Posted in: book review, California, California poet, counterculture, feminist poet, poem, poetry

Things you can learn about your poems from a review

As a writer and occasional book reviewer, I’m so impressed by the close reading given my book Gods of Water and Air by poet Ann Wehrman. Her review in The Pedestal Magazine got deeply inside my subjects and even gave me perspective on the way I write. Wehrman took the trouble to put me into a context. Using info from my website’s bio — a reviewer who does research!– she contextualized me as a California-raised poet, using my own statement about my characteristic decade:

“’she majored in English, French Literature, and counterculture at the University of California at Berkeley during the interesting 1960s.’ Counterculture might or might not have been a formal degree program at Berkeley in the 1960s, but one understands a bit of Dacus’s free-spirited nature from that statement.”

And she went on to summarize my work this way — and here’s the part where I saw my writing from a larger perspective:

“In Gods of Water and Air, the humor and irreverence of a 1960’s rebel mix with feminist, expressionist, and lyrical motifs as the author openly explores her feelings, relationships, and spiritual musings. Inheriting her late painter father’s artistic eye, Dacus paints with words. Her writing can be indirect and slant, but is always transparent, clear, and immediate, eschewing the often impenetrable poetic structures one frequently finds elsewhere.

It’s a flattering review, and what most flatters me is how well she read the book and wrote about the experience. I’m impressed by Wehrman’s insight and discernment. To have my writing read so closely, with understanding and appreciation, makes me feel — well, like writing something new today. Thanks very much, Ann Wehrman and publisher John Amen at The Pedestal Magazine!

Visit for more information and writing by Rachel Dacus.