Bibliohio: Recommended reading from the heart-shaped state

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

“Temporary Champions,” Darren C. Demaree

Why you’ll love it:

In 1982, boxers Kim Duk-Koo and (Ohio-born) Ray Mancini fought for 14 rounds; tragically, the injuries Kim sustained during this match claimed his life. This is the distressing story at the core of “Temporary Champions,” Darren Demaree’s new book of poems. Agile and empathetic, Demaree’s poems expose and explore every angle of this event. These poems know truth is complicated and slippery; together in the same ring are honor and horror, corner and coroner, man and monster.

See for yourself:

“I will never call you killer. I saw the victory// in your sorrow, how in every interview/ you had no idea what to say. That Ohio// is my Ohio. It has never left you.”

—from “Wolf Guided Him”

“Failure to Thrive,” Suzannah Showler

Why you’ll love it:

The images in Suzannah Showler’s debut collection of poems are slightly icky, but very familiar and not entirely unpleasant: moldy ceilings, drooled-on pillows, pet moths, slippery rodents and email chain letters. “Failure to Thrive” has a fondness for the strange detritus we produce (both material and digital) because, dang it, it’s ours. Wry, clever and a little melancholy, Showler’s poems force us to study “the roster of details worried into a day/ like grit in unlaundered wool.”

See for yourself:

“The fires’s low and mangy,// like a nest where light hatches, and the air out here/ smells like a dentist’s office in its busy time: overheating rubber,/ periodic elements, a fresh mess of fragile membrane/ cut into, pulled back — every hard, impacted thing removed.”

—from “Day for Evasion”