Archive - August 3, 2016

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“Toothpaste” by E.T. Stafne (Senegal)
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Review — LIPS OPEN AND DIVINE by Matthew Hamilton (Armenia, Philippines)

“Toothpaste” by E.T. Stafne (Senegal)

  E.T. Stafne (Senegal 1994–96) • I never knew such goddamn pain in all my life. My fingers searched out the offending patch of skin and found it just above my mouth. In my groggy, half-awake half-asleep state it felt like a fist-sized plug of tobacco shoved between my teeth and upper lip. That explained the bulging I felt, but not the intense pain. Slowly, I rose up from the hot and uncomfortable foam mattress, threw aside the frayed Peace Corps-issued mosquito net, and dragged myself over to the lone mirror in my possession, the one on the inside cover of a Silva compass. Not meant for self-inspection of deformities, its size did not allow for the full effect of horror that I would have realized with a regular-sized mirror. This small one gave me the illusion that it wasn’t all that bad, just a small bump. But as I . . .

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Review — LIPS OPEN AND DIVINE by Matthew Hamilton (Armenia, Philippines)

  Lips Open and Divine (poetry) by Matthew A. Hamilton  (Armenia 2006–08, Philippines 2008–10) Winter Goose Publishing 2016 107 pages $11.99 (paperback), $4.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Ann Neelon (Senegal 1978-79) • As the Roman dramatist Terence famously wrote, “I am a man. Therefore nothing human is foreign to me.”  More than most writers, especially young ones, Matthew A. Hamilton succeeds in giving us an authentic sense of this human amplitude. The range of Lips Open and Divine, his second book of poems, is astonishing. Whether it is in “Thich Quang Duc” witnessing the flames crawling up a self-immolating Buddhist monk’s arms like “a tamed cat” or in “Chickamauga” “accepting/the dry-bone shouts/of a lost cause,” Hamilton is on the scene. His originality lies in his ability to go for the jugular in terms of shock value while remaining, essentially, within the realm of prayer. Hamilton is a veteran as well as . . .

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