Arts & Culture

Book Reviews: August 2014

The Girl Who Came Back & The White Rail

The Girl Who Came Back

Meg Eden (Red Bird Chapbooks)

The Enchanted Forest has piqued Baltimoreans’ imaginations for decades. Even after the park closed in the late 1980s, it turned up in John Waters’s Cry-Baby, an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street, two Laura Lippman books, and the Zippy the Pinhead comic. Here, Eden’s series of narrative poems uses the park’s glory days and weed-choked demise to explore the creep of time and how the past colors the present. Eden filters memory through magical realism, which proves to be a perfect match for her muse.

The White Rail

Clarinda Harriss (Half Moon Editions)

Harriss, the celebrated writer (CityLit’s Harriss Poetry Prize was named in her honor) and former Towson University professor, brings to mind Lucinda Williams with these half-dozen short stories. Like the singer-songwriter, Harriss excels at creating memorable characters within settings that accentuate their authenticity. Lovable psychopath Crazy Angel, for instance, makes “Vinyl Recliner” more creepy than comfy by flaunting his badass tendencies in well-heeled company, with lingering effects.