Thursday, May 28, 2009


By: Karla Huston
32 Pages / 23 Poems
Price: $8
Centennial Press
P.O. Box 170322
Milwaukee, WI 53217
ISBN: 0-9797994-1-4

Review By: Charles P. Ries
Word Count: 426

Women have a distinct view of the erotic and love’s secrets. In reading Karla Huston’s new book of poetry, An Inventory of Lost Things, I enter into the ebb and flow of feminine romantic imagination. While not all of twenty-three poems of this collection focus on the heart’s yearning, a good number do and comprise the central theme of this eloquently written book of poetry.

Huston approaches her topic from a number of angles. In [the] final stanza of her poem[,] “The One on The Left[,]” she says,

But you can’t take your mind off the boy,
barely twenty, going on the rest of his life –
going off for an afternoon at the shore. God knows
what they’ll do on the blanket
when it’s floated behind the vine-covered fence.

And again these lines taken from the closing of her poem, “Your Marie”:

You should know her hair was chestnut,
a flag of copper stars glittering
against the curve of her neck
and the strand that kissed her cheek
I knew you’d kissed when she left you
for the last time while her hips rolled
when she walked away
and her breast swayed in dreams
even now the ones you prayed into.

Her book of poetry would easily fall into the category of great chic lit. Huston poems are thoughtfully narrative and carefully designed. There is no spare air in these poems. Each is complete from beginning to end.

I am reminded, as I read this collection, of the seminal book on women’s sexual fantasies, My Secret Garden by Nancy Friday. Our two genders reflect so differently on the erotic and on romance. Huston is masterful at understanding the sensual wonder world of the woman. As in this section from her poem “Rewind” demonstrates,

If she could, she’d take the first
bus out of happyland, find her own
little place and read sweaty novels
for the rest of her life. He’s weary
of the honey-I’m-homes
and the honey-dos and the honeyed

And again from this section of her poem, “The Plastic Surgeon’s Wife”:

When they make love, she fears
how he’d like to improve her –
a little lift there, a little tighter there,
fill her breasts with vanilla,
admire the suction in her soul –
his reservoir, never full.

This is a wonderful exploration of the feminine mind, by a writer uniquely suited to explore this undulating landscape of passion, yearning, and lost things.

Charles P. Ries lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His narrative poems, short stories, interviews and poetry reviews have appeared in over two hundred print and electronic publications. He has received four Pushcart Prize nominations for his writing. He is the author of THE FATHERS WE FIND, a novel based on memory, and five books of poetry. Most recently he was awarded the Wisconsin Regional Writers Association “Jade Ring” Award for humorous poetry. He is the poetry editor for Word Riot. He is on the board of the Woodland Pattern Bookstore and a member of the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission. But most of all he is a founding member of the Lake Shore Surf Club, the oldest fresh water surfing club on the Great Lakes. You may find additional samples of his work here.