Reviews 2

  1. Bill Yarrow, Editor, Review of The Lunatic Ball, one of five reviews in Blue Fifths Review, #8, October, 2016.
  2. Laura Madeline Wiseman, Review of The Lunatic Ball, by Margo Taft Stever, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Issue 29, Spring, 2015.
  3. Elizabeth Burk, Review of The Lunatic Ball, Valley Voices, V. 15, N. 1, Spring 2015.
  4. Mindy Kroneberg, Review of The Hudson Line, by Margo Taft Stever, Weave Magazine, Issue 11, 2013
  5. Victoria Sullivan, Review of The Hudson Line, Home Planet News, No. 66, 2013.
  6. Ronnie Levine, “The Many Talents of Margo Stever,” Westchester Magazine, October 2012.
  7. Poetry Shelf, “Review of The Hudson LineThe Midwest Book Review, April, 2012.
  8. Susana Case, Review of The Hudson Line, Valley Voices, Vol. 11, No. 2, Fall, 2011.
  9. Philip Miller, “Review of Frozen Spring,” Home Planet News, No. 55, 2006.
  10. Denise Duhamel, from “Poet as Her Own Muse: A Review of Eight First Books,” Painted Bride Quarterly, 2004.
  11. Evelyn Corry Appelbee, “Review of Frozen Spring,” Gin Bender Poetry Review, July 2004.
  12. David Lenson, “Review of Frozen Spring,” Rain Taxi Review of Books, Winter 2002/2003.
  13. Janet Overmyer, “Frozen Spring: Poems by Margo Stever,” Ohioana Quarterly, Summer 2003.
  14. Denise Levertov, “Introduction to Reading the Night Sky,” Riverstone Press, 1996.


Blue Fifth Reviews – (October 2016 / #8)

Any conscientious critic who has ever had to review a new volume of poetry in a limited space knows that the only fair thing to do would be to give a series of quotations without comment but, if he did so, his editors would complain that he was not earning his money.

–W. H. Auden, “Reading”

The editors will select collections of poetry, flash, and short fiction to present to our readers. We will be heeding Auden’s advice, listing, without comment, key passages that we consider representative of the featured works. Our hope is that readers will also be moved, and will seek out the books.

October 2016, All Chapbook Edition

Bill Yarrow, ed.

Trace Particles

by Allison Joseph, Backbone Press, 2014

11 poems, 23 pages

  1. Ignore the woman in the sad shapeless dress,
    wispy hair fine as a widow’s last breath,
    skin saddened by unmentionable griefs
    that purse her lips and twist her uterus.
    You don’t have to seek the black marble of
    her toenails, or the words she hides in this
    black hymnal: Matterhorn, blister,

    (from “Hymnal”)

  2. Disney wanted you drawn as a plump little girl full
    of adolescent cuteness, no more than fourteen,
    blanched and innocent as a foundling.
    Thank goodness his animators talked sense to
    him or their first full-length animated feature
    would have been nothing more than an advert
    for pedophilia, that eager Prince swooning for a girl
    half his age.

    (from “Snow White”)

  3. Black-bordered handkerchief to show my grief,
    black squares of white within the darkened edge,
    dark borders growing lighter in relief.
    Full year of mourning—that’s a widow’s pledge,
    the weeping veil to cover up my face.
    My squares of white will keep their darkened edge

    (from “Widow’s Weeds”)


Pleasure Trout

by Gloria Mindock, Muddy River Books, 2013

33 poems, 43 pages

Gloria Mindock

  1. 1. Young Jose was a man
    of tedious karma.
    A scholar lost.
    Among corridors, among hills,
    he argued with his father:

    (from “To Be Born Jose”)

  2. I need not untie any secrets
    It is your doing
    Christ, magnetic, Christ,
    busy circling
    I will continue plucking water
    with my hands
    wondering if the starchy nuns
    have any hair

    (from “Aaaaah Life—Brick Me!”)

  3. I’m tired of being demanded.
    Don’t you know every day
    is a speck the size
    of Cleveland.

    (from “Winged”)


The Lunatic Ball

by Margo Taft Stever, Kattywompus Press, 2015

21 poems, 26 pages

  1. Furious dancing gives way to screams;
    five men stare, ghoulish, at the wall.
    This is the lunatic ball.
    The best student Yale had ever seen—
    three months after graduation, typhoid—
    brain swelled inside his skull.

    They dosed out Calomel—five ghosts appeared
    in a mercury dream, headaches unbearable.
    This is the lunatic ball.

    (from “The Lunatic Ball”)

  2. Along the wasted avenue
    of roots, curling vines
    undress in half-dark, unfold
    toward the promise of moonlight.

    (from “Dance of the Jackrabbit”)

  3. For a year he trains in Brazil,
    studies the seven bells of the body,
    how the pockets ring and ring,
    how the pockets sing out
    when he touches them.

    (from “Pickpocket”)


Meat Machine

by Susan Swanton, Exact Change Press, 2012

Winner of the 2012 Exact Change Press Chapbook Prize

25 poems, 43 pages

Meat Machine

  1. Petroleum used to be sunlight,
    back when it was alive.
    We were all made of sunlight,
    but I don’t know about now.
    Now, what does a man know of now?
    What could 10,000 tons of pankton know of now?

    (from “Garbage Barge: The Masculinity of Industrialization”)

  2. Butcher’s brain been extraterrestrial for fourteen months.
    He fits in mittens and formaldehyde
    all up and back the Hollywood coast.
    He’s a reindeer baby and he wax papers disease
    and meat-machinebrain disease and ET disease,
    and he slips on slick tiles under his blood feet,
    and he gets his hands dirty, and he farts a little.
    Visits surgeons for his hybrid brain.
    Told he has outerspace disease.
    Cure in meteorites and rocketship toilet,
    refrigerate the internet,
    been told to chemicalize blood and brain
    and make it cut make it chemical
    but he doesn’t have the right blood,
    he don’t live on the right planet.
    There’s not enough Hollywood to go around
    and he just need new meat in his skull,
    more greys in blood.

    (from “Bloodfoot”)

    3. I know this place,
    I mutter as I play piano and
    Curly Howard is my boyfriend.
    I climbed three ladders
    and was alone the whole time.
    When they wake me I’ll scream
    and scream and roll around on the floor.
    Everyone here wears the same sweaters.
    I came back from WWII hopped up on goofballs,
    barbs, bluebirds, blues, dolls, downers, tooties.
    I am so elastic.
    I handle those pills in my elastase,
    and that’s in my pancreas you know.
    It’s juice that digests elastin and that’s like elastic.
    yeah? that’s what I am. My pancreas digests me.
    I am easily digestible, a collision of limits.
    In my dream a bee stung me,
    but in truth no bee stung me.

    (from “Bee Stings”)


Stone Bride Madrigals

by Nicolette Wong, Corrupt Press, 2013

11 poems, 17 pages

Nicolette Wong

  1. These drapes wrap us like contortions
    a branching white on the wall:
    mass inlets narrowing, fleeting
    pentacle hunger

    (from “Sky Well (II)” )

  2. On the sauté border: a bridge,
    cars branded with last night’s lava
    from unfinished permutations. That wants
    to skew my ammunition, center of dome.

    (from “Celebration”)

  3. I have no memory of gold
    carvings for a dance
    but under a corallite dusk
    our poverty

    (I am charade)

    the shredded poise
    of your voice hardening
    in a vignette
    of congruence.

    (from “Stone Bride Madrigals II”)

✥ ✥ ✥

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