Book Review ~ Foreign Soil and Other Stories by Maxine Beneba Clarke

As a mixed-race individual living in the United States who encounters everything from the inevitable “Where are you from?” to being screamed at, my motivations for reading this collection were a tad selfish. I picked up this book because I thought it would be exclusively about immigration and race issues, and wondered if I’d see any aspect of my experiences reflected in these stories. While race and immigration are prominent in this collection, Maxine Beneba Clarke doesn’t limit herself to these issues. What we have is a poetic and deeply empathetic short story collection about the various forms of marginalization. These stories explore the theme of foreign soil in fresh and unexpected ways that expanded my awareness of how people experience otherness.

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For All The Hairy Ladies ~ A Poetry Review of Peluda

Would you rather be covered head-to-toe in fur or be smooth in all the right places but have a tail? Framed as a question posed during a Galentine’s Day Party, this is one of the many humorous ways poet Melissa Lozada-Oliva explores the intersections of body hair, race, and American culture. In other words, she writes about what it’s like to be a hairy, non-white girl in the United States. Funny and personal, this collection offers a bold and empowering voice for any woman who understands the struggle with body image. 

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