REVIEWS & TESTIMONIALS
Clutching her vision firmly in hand, Karen Corinne Herceg paints her inner world in such a vivid fashion that I was compelled to submerge myself in OUT FROM CALABOOSE completely, and then not surface at all until I put down the last poem. What I wove through during the course of that reading was a feast: imagery fine enough that it startled; rhythms that wove from poem to poem, joining all their music together; and language so sleek that not one word had been left standing if it ought not to be. In this collection, Herceg brings us her life and all its many emotional truths, some ugly, some beautifyu, but all revealed with restraint--so that by book's end, we are left in wonder.
Linda Gray Sexton, author of Searching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back To My Mother, Anne Sexton and other bestelling works of fiction and non-fiction
Often it is a pronounced sense of wonder that makes poets like Karen Corinne Herceg.
Janet Hamill, Poet & Performance Artist
This is a remarkable work, a Virginia Woolf moment stretched into a book of poems, or a Whitman's rumination that refuses to come to an end, enamored as it is by life's ongoing rush. OUT FROM CALABOOSE affirms Herceg's faith in a poet's visionary status as she imagines her hand reaching toward, snapping through 'embryonic clay' and sculpting lives that could become whole...
Yuyutsu Sharma, Poet, Translator & Author of Quaking Cantos: Nepal Earthquake Poems and A Blizzard in My Bones: New York Poems
OUT FROM CALABOOSE is a terrific and powerful book without a misplaced syllable.
Richard Martin, Poet, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Recipient
Ms. Herceg's writing has only in the past year begun to grace the world-wide audience of "Passionate Justice" and already she is a favorite for the bold courage of her topics, for how she makes the social and political so deeply personal, often achingly, and for her clear commitment to interpersonal and societal justice. She writes with precision, depth, and feeling. "Passionate Justice" and Our Salon Radio hope to present her work for a very long time to come.
Jonathan Wolfman: Author, Radio Host of “Passionate Justice” at oursalonradio.com
With deft craft and convincing imagery KCH deals with the void of change, the world and social disintegration. She says something! Happily, she is far from any current obscurantist mode.
Roberta Gould: Poet, Translator, Photographer
Roberta Gould's poetry has appeared widely in poetry magazines and publications including Confrontation, Mid American Review, Borderlands, The NY Times and in anthologies such as The Art & Craft of Poetry...Ed., Daisy Aldan and Mixed Voices, Milkweed Editions. Her 11th book of poems, To The Dogs, was preceded by Louder Than Seed, Foothills Publishing, Facing The Wind, Shivistan Press & In Houses With Ladders, Waterside Press. She has translated poets from the Spanish and reads her work on various radio & TV stations. Visit www.robertagould.net.
Thank you for contributing your excellent poem Alto Sax to our Ground Fresh Thursday series. We are glad to have you and your work as part of the GFT Press family. I personally hope to see more work from you in the future.
Jack Daniel Miles: Editor-in-chief, GFT Press
As an author of short fiction, Karen has a remarkably light touch. Her work, at once hugely imaginative and infinitely relatable, rushes from detail to detail, never losing course or pace. It's only when you near the end of the story that you realise you've been led step-by-step, unknowing, to a sheer drop, and you're not sure if you're ready to go over or not. Surprising in its honesty and sudden beauty, and full of veiled humour, Karen's writing delivers everything you could want from short-short fiction.
Lorrie Hartshorn, Halo Literary Magazine, U.K .
Lorrie Hartshorn is founder & editor of Halo Literary Magazine, a journal of short fiction by women. A freelance copywriter and coach by day, Lorrie writes short fiction and publishes in many respected journals. She tweets @LorrieHartshorn.
Thanks for "The Courage to Delete." I am pleased that it will appear in the July issue. Everything an essay should be.
Glen Phillips: Publisher & Editor, Front Porch Review
(Her) poem (“Lake Tear of the Clouds”) has such a strong original voice, and yet is reminiscent of Walt Whitman and his celebratory lists of the wonders of our world.
Jean LeBlanc: Executive Editor, Paulinskill Poetry Project
Jean LeBlanc's poetry appears in numerous publications. As Executive Editor of the Paulinskill Poetry Project, she is preparing a second volume of their anthology Voices From Here featuring work by poets in various counties encompassing NY, NJ & PA: www.jeanleblancpoetry.com.
I am honored and excited to publish your piece.
Kat Lahr, Publisher & Editor, Thought Collection Journal
Kat Lahr is Founder, Creative Director & Editor of Chicago Press Thought Collection Journal. She holds an MBA & is an adjunct professor.
With candor and poise, Karen Corinne Herceg reveals a facet of desiring motherhood in our October issue with “Two Olives Please.”
Maria Scala, Editor-in-Chief, Literary Mama
“Her work is poignant, biting, tender, and pertinent.”
Marina Mati, Hudson Valley Howl Podcast Host, Poet
Karen Corinne Herceg's recent emergence on the Hudson Valley poetry circuit is proof that serious wordsmiths are out there, and when the time is right, we can meet them. Herceg's poetry has honesty and a sane, healing quality. As a poet she fulfills one of the most crucial needs of our troubled age: Truth-seeking. There is no pretense in Herceg's approach, and the vulnerability of her words is a breath of clean Autumn air after a long, heavy Summer.
