a journey of anger, apathy, empathy, and closure.
Jackson Keller is a recent graduate of Utah Tech University’s creative writing program and plans to pursue and MFA for creative writing in the near future. He is excited to be getting married and can’t wait to start life as a married man. He’d like to thank all his English professors at Utah Tech for their support and encouragement that has helped get him to where he is today!
“Inside my head, the war is / everywhere.”
Ocean Vuong was born in Saigon, Vietnam before immigrating with his family to Connecticut. He
graduated from NYU with an MFA in Poetry. At the young age of thirty-five, Vuong breaks conventions.
Time Is a Mother (Penguin Books, 2023) explores Vuong’s contemplative path. Imagine an existence where you have lived hundreds of lives yet seek solitude in exploration. Vuong guides the reader through his past life and current perspective in this four part book.
Throughout Vuong’s poetry, each moment is conveyed using vivid imagery. In Rise & Shine, he describes “four yolks into a day / -white bowl, spoon / the shells. Scallions hiss.” Vuong gives readers a glimpse into what is really going on in the Amazon History of a Former Nail Salon Worker purchasing “Chemo-Glam cotton scarf, flower garden print.” And, in Old Glory, Vuong uses simple school-boy slang, “Bro, for real though, I’m dead.”
As an openly gay man, Vuong adds a subtle element of romance to his poetry: “but needing beauty / to be more than hurt gentle / enough to want, I / reached for him,” and, “so I let him kiss me / for nothing oh well.”
As a younger person in our evolving world, Vuong observes the behavior of those too blinded to know what it is like to be an outsider their entire life. While contemplating his past, Vuong allows the ever-raging war of humanity and the war in his own head to be freely expressed. Those who seek a safe place will find a gentle comfort in his words. As Vuong would simply put it, “I was made to die but I’m here to stay.”
Tamsen Malone is currently a junior attending Utah Tech University majoring in English with an emphasis in creative writing. She’s from Northern California and enjoys exploring the natures of Utah.
Kwame Alexander’s Light for the World to See: A Thousand Words on Race and Hope (Mariner Books, 2020) is a collection of rap-style poems that challenges the pre-determined “normal” of what poetry should look like. The poems in this collection are arranged across several pages. The design aspect is unique and colorful, furthering the meaning behind Alexander’s words.
Alexander’s book is a short but powerful collection of easy-to-read poems. Alexander makes a nod to the poem “We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks, furthering the impact of his message, lifting his voice to, “say something... about racism, about Black triumph, about solidarity.”
Debuting during the Black Lives Matter movement, this book adds a voice to the many others speaking on this important issue. Alexander questions whether his words are “strong enough to carry this weight” of racial injustice. It is safe to say that Alexander’s poetry is definitely strong enough to carry its weight.
Alexander is a poetry and children fiction writer with twenty-eight published books. Light for the World to See: A Thousand Words on Race and Hope was published in the latter half of Alexander’s career. Find out more about Kwame Alexander on his website https://kwamealexander.com.
Jaylee currently attends Utah Tech University. She is pursuing a bachelor's in Graphic Design with a minor in Creative Writing. She has a poem published in the Southern Quill 2021 edition and an artwork piece published in Route 7 Review Issue 10. She has three younger sisters who she loves. She loves to run and ran collegiately for two years. Jaylee loves playing ultimate frisbee with her friends and is always down to go out and take pictures with her camera; she looks forward to improving her skills in all of her hobbies.