Sunday, November 29, 2015



(United Artists Books, New York, 2015)

There’s much to admire and much that charms in Lisa Rogal’s poetry collection, MORNING RITUAL.  I’d sum up it up as the charisma of obsession. The details in the poems may be quotidian, but the poet’s careening mind goes with said details and what they spark and, admirably, doesn’t stop for a long time. The result are long or longish poems which warrant their lengths.

For me, the star of the book is “I woke up this morning” which presents 24 paragraphs that all begin with (or slight variations of):

I woke up this morning and ran the faucet. It was the fourth day without hot water …

The different scenarios range over confronting the landlord to taking a jog and hoping the water would be fixed to be hot by the time the jog ends to leaving a nice hopeful note to fantasizing about Hawai'i.  Here’s the first page of the poem (click on images to enlarge):

The poem unfolds in 13 pages and, to the poet’s credit, the reader’s interest doesn’t flag. I remained interested because it was interesting to watch obsession unfold — I admired the energy as well as its quirky ways.  That, at one point in my reading, the persona reminded me of someone whose telephone calls I avoided because it was hard to end those phone calls (the person would just go on and on riffing as the sun changed positions until you’re still sitting there trapped as night swallowed you … never mind, you get the idea) only attests to the power of these poems.  Here’s another example—a two-page excerpt from “I’m talking”:

It all gets so, you have to laugh when you get to Page 95 of a 112-page book and Page 95’s poem, “To finally stop talking,” begins

To finally stop talking is a surprising

Yes indeed.  But then the poem continues:

…the dog must be

So annoyed with us
we never stop…

and the poem then continues on until it ends with

Let me tell you something
about today

It’s definitely

MORNING RITUAL by Lisa Rogal — it happened and I’m glad I read it and I think you will be too.  Recommended.


Eileen Tabios does not let her books be reviewed by Galatea Resurrects because she's its editor (the exception would be books that focus on other poets as well).  She is pleased, though, to point you elsewhere to recent reviews of her work.  I FORGOT LIGHT BURNS received a review by Zvi A. Sesling at Boston Area Small Press & Poetry Scene; by Amazon Hall of Fame reviewer Grady Harp over HERE; and by Allen Bramhall in Tributary.  Her experimental biography AGAINST MISANTHROPY: A LIFE IN POETRY received a review by Tom Hibbard in The Halo-Halo Review, Allen Bramhall in Mandala Web and Chris Mansel in The Daily Art Source. SUN STIGMATA also received a review by Edric Mesmer at Yellow Field.  Recent releases are the e-chap DUENDE IN THE ALLEYS as well as INVENT(ST)ORY which is her second “Selected Poems" project; while her first Selected THE THORN ROSARY was focused on the prose poem form, INVEN(ST)ORY focuses on the list or catalog poem form.  A key poem in INVENT(ST)ORY was reviewed by John Bloomberg-Rissman in The Halo-Halo Review, and the book itself was reviewed by Chris Mansel in The Daily Art Source and Allen Bramhall in Mandala Web.  More information at 

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