Robert Milby, Poet & Hudson Valley, NY poetry series host,
author of 5 chapbooks & 2 books & contributor to numerous literary publications. His latest book is Victorian House
In Karen Corinne Herceg’s preface to Inner Sanctions, she states: "The poem is not meant to protect us. Rather the poem is a wound we expose, a physical evidence, an exorcism. It buffers that fine balance of individual sanity we must all seek alone." Herceg’s inner sanctions are the place where she, as a poet, experiences those wounds and begins the work of healing. In the process, she ratifies and confirms something which is sacred to each of us: our feelings of worth in relation to the world of unworthy experience. Her poems regularly seek to find balance in a world which deals us an uncertain hand, and which goes by so quickly it almost eludes us. They are flashes of insight, quick reflections, attempts to seize a lasting image in the ever-turning, kaleidoscopic tumult of individual experience. When she arrives finally at her truths, she reveals to us the underlying patterns and connections which hold that world together and are its real beauty. When I read Herceg, I think I am reading between the lines of a universal soul while, at the same time, catching very real glimpses of my own.
Lisa Fleck Dondiego, Poet, Author of A Sea Change
Karen Corinne Herceg’s poems exorcise demons, wring out their vulnerabilities, and fling them into the ether. Her poetry is about survival after much soul searching. Stay tuned for this poet’s future work.
Donna Reis, Poet, Pushcart Prize Nominee, Author of
No Passing Zone
The poems are like quilting squares - each stands alone, complete, but hinting at something larger. Taken together they feel almost like a memoir. Each poem reveals just enough without telling too much and without slipping into sentimentality. All quite an achievement.
Juliana Woodhead, Poetry Editor, The Writing Disorder
Karen Herceg’s work is wonderfully macabre, spine-tingling…a joy to read. It was a pleasure to share her poetry in our magazine.
Tess Tabak and e.kirshe, Editors, The Furious Gazelle
"...so honest and raw..."
The Editors, Luna Luna Magazine
"With rich metaphorical descriptions, Herceg's honest writing bridges the gap between cultural subconscious and personal experience."
Zoe Siegel, Editor, Lunch Ticket/Antioch University
"If you need to seek comfort, connect with yourself. Your feelings in the moment. Align with the truth of the moment. Listen to the wisdom."--This interview is from my friend Karen Corinne Herceg. I am so in alignment with what she shares...it's like it came out of me. I hope it can connect with your truth as it did mine. Amber Adams (on the essay "A Tough Pill to Swallow" published in Thought Journal, June 2016)
COMMENTS BELOW ON POEMS FROM POEMHUNTER.COM:
Re "A Wake of Frogs"--
"A thoroughly enjoyable read. A remarkably well-written poem."
"Few poems keep my complete interest. This writing falls into categories of
admiration and smiling approval of this creative mind. A city girl, the winter chore, the metaphor of frogs and unfortunate soldiers. Memories frozen over with no future...Yes indeed. Fantastic 10."
Re "Metropolitan Fault"--
"An aerial view allows for height--your eyes supply the vision."
Re "Two Olives, Please"--
Are you kidding me? This is an amazing window into a world revealed. I have no idea where to start. I will say this. If you care about the sensitivity of some poets you must delete this gem. I am afraid that they may be discouraged from ever writing again. Between swish and clink. The loosened tongue. 'Did you know, and so it begins.' Wide eyed revelation. I was delivered there and what more can a reader or writer hope for?"
Re "Toulon, 1971"--
"...an admiration for each line brings to me a bitter-sweet feeling of appreciation and sadness."
Re "The Rest"--
Slid in like bakers trays. We stop, reflect and go on. Pity, remorse, regret, love...and silence. We go on, what else can we do?"
"After paying quite a bit of money to four different editors who did
little to improve the quality of my novel, Karen immersed herself in my story. Where others immediately stuck their noses into the tiny details and completely missed the point, Karen took a step back and truly tried to grasp my intentions. Just because someone can feel there’s a great writer inside of him or her doesn't mean they can actualize it all on their own. The bottom line is I floundered a lot, feeling blind as I wrote. Knowing there's a great story inside of you and having no idea how to present it to the rest of the world is an extremely vulnerable place. Instead of obsessing over grammar and punctuation, the first thing Karen did was to try and understand my intentions and, in doing so, she helped me better define my message and understand my goals. From there we focused on the delivery, the use of symbolism and the paths the characters take to help the reader understand that the journey in the book is actually their own journey as well. It wasn't until the story had some real direction that she started to get into all the details and finishing touches. She takes a multi-step approach.
Perhaps all editors are supposed to be this way, but she's the first I've ever met who works in this manner. She’s not even particularly fond of the genre I'm writing in, but she cares about authors and the art of writing. She dedicated a lot of her initial time to finding a way to relate to my story and message. At first she couldn't connect, but she put genuine effort into finding a way, and after a short while I found her theorizing what the characters would do as if she knew them as real people. She fell in love with them.
As soft spoken as she can be, she's not afraid to put her foot down when she can feel you trying to take the easy way out of something. I have two novels now. She handed me a booklet of comments and suggestions for my first novel, a very long list of things that needed to be changed in order for the book to translate well to the reader. My first reaction was to just try harder on the next book because I had already rewritten it so many times. Instead of working on the next book, we spent an entire session simply discussing what writing meant to me, why I wanted to be a writer, and what rewriting this novel could do for me as a person. I'm rewriting that novel now and it's a lot of work, but I'm finding things I never expected to find, and it's making my second novel better and is helping to make the work on my third novel a more efficient process.
Karen is not just an editor; she's a muse, a mentor, and a support structure. She sacrifices, she suffers, she immerses herself in who you're meant to be. She tries to see ahead of where you are right now, to see into the potential of what you could become and, once she's found it, she opens your book and goes to work. I can't really imagine where I'd be right now without her."
Kephra Rubin, Author of the
Walk Through The Valley Book Series
Karen Corinne Herceg brings to her work an objective eye coupled with a keen sensibility for the author's voice and style, making her an insightful and gifted editor.
Christi Shannon Kline