How To Be A River
Wild Sage Press / 20 September 2013

How to Be a River by Brenda Niskala Published by Wild Sage Press Review by Justin Dittrick ISBN 978-0-9881229-2-5 $15.00 Brenda Niskala’s How to Be a River offers to readers a set of poems as diverse as they are nuanced, as piercing as they are enigmatic. Niskala’s writing is crisp and tight, unburdened by sentimentality, and the poems glimmer with an immediate and luminous arousal of recognition, of the sense of truly “being here.” The poems capture surprising crossways of feeling and consciousness, with subjects that range from the tragic, such as in “Blunt Instrument”, a poem about a young man lost to his loved ones and subject to the criminal justice system, to the provocative “Room Full of Men”, a poem whose character, Anita, will arouse much discussion for her free, unquenchable spirit and her ardent devotion to men. Niskala is a poet with exquisite taste in subject matter and a native ability to capture forms and expressions of human connectedness. The poems in this collection are not only luminous, but they transport the reader with their tracings of the numinous. Niskala writes with an attentive human interest, and her work is rooted in seldom explored realms and rhythms…