Karen L. Newman is a chemist and a poet. In her poetry, she specializes in the writing of horror poetry. ChemICKal Reactions brings these two roles together, presenting a whole alphabet of chemistry gone wrong.
The poems are fun to read through. I found myself smiling at the gruesomeness of some of the possibilities presented, and cringing at others. To get both reactions within a book that has a fairly narrow range to the premises of each poem is quite a feat. When I started reading, I first thought, "Isn't this going to get monotonous, dealing with one chemical after another?" So I was pleasantly surprised to find that the book didn't generate that feel at all. It's a good indicator of the extent of Newman's imagination that she can make the device work over and over in the collection without it getting into something of a rut. I am impressed.
As a sort of a side note, I read the volume in its Kindle edition. Sometimes poetry doesn't look very nice on the Kindle, but ChemICKal Reactions is formatted to handle the device pretty well. It is one of the better jobs I've seen done with poetry books formatted for the device. I'm pleased to see it, and hope it means good things are coming in poetry for the ebook reader.
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