Soft Or, by Blake Wallin
The plan for Soft Or wasn't really a plan. The thrust of the project came from the RNC convention, friendships breaking, and family ties being pulled to their tautest capacities. But I think that's what Soft Or is about: true-to-life experiences when you're out at sea and need help. Oh look! A lifevest, a Soft Oar.
“Soft Or made me long for something that I can’t put a finger on, maybe touch. There is something about Blake Wallin’s writing that is always relatable. It’s as if he has studied human emotion and thought to the point that he can tell you exactly how you are feeling, even if you weren’t aware you were feeling it. I would honestly recommend reading this book again and again and again in order to digest it all. It’s brilliant.”
-Erin Taylor, author of OOOO
"With Soft Or, Wallin positions himself as a frantic tinkerer of words and ideas, an experimenter turning his own experiments inward, onto himself, his body, the chemicals in his brain. At turns both politically activated and personally wrought, these poems wield black humor and restless anxiety against a host of modern specters: family, culpability, drugs, philosophy, disaffected inertia. And yet, these poems do work and reach fresh conclusions for both speaker and reader. They remind us: 'Fix something along its own lines,/ and you have solved its broken life/ and turned a null set into a blossom."