Super Blood Wolf Moon by Gary V. Powell

Debut Poetry Chapbook
Winner of Kallisto Gaia Press’s
Contemporary Poetry Chapbook Prize!

$12.95—Order from Kallisto Gaia Press at
https://www.kallistogaiapress.org/product/super-blood-wolf-moon/

In the skillfully arranged, tightly woven chapbook, Super Blood Wolf Moon, Gary V. Powell proves there’s no subject he won’t broach, no issue he won’t tackle, as he takes on everything from gun control (“Our Thoughts and Prayers”), to opioid addiction (“Opioid Crisis”), to social injustice (“White”). Through attention to detail magnified by a sharp wit, Powell creates tangible, personal vignettes that firmly establish his egalitarian stand on these topics of contention.

In the vein of poets like Dylan Thomas, Maya Angelou, and T.S. Eliot, Powell often uses repetition to drive home his point, whether his technique entails repeating a single line at intervals throughout a poem or following a specific repetitive type, such as his “T-Boned Sestina.” Usually not a fan of this form, I found Powell’s tongue-in-cheek sestina a laugh-out-loud, thoroughly entertaining yet hard-hitting piece. But nowhere does Powell more successfully pull off the repetitive style than in his final poem, “How to Make a Garden.” In this, my favorite, the title stands alone followed by five-line stanzas that begin straightforward, taking the subject literally in the first two lines, then expand with metaphor the last three lines—thus engaging all our senses even from the start:

           This is how you make a garden.
           Clear a space, a space in the sun,
           of trees and bushes, vines and thorn,
           as you might carve your torpid heart from
           your chest and lift it into the light, so that the
           hard-earned scars may heal, and it beats wild again.

The poem’s end lines shift format while driving home the full extent of our journey:

            This is how you make a garden.
            Carve your torpid heart from your chest and raise it to the light.
            Cultivate your mind to converse with mountains and trees.
            Fill your mouth with exotic fare from foreign lands.
            Lie with your lover, caressing breasts and belly.
            Guide a lost child across the star-soaked sky.
            Hold close the best memories of your life.
            Dispose of the blackened corpses.

Powell’s characters—including himself—lead troubled lives peppered with passion and intimacy. Again and again while reading this chapbook, I’m reminded of the refrain from David Wilcox’s song, “For Real”:

            There’s too much darkness in an endless night
            To be afraid of the way I feel

            I’ll be kind to my loved ones
            Not forever but for real.

Like Wilcox, Powell knows how to show the “whole in the middle of the prettiest life” and yet clearly understands how “real love” balances even our darkest moments.

—Anne M. Kaylor, Author, Unwilling to Laugh Alone, and Executive Editor/Publisher, moonShine review

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