Nothing But a Whisper: There's a (Gap) Riot Here!

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

It wasn’t too long ago that my peers and I were in a Self-Publishing class learning about chapbooks and zines, and where they originated from. Stripping them down to their core, chapbooks and zines are all about expression; they are an art form and a means to break out of the mundane and truly let creativity take control. It’s all about being innovative, creative, and pushing past whatever boundaries we come across. It’s about being authentically you – and that’s precisely why I chose to look towards Gap Riot Press for my next review!

Specifically, I want to take a glance at Gap Riot’s season five wave of chapbooks. While I haven’t received my order yet, the press does provide sample work on their website, and so I thought that would be a great place to start. Season five saw four books published: of faulthers by Franco Cortese; A Performance of my Ecstasy by Zoey Morris; Entropy by Ashley Hynd; and Manifest by Terese Mason Pierre.

Franco Cortese – of faulthers: “måkëššéncē”

This has to be one of my favourite pieces of poetry I’ve read. I felt myself drawn into the wordplay and the rhythm instantly and genuinely had so much fun reading it. As my mouth moved to the rhythm of the poem, I felt myself swaying and nodding my head – as if I was in a trance. The assembly of words is so well-crafted and the aural response from reading the poem out loud is pleasant and captivating. Cortese has done a tremendous job with this poem, and I cannot wait until I have my hands on the full book!

Zoey Morris – A Performance of my Ecstasy: “KENTUCKY WILDLIFE as THE REASON I CAN’T HAVE SEX ANYMORE”

Zoey Morris creates a gripping narrative with her poetry and is able to incorporate such beautiful imagery that couples well with the more graphic nature of the poem. The order of the names that are mentioned create a parallel to the order of words in the poem as well – where the beginning can be interpreted as slightly more vague and more related to nature, the end zeroes in on the grittiness of the poem. This contrast works well and delivers Morris’ voice beautifully and truthfully.

Ashley Hisynd – Entropy: “as seen by his hands in his pockets”

Oh, the uniqueness of this poem is so apparent in the composition of it! It was a playful read and gave you a sense of duality and parallelism when reading through. There are so many ways to interpret the poem and I had fun going back and forth to create different deliveries: would I read her thoughts first and then his; or would I go back and forth in a mixture of both viewpoints? I think the interpretation is definitely up to the reader and that is truly the charm of reading this piece.

Terese Mason Pierre – Manifest: “Violet”

Of the four sample poems that I read from Season Five launch; “Violet” had the most use of imagery. My first run through of the poem, I kept the image of a violet in my head, understanding that the poem was about nature and possibly the cycle of rebirth. Then I read it again and the pieces began falling into place. There is no violet, only a faint memory of it – an echo of what it was in a world once verdant. Though the opening line of the poem creates the theme of duality in the poem, it isn’t until the third stanza that it becomes apparent that the flower – and by extension, the “she” – is not organic. Just as the realization sinks in that the flower is a memory and is being created artificially, the poem goes form a more passive and tranquil stanza into a more physical and aural stanza filled with action. There is something so innocent yet sad in how the flower is created and planted into the earth, and Pierre is successfully able to translate these emotions to the reader.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I am greatly impressed with these sample poems and can only imagine the quality of the rest of the books. Each collection of poetry is so uniquely different yet encompass a similar feel of grittiness and raw emotion. I enjoyed each sample poem and look forward to more from Gap Riot Press!

You can purchase Season Five of Gap Riot Press here!

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