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Book Review: "A Tide Should Be Able to Rise Despite Its Moon"

by Jessica Bell

Jessica Bell’s new poetry collection is a captivating love letter from a mother to her young son. The dynamic free verse captures that special bond with sincerity absence sentimentality; raw beauty unmarred by polish; and humor seamlessly entwined with reality.

Brilliantly devoid of over-explanation, the poems are eminently accessible. Each creates an energy-filled space that allows you to feel what you’re feeling and ascribe the meaning you find.

The images conjure a sense of watching a movie. Consider a boy skipping a black stone on a quiet sea. The same boy, now forlorn, sits on a couch beside his mother as she scrolls through his baby photos until he feels better. And the author as a child confused by what “youth in Asia” has to do with her parents’ argument about a person’s right to die, a sentiment that made me laugh out loud.

Many of the poems also contain a musical lilt, which is not surprising, given the author’s background as a current musician and past singer in Keep Shelly in Athens. I particularly loved seeing this rebel-turned-mother watch how her son treats her 15-year-old acoustic guitar:

“My 3-year-old

son ties

my dressing gown’s

belt around

the acoustic neck,

drags it around the house

along the floor

pretending to have caught

a sea beast.”



For updates about Martha’s forthcoming memoir, Bliss Road (June 2023), historical novel, The Falcon, the Wolf and the Hummingbird (October 2023), or other books, news and giveaways, subscribe to

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