Tuesday, February 13, 2018



ANNE WITH AN E & ME by Wesley St. Jo
(Paloma Press, San Mateo, 2018)

There are ten poems in Wesley St. Jo’s ANNE WITH AN E & ME but they are the core of a slim book barely containing its outsize personality. That personality—persona—brims with charisma and enchants the reader through not just the poems’ texts but with evocative illustrations and a lovely book design.

The opening poem immediately draws in the reader—here’s the beginning of the first poem, "Clarity," that alerts the reader to a forthcoming pleasurable read in the rest of the book:

I wish to begin
the year
with clarity—
my favorite word
next to

Inspired by the novel Anneof Green Gables, each poem seemingly responds to or takes off from a quote by “Anne with an E.” The illustrations also show off the poet’s talents as a visual artist. Here’s the third poem, introduced and illustrated (click on all images to enlarge):

As regards book design, I mean to include the switching to different fonts for emphasis). The last line of the first poem’s ending

certainly would not be as resonant were it presented in the same font as the rest of the poem.

The collection's persona has a joyful spirit who’s quick to observe and respond with wit. I certainly do appreciate the smart mischief in the seventh poem:

But I don’t recommend the book because one of its poems is dedicated to me (or because it expanded my vocabulary, which is a bonus—I now occasionally call my dogs “Jimber Jaw!”). I recommend ANNE WITH AN E & ME for making the reader smile… and smile about the book long after it’s been read. In the world of these poems, optimism never flags and that is quite a tonic for these days.


Eileen Tabios is the editor of Galatea Resurrects (GR)She loves books and has released over 50 collections of poetry, fiction, essays, and experimental biographies from publishers in nine countries and cyberspace. Her 2018 poetry collections include HIRAETH: Tercets From the Last Archipelago and MURDER DEATH RESURRECTION: A Poetry Generator. She is the inventor of the poetry form “hay(na)ku” which will be the focus of a 15-year anniversary celebration at the San Francisco Public Library in 2018. More information is available at http://eileenrtabios.comShe is pleased to direct you elsewhere to recent reviews of her work: MURDER DEATH RESURRECTION (MDR) was reviewed by Joey Madia for Literary Aficionado and New Mystics ReviewsMDR was reviewed by Grady Harp for Goodreads and, as an Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer, for AmazonMDR received an engagement by Leny M. Strobel; and MAKING NATIONAL POETRY MONTH GREAT AGAIN! was reviewed by Neal Leadbeater for The FilAm Magazine. She does not allow her publications to be reviewed in GR as she is its editor, except for when the review involves other authors, as is the case of a review of MARAWI (co-authored with Albert E. Alejo and with translations by Aileen Cassinetto) by Neal Leadbeater in this GR February issue.