REVIEW: Release The Oleander Review!

The Oleander Review, after being out of print for a few years, has returned with force! At a release party and reading on Friday, Literati was packed full with standing room only; the best turnout I’ve seen at a reading there. There were even light refreshments of coffee, tea, bread, cheese, and snack meat. Sarah Sala and Amanda Nichols, the original co-founders of Oleander, were there as well. Nichols with her baby boy (who was so cute) and Sala opened the reading with some of her pieces. They were fun, at times touching, and steeped in depth. She read a poem about surfing that included the line “trampoline of black matter”, which just was so beautiful to me. Others included a catalog of excuses for not going to class and two science based poems, that somehow managed to reference Miley Cyrus. It was a great beginning and the rest didn’t disappoint.

The overall event was a huge success and I encourage everyone to stop by Literati and buy a copy for just $5. There was so much talent, I can’t hope to do all of them justice so here are some pieces that were read Friday which stood out to me:

“If You Can’t Stand the Kitchen” by Moe Koltun was dynamic and fast paced poem. It sounded great spoken and was an almost epic style narrative in verse. My favorite line was “more carcass than being” which in the mists of the poem was so graphic and perfect it made me squirm.

Grace Daley Bydalek got up to read her piece “Peaches” talking about how it was only five lines. Don’t preface your poem with criticism; because it may be only five lines but it was simple, elegant, and beautiful and that’s all it needed. One of my favorites.

“The Summer of Emily and Ice Cream” by Miranda Hency put me back in time to previous summers. I was there. And the ending and was probably my favorite part: “…and my travelling box of/ “to read” books/ shrunk in size. I transferred them to my bookshelf, casting black shadows/ that spelled Emily”. This is such a nice idea and I can relate; books I read with others or while with others always remind me of them.

Jordyn Fishman has two pieces of art in the journal and talked about them at the reading. They are called “4 Girls” and “Yo Can I Bum a Cig”. Even without hearing her speak about them, you’ll hear what she has to say just by looking.

Megan Koopman read her prose piece “Schadenfreude”. I really enjoyed this work and she had a very nice reading voice. She made some really beautiful connections linking construction and her character’s grandfather, equating power tools with new life. Comparing Detroit to an empire in some really vivid language.

There were so many more talented readers and the issue is full of many more. It’s sure to be a great read, make sure and get your copy!

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Natalie Steers

Natalie Steers is pursuing a double major in English and Creative Writing as well as a Minor in Business. She's always had a passion for the arts and her favorite pastimes generally include practicing yoga, reading realistic fiction and fantasy novels, listening to NPR, drinking hot chocolate, and constantly reteaching herself how to knit.

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