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Late Night Radio, Martina Reisz Newberry’s most recent collection

I read Late Night Radio a few months ago and ever since, have felt it wander through my mind.

This collection by Martina Reisz Newberry is published by Dog Ear Publishing, November 2010. It also comes in a Kindle edition.


I was entranced by the concept: Late Night Radio. But not just any radio show, but one devoted to the paranormal. Do you remember late nights in a darkened room, alone with the voice of the radio?

“Ageless in the dark,

a young woman is enthralled

by the paranormal

as if it was next to her in bed.”

These lines from Unidentified Flying Objects grab the reader, and if you’re like me, living days of chaos and tribulation, there’s nothing quite like being captured by a riveting tale. I love how Martina, one of my favourite poets, brings me along for the ride while she dives into paranormal radio tales.

From the first poem Out of the Dark, the “Alchemy begins,” as  the poet  “longs for a ghost story of her own”. (Unidentified Flying Objects)

These poems take off from Newberry’s home base, where a mother grabs the wrist while engaging in Talking to the Dead, out to the chemical horror of the oil spill and then straight back to herself in Full Disclosure:

“Sometimes, sitting on the deck out back, I

inhale, exhale, and my nomadic breath

isn’t sure it’s going to come back in.”

Our travels are uncertain, and the reader remains glued to the page, with such lines such as: “on your nightstand, waiting to strike first light on that fearsome blackness, whatever its name.” (Shadow People) or  in Electronic Voice Phenomenon: “It was the kind of sound that might break your teeth if it kept on, might cramp your calves with its raw, wet heat”. 

There’s a thoughtful pause in Indigo Children, those children named with so-called extra power. We feel the poet’s maternal claim on a generation out of sync with conventional social norms –

“These are my children:

Mashed-mouth babies first, then eyes stern as onyx,

mouths turn into chilies burning to tell a truth they’re

really not certain of”

The nomadic breath of Newberry hastens us through streets filled with homeless gray saints to the island dwelling of a rape victim and her thoughts of revenge. In Channeling she states:

“We were born from rivers that rush

through this earth on their way to a covenant”

Who hasn’t felt that – being swept away by rivers with their own intention. Brilliant, no?

Late Night Radio overflows with fine pieces, but this one does it for me:

Ghost Stories

This poetry,

straight out of the anguish of my own mind,

is not for the strong.

I’m just your average Los Angeles lunatic, looking

through the veil of tourists for family.

I used to write for the beautiful and courageous, for

the models and the film stars.

But that

was a long time ago. Now, I write these poems

for the scarred and fragile,

the slapped around, the twisted up, the homely and

the harassed.  I can’t be the poet for the mighty.

Circumstances change.

The stars crackle. The sky takes on light—pale

yellow paint on a porous ceiling.  Each monstrous

event of a life

is more monstrous

than the one before it.  It becomes better for you

to tell yourself

the most terrifying stories rather than have me tell

them to you.

Late Night Radio. Highly recommended – it will serve you well, no matter what your own night offers.Available at Amazon

Or at other locations: Check out Late Night Radio on google books

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