Last Friday, Peach featured two poems from the editor in chief of Voicemail Poems, Amy Saul-Zerby. Both pieces are calm and compact, presenting emotions that float somewhere outside of simple descriptions like “longing” or “sadness.” In “if today we were perfect,” Saul-Zerby writes, “i want to tell you: / we could / have climbed mountains / in your chest i found / diamonds / and kept digging / i’m sorry i couldn’t / tell you why.”
Yesterday on Peach, the featured poem was “Delirium” by local writer J. B. Stone. Stone’s words hit the reader with a torrent of purpose-driven musicality. This is a poem that absolutely wants you to feel something: “the crimson red / gushes from the lobes, / but I’m still smiling / still laughing / I may be deaf now, / but not dead yet.”
Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Ballantine Books / 2014 / graphic novel
Seconds is a self-contained graphic novel by Bryan Lee O’Malley, the Canadian-born writer and artist best known for the “Scott Pilgrim” series. Seconds has a similar tone to “Scott Pilgrim” in the way it presents convincingly relatable characters and mundane everyday problems set in a world in which events can casually slip into a dreamlike state at a moment’s notice. In Seconds, the reader follows Katie, a young restaurateur hoping to open her second establishment as she stumbles into a shadow reality of old world witchcraft. By ingesting mushrooms growing beneath the pantry of her restaurant, Katie finds she’s able to erase a single mistake from her past. This almost immediately gets out of hand, of course, and the consequences are catastrophic. In the latter half of the book, as things grow ever more cataclysmic, the narrative does stumble a bit and feel a little predictable. It’s in the individual characters and the specific and natural ways in which O’Malley allows them to inhabit this world that Seconds finds its heart.
However, the artwork of Seconds is where the book truly shines. O’Malley’s style has a friendly, cartoonish quality that helps the characters stay grounded and relatable, while also allowing them to transition convincingly into incredibly surreal territory later on. Similarly, the color palate O’Malley employs has a warm and inviting effect, much of the book has a comforting hushed glow to it, like a booth in your favorite restaurant lit by the light of a crackling fireplace.
“Peach Picks” is a column of literary news and recommendations written by the editors of Peach Mag, an online literary magazine based in Buffalo. For inquiries, contact the editors at firstname.lastname@example.org.