Thanks to Meredith Sue Willis for her review of #specialcharacters in Books for Readers #169 (April 17). She writes:
I thought this was going to be all poetry, but it is much more experimental than that, ending with a wonderful piece about a woman who is close to the end of the line with aging, mental illness, and poverty. It's called "MIRROR, or a Flash in the Pan." It is very close to fiction, although it certainly has passages of poetry. It's an excellent piece, crystal clear and shockingly honest. The collection also includes what is rightfully maybe Shmailo's most famous (popular?) poem, available to read on line, "The Other Woman's Cunt". This one is angry, raunchy, vicious and -- by the way! -- hilarious.
There is a fair amount of typographical experimentation and deep connections to literature and mythology, but at its heart, as a whole, the book has the remarkable quality of being extremely moving even when you aren't sure what's going on.
That's a serious statement, too, because you have the feeling that things that look like games on the surface – for example, a short poem called " t(his), (he)re" – are in fact the only way Shmailo could have written what she wanted to write. This is highly recommended as both interesting experimental work and for its powerful emotional connections.
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