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I received a copy of Kat Gior­danos’s The Poet Con­fronts Bukowski’s Ghost for review pur­pos­es. As always, this review reflects only my hon­est thoughts on the book.

The Poet Confronts Bukowski's GhostThe Poet Confronts Bukowski’s Ghost
by Kat Giordano

Pub­li­ca­tion Date: 3 June 2018

Genre: Poet­ry



On the night that I open my first MFA rejec­tion letter,
Charles Bukows­ki appears in the cor­ner of my col­lege apartment
in stained khakis and a yel­lowed white undershirt,
swirling Jim Beam in a low­ball glass…

The Poet Con­fronts Bukowski’s Ghost is Kat Gior­dano’s debut full-length poet­ry collection.

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My Review of The Poet Confronts Bukowski’s Ghost

When I final­ly sat down to read Kat Gior­dano’s The Poet Con­fronts Bukowski’s Ghost, it had been quite a few weeks since I’d writ­ten more than a few lines of poet­ry.  Life had turned into a series of crises and I was so on-edge that any time I was­n’t spend­ing tack­ling the lat­est prob­lem was allo­cat­ed to sleep; my usu­al com­pul­sion to write some­thing was ful­filled just enough by free­lance work, but it still took a toll on my men­tal health along the way.

Read­ing through this col­lec­tion, I felt the words flow­ing again.  I tried to remem­ber a few lines and, at one point, stopped to let a full poem make its way onto the page (well, phone screen).  The Poet Con­fronts Bukowski’s Ghost was exact­ly the book I need­ed, and I man­aged to pick it up at exact­ly the right time.

“Poet Man likes to write about tak­ing ran­dom women home from
the bar on a Wednes­day night.  Not women like you, though.
Capital‑W Women, the wil­lowy kind who don’t talk.  The whole
world is full of talk­ing and Poet Man wants some­one to lis­ten to
him and touch him and not need any­thing at all.”

-from “Poet Man”

Gior­dano takes every­thing from mys­tery-fla­vored lol­lipops to Jesus Him­self and makes it into a phe­nom­e­nal poem.  I lost track of just how many times I thought some vari­a­tion of, “Wow, I wish I’d writ­ten that” as I absorbed her words.  And yet, that nev­er would have been the same; Kat’s voice is so dis­tinct, so cap­ti­vat­ing, that no mat­ter how sim­i­lar the words and images, some­one else’s ver­sion of the same poems would­n’t have the same effect.

The Poet Con­fronts Bukowski’s Ghost is a ghost itself. haunt­ing its way through your own mem­o­ries.  So many times, a line or phrase would strike a chord with­in me and bring to life a for­got­ten mem­o­ry.  Gior­dano makes even the most spe­cif­ic instance of a feel­ing uni­ver­sal, which I’d argue makes a great poem all the better.

I rec­om­mend plen­ty of books, but this is one that will be at the top of my lists of sug­ges­tions for any read­er with whom it will resonate—and that, I think, will tru­ly be every reader.

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About the Author

Kat Gior­dano is a poet and cry­ba­by from Penn­syl­va­nia. She is one of two co-edi­tors of Philo­soph­i­cal Idiot. Her debut full-length poet­ry col­lec­tion, The Poet Con­fronts Bukowski’s Ghost, is cur­rent­ly avail­able through Ama­zon, and her work has appeared in OCCULUM, CLASH Mag­a­zine, Ghost City Review, the Cincin­nati Review, and oth­ers, as well as a vari­ety of man­ic, late-night Face­book mes­sages. She tweets @giordkat and shame­less­ly sells her­self at

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