Wednesday, May 23, 2007



A Slice of Cherry Pie: A poetry chapbook anthology inspired by David Lynch's Twin Peaks series Edited by Ivy Alvarez
(The Private Press, U.K. and Half Empty/Half Full, U.S., 2006)

“Who killed Laura Palmer?” This question, alongside the unforgettable picture of the vanished homecoming queen has elicited a collection of poems that explore the mystery, oddities, and fascination with a cancelled 1990s television show. In A Slice of Cherry Pie, Ivy Alvarez edits a combined work effort that yields just as many unanswerable and eerie rhythms as the show itself.

Unless somewhat familiar with the Twin Peaks culture, readers may find some slices of pie lead to mystified appreciation, as if trying to complete a connect-the-dots puzzle when it feels like some of the dots are invisible. Each author is a master observer and each work is a grateful tribute to the lingering memory of inspiring fiction while ushering readers to recall their own haunting lives and memories.

The Twin Peaks connoisseur will easily fall back into the stilling forest, as Maureen Thorson writes in “Sayonara, Cherry Pie”

We know where we are. Gumshoes. A noir.
Time’s lost; there are mountains-an endless,
Evergreen forest. Deep woods here. It’s true,
Isn’t it, that you can enjoy the style

Of a situation, even when the situation is grim.

Alvarez edits a deep chorus, stringing up our recollections of townies we used to know, characters from our own lives we remember from our own past. Sometimes we grieve in remembrance and sometimes we breathe relief. Readers are taken through the troubled portrayal of Siobhan Logan’s “Traffic Light Girls.”

Oh those luminous Lynch girls
those troubled six and seventeens
even stabbed and drowned
and smashed and blown
to smithereens

Emilie Zoey Baker’s no-title enigma begins with staccato depictions in a high school yearbook style that sketches each major Twin Peaks character. Using flowing euphemisms and clever antics for her favorites, Baker recalls the boy, “who never stopped having nightmares,” and the fallen queen’s name that must be deciphered with a mirror. Similar to high school, the reader will remember the adolescent regret,

Why didn’t the angels tell you he was spooning you the whole time?

to the romantic observances,

You are the bobby pin in your true love’s hair.

The poems are piercingly vivid. My two favorite images come from the emotionally brittle, “Haikai-No-Renga for Diane” by Andrew Wilson

Plastic chrysalis
unraveling by the lake-
stillborn butterfly

and Eileen Tabios’ “;The Collapse of the Last Log.”

; the sunray sears the stallion
; a car fender sears her thigh
; implode

There are parts of the collection that swing away from the lovely particles of memory to strike a much different tone. From the cautionary last stanza of Jilly Dybka’s “The Log Lady’s Log Whispers to Her”

My log does not judge. It can only proclaim.
Don’t close your eyes or you will burst into flame.

Original. Ghostly. A vertically-written piece, Elena Knox accompanies “Palinpoem for Pete’s Sake” with a black and white photo of a perfectly shaped, empty staircase with one word imprinted on each ethereal step:


It is the simple yet profound symbolism of both poetry and mystery that lures us deeper. Two pieces are magnified by its cavernous insight. As life can be gentle and delicate, as is Maike Zock’s, “Life’s Little Secret.”

As the blue rose buds
Mysteries of life unfold
Pinned on a red dress

With a theme of attentive self-analysis, Daniel Lloyd’s writes (untitled)

I feel like a wild person
Trapped inside a quiet person
How frustrating for us both.

Seductive, with eccentric bread crumb trails that lead into the deep green of Twin Peaks, readers will be twisted, wondering, brow-wrinkled and pondering, yet again, what makes the peculiar characters and their stories so compelling. With its sharp imagery, clever and unbounded nature, this collection reads almost philosophical, directing its unconventional arrows to the unexplainable and the maybes of life. Collin Kelley’s, “Sometimes Her Arms Bend Back,” captures this.

Maybe we are both dead, maybe
Twenty-five years is really just a blink,
Fades like the taste of my favorite gum.

When finished, I contemplated how to summarize this evoking. The second sentence of the final poem, “Diane Dreams of Dale’s Voice” by Jared Leising best describes my experience:

It struck me again earlier this morning…the cherry pie is worth a stop.


Lisa Factora-Borchers is writer and f(p)eminist activist. She has moved 10 times in the past ten years and has finally agreed to settle in Boston with her life partner for the next five years. Lisa reviews independent manuscripts and is a contributing writer for the Feminist Review and her work has been published in Fragments.


At 2:03 AM, Blogger emilie zoey baker said...

great review, you write using such a great choice of language.

At 6:59 PM, Blogger Collin Kelley said...

Thank you, Lisa, for such a great review. "A Slice of Cherry Pie" has been an amazing experience and I have been thrilled to be in such fine poetic company.


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