by Cindy Hochman
(Glass Lyre Press, 2015)
Softbound, 27 pages, $12.00
Reviewed by Jeff Santosuosso
While Cindy Hochman’s been detained in her body, she casts her own judgment in Habeas Corpus. Her newest chapbook covers incarceration and freedom, encumbrance and aspiration. All with a wicked wit. Joys and triumphs, pleasures and delights, share the pages with tragedy and grief, pain and anguish. She knows them all, and reveals them all, in pithy, witty body parts.
So much happens so quickly, you may think you’ve missed something. But it’s all in there. You won’t feel cheated because neither does Hochman. She starts at the very beginning. In “Womb,” Hochman jabs at Eve, word-playing at her naïveté; then discovers a surprising empathy and sadness. In 33 words, she sets the tone for the rest of the work, plays her poetic hand … and “Legs,” “Tongue,” “Mouth,” and so on. She takes on youth and sexuality, menstruation, religion, substance binging, bereavement, arthritis, breast cancer, Marie Antoinette, Harper Lee, Sylvia Plath, Van Gogh, her own personal Darth Vader, Dick Cheney, and more, punning and panning, dishing and dissing, laughing and crying.
The whole thing covered in 14 poems. Here’s a physically thin collection, but robust and bursting with humanity and all of its crazy, kaleidoscopic conundrums. Habeas Corpus closes with “Full Body Scan,” and its revealing None of my wounds are superficial. Indeed! And none are rendered as superficial. Tell me: Which is the nurse’s button? Which is the nuclear button? Which is the panic button? You know by the time you get there, she’d never press either of the last two. This is a grounded, wise little book, fending off mortality with wit, sarcasm, honesty, and most of all, an indomitable spirit.
About the Reviewer: Jeff Santosuosso is a business executive and prize-winning poet living in Pensacola, FL. He is a member of the Florida State Poets Association, former member of the Dallas Poets Community, and board member of the West Florida Literary Federation. His poems have appeared in a variety of print and online poetry journals. He has edited and written summaries and reviews of a variety of poetic works. He is currently working on a novel, as well as continuing with poetry.
About the Author: Cindy Hochman, the author of Wednesday’s Child (out of print) and The Carcinogenic Bride (Thin Air Media Press, 2011), is president of Brooklyn-based “100 Proof” Copyediting Services and editor-in-chief of the influential online poetry journal “First Literary Review-East”. Her poems have been published in Canada and translated into Turkish. She is currently working on a poetic book about grammar.