The poems of JA Carter-Winward’s NO APOLOGIES are, as the title of the collections suggests, quite quite unfiltered and frank. A lot of the poems are about sex and sexuality, others about turning away from the Mormon faith (which in the poems is often linked closely with the former), while still others very honest and personal poems about family life and growing up, displaying huge amounts of ambivalence in poems about parents. The style is simple and conversational, full of humor and profanity, which is also quite funny, usually. The poems are all in lower case letters and with very little punctuation.
The honesty of the poems is either refreshing or brutal, varying depending on the nature of the poem. The frankness with which the speaker relates sexual encounters and past relationships is often hilarious and fascinating, but the frankness on other subjects reveals something much deeper: “there is something surreal / about your life / when both of your parents are dead. / i feel like i’m missing these real, / tangible anchors / that tethered me to this world / and helped me know / my place in it.”
The best poems in NO APOLOGIES, however, are still probably the funny ones. Much of the humor is hilariously dirty, but these poems have other, more surprising ways of making the reader laugh as well: “bashing my head / into the side of my car / was not the best way / for him to win back / my affections.” That’s the whole poem, and the funniest part is actually the title of that piece, “Courtship.”
The poems of NO APOLOGIES are raw, candid, often erotic and often heart-wrenching (and sometimes both); a fearless account of so many different life experiences, producing a very varied and very exceptional collection that can elicit a whole spectrum of feelings.
Reviewed by Charles Baker for IndieReader.com