Bibliohio: Recommended Reading from the Heart-Shaped State

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

“The Rub,” Ariana-Sophia Kartsonis (Elixir Press, 2014)

Why you’ll love it:

A large, crowned cricket graces the cover of Ariana-Sophia Kartsonis’ newest poetry collection, and inside, you’ll find a quote from Dickinson, calling the cricket an elegy. I also immediately thought of Jiminy Cricket, and was rewarded with the first poem in the book, “Pinocchio’s Elegy for the Unreal.” Forlorn fairy tale characters, left-behind animals and lovers, shattered glass — “The Rub” is dominated by the lovely and broken. These poems are all heart, all conscience, equally mournful and brimming over with joy.

See for yourself:

“We fell open/ like a jewelry box, everything sparkley/ spilling out and no chimey music, no plastic ballerina/ twirling on a single screw in a tutu made of stiff cheesecloth/ or some sorry excuse for the kind of net that could catch/anything and keep it for long.”

—from “Every Other Day Aubade”

“Visiting Hours,” Amy Butcher (Blue Rider Press, 2015)

Why you’ll love it:

There is agony, trauma and (most importantly) compassion pulsing through Amy Butcher’s memoir. A terrible thing happened in the author’s world: her beloved college friend experienced an inexplicable psychotic break and committed murder. In language that is sensitive, clear and not sensationalist, Butcher explores this friendship, which continues after her friend is incarcerated. “Visiting Hours” wants you to spend time with the tangled concepts of memory, violence, mental illness, family and survival.

See for yourself:

“That night had nothing to do with me, and yet it had become my defining feature, a moment seemingly connected to my everything. It was my invitation, however indirect, to the underbelly of existence: the ugly things I’d never seen because I’d never sought them out, and for so long they’d ignored me, too. Now they’d taken me in, and it scared me — it still scares me — how badly I wanted to know them.”

—from page 134