Book Review of Better With Friends  Better With Friends

Ann Barnhill in Winston-Salem Journal July 11, 2010

“Winston-Salem poet Helen Losse’s new collection, Better With Friends, is made up of seven sections that range in subject matter from family losses to race relations to descriptions of the natural world infused with Spirit to musings on prayer.”

Janelle Adsit  The Pedestal Magazine February 2010

“As indicated by the collection’s title, Losse is a relational poet. Many poems are dedicated to others, and many are elegies. She writes with an explicit communicative purpose: She intends that her audience will be better off from having read. And she’s likely to reach a wide audience; her writing is accessible while remaining complex. She offers compellingly rendered scenes in a straightforward style. A turn from recent trends in literature, this book trusts language to reveal the world. But Losse understands that language must be renewed. She finds the previously unheard way of telling it while making use of an everyday lexicon. “

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Karla Linn Merrifield  The Centrifugal Eye February 2010, pp. 72-77.

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Collin Kelley Modern Confessional December 30, 2009

“Writing in an accessible, narrative style, Losse groups the collection into short sections, with two long poems — “There Is A Presence” and “Where the Reverie is Apt to Lead” — taking up the last quarter of the book. It’s the latter poem that contains the line “This is a poem about living,” which neatly sums up all the work to be found in this thoughtful collection.”

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EarthPal, “Better With Friends”

“Helen writes beautifully and has an ability to interpret the world in a lyrical and compassionate way and although her Christian spirituality often comes through in through her writing, it’s not preachy or self-righteous.  It’s gentle, tender and unintrusive.”

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Scott Whitaker in The Broadkill Review November 2009, page 19

In the end, Better with Friends, reminds the reader that of the simple truth of friendship, how a touch, or a word given to the dead or poor or unwanted can make things better, if only for a little while.”

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Scott Owens in Fall 2009 issue of Main Street Rag

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Sherry Chandler says,

“Helen Losse begins her ten-page ten-part poem “”Where the Reverie is Apt to Lead” with the words:

This isn’t about prayer as such
but concerns the yellow flowers and the barking dog.

The poem is, of course, very much about prayer, and so is Helen’s entire collection Better with Friends (Rank Stranger Press, 2009) in which the poem appears.”

Read the entire review. (August 11, 2009)

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Kathryn Stripling Byer on My Laureate’s Lasso (scroll down) April 29, 2009

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Kind comments about Better With Friends

Bruce Lader, author of Landscapes of Longing, says,

“I read your book, Better with Friends, and admire the way you balance strong emotion and perceptive details. The lyrical language has many memorable, moving phrases: ‘..And we who live in her dwindling shadow,’ ‘My sadness has stolen the beauty from the spectrum,’ ‘drink the depth of the city’s drivel,’ ‘The ducks act like vulgar cousins,–only a few instances. The segments “Where the Reverie is Apt to Lead” and “There is a Presence” flow like a Whitmanesque river.”

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Nancy Posey on Discriminating Reader

“Helen Losse, the other featured poet, is the poetry editor for online mag, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. I had heard her read before and regularly follow her on Facebook. Her new book, Better with Friends, is prayerful without being religious (or didactic or sanctimonius.) She went on to read poems from her next book.”

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