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Ramona Reeves' review

Walking Toward Solstice

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Anca Vlasopolos’s 62-poem collection offers the reader a wealth of words and images that find new ways to describe cyclical events—the changing of the seasons, the retreat and return of the sun—and newer ways to illustrate the plight of the poor and the disenfranchised among us. In addition, the collection provides a handful of heart-bruising poems about the author’s relationship to her adopted daughter.


 The beauty of the language is complemented by Olivia V. Ambrogio’s 34 black-and-white photos and spectacular full-color cover illustration.

Praise for Walking Toward Solstice

“Anca Vlasopolos’s poems are a battle cry—bracing, powerful, and luminous. With spare eloquence, she evokes a world that’s turned cruel and unforgiving. Her poetry is as distinct as her fingerprints.” — Patricia Abbott, author of Concrete Angel and Monkey Justice and Other Stories


Walking Toward Solstice captures a restless naturalist’s and poet’s eye that scans the landscape of Southeast Michigan, whether urban, suburban, or its patches of isolated wilderness, for the signs of life and struggle that often are bracing reminders of our own mortality. Vlasopolos is a sensitive perceiver of the earth, and the earth is partially assuaged by her devotion to reading its signs. Hers is a relentless, fierce vision, without sentimentality about her own chances or ours, that evaluates the predation among self-interested wills roaming these landscapes.  Vlasopolos’s compassion is strong for all of her neighbors—clawed, winged, and shod. She makes the most of her forms, particularly her nested parenthetical phrases, which characterize a roving and intrepid intelligence compelled to mark the injustices and routine brutalities that nature, including and especially human nature, inflict. This book of intricately wrought lyrics sharpens the soul and offers fortification for all readers as we each tread toward one solstice or another.” — Caroline Maun, author of The Sleeping and Mosaic of Fire: The Work of Lola Ridge, Evelyn Scott, Charlotte Wilder, and Kay Boyle


To see Ramona Reeves’ review of the collection, originally published in Concho River Review 28, 1 (Spring 2014), scroll down or click here, then download the .pdf file.


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Mongrel Empire Press

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Ramona Reeves’ Review