I don’t expect to agree with every review, but Danielle Patrick’s review of Sarah Mangold’s Cupcake Royale (above/ground press, 2012) in Broken Pencil #59 felt as though the reviewer had conflicts more with style over any manner of execution. Is it wrong to suspect that she just didn’t “get” it? Still, her attention is appreciated. We much prefer the earlier review of Cupcake Royale, here. And of course, there are still copies available.
A good poem often requires the reader to invest time to unlock its meaning, like worrying apart a finger puzzle. Sometimes a poem seems deliberately tricky, without aiming to articulate anything.
I wanted to like these poems. I was initially drawn in by the bold imagery shivering behind the words, and was charmed by some of the imaginative phrasing. But this collection never quite gels. At times it seems like fridge magnet poetry or a collection of words randomly strung-together. As a nod to the title, some cake imagery is mixed in, but it seems like a strained attempt to have some unifying thread. Overall, the poems feel more inchoate than innovative.
With Cupcake Royale my patient reading was rewarded by a creeping feeling that I was superfluous in my role as a reader – the writer is throwing a word party, but I didn’t get the invitation.