Ten Years of Packingtown Review: Volume 3

Volume 3

In act 3, we hit Trouble! Volume 3 is edited in late 2011, but the press won’t release it for free. The usual sources of funding all rummage for change and turn up nothing. Instead of close to ten grand, we have zero dollars.

Where is our usual manager of mirth?
What revels are in hand? Is there no play,
To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?

And so we end up with a lost issue.

But like Paisley Park vaults,  the deepest recesses of our digital file cabinets have spit out this super rare and raw demo: the PTR3 PDF! It may not look pretty, but it teems with literary treasures.


Tiny Coffins by Ashley Warren; The Open Books Press, 2018

By Kris Summerson

Our contributor Ashley Warren has a new book out now via The Open Book Press. You can read Warren’s poem “Black Substance” in one of our previous issues; when you read Tiny Coffins, you’ll find out how the poem was transformed in the context of a memoir.

The title Tiny Coffins drew me in immediately, as it paints a curious, yet sad image in my mind. The book, an experimental memoir composed of lyric chapters that read like poems, tells the harrowing journey of a woman watching her mother suffer under the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s disease. The book portrays nostalgia, pain, growth, and a mother-daughter relationship put to the ultimate test.

Warren’s poem-chapters are full of raw emotion, and often a powerful last line knocked the breath out of me. The narrator’s voice is very frank: it draws you into the conversation and, at times, you almost feel like you’re invading her privacy. But through the words, her pain is your pain. Each poem-chapter bleeds into the next with a flow of a lifetime full of memories, lists of lessons, and moments of pain mixed with solace. 

From beginning to end, the entire book comes full circle in a range of emotions and the story of life. When I finished reading, the only thing I wanted to do was to call my mom, which is a luxury I still have and will cherish.