Devil’s Paintbrush: Poems

We rated this book:


Desiree Alvarez is a poet who imbues reality with the mythic and mystical to create striking imagery. Alvarez, who created the cover art for Devil’s Paintbrush with a flamethrower, is also an artist, which may partly explain her strong visual images. For example in Yours, In Snow, she writes, “Your eyes, smoked blue, are full of mountains / and something beyond that keep me.” In Chorus of Snow Quartz, “Lichen glows as if a place could be a lover.” In Indian Elephant, the speaker slips out at night to “watch the pearls of gulls string the abandoned pier.” In Familiar where the speaker mourns her dog, “the wind blew a hole right through me in the shape of a dog running on my first night without you.” Given the beauty of her words, it comes as no surprise that Alvarez has won numerous awards, fellowships and residences, including the 2015 May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize for Devil’s Paintbrush. For those who seek a haunting line, Devil’s Paintbrush provides ample material to savor.

Chris Hayden

Chris Hayden been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.

Reviewed By:

Author Desirée Alvarez
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 80 pages
Publisher Bauhan
Publish Date 05-Apr-2016
ISBN 9780872332188
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue June 2016
Category Poetry & Short Stories


  1. Michel Franck

    Wonderful book of poems, all masterfully crafted; vivid and expressive.

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