Madness and Retribution: By Juliette Torrez, 77 pgs. By Sean Carswell

           Juliette Torrez has been floating around underground writing circles for more than a decade. She’s performed spoken word on the second stage of Lollapalooza. She’s set up poetry slams and spoken word festivals and all kinds of events in several cities. She’s helped pave the way for a generation of spoken word artists and poets, and finally the poems she’s been performing for years are published in this collection, Madness and Retribution. In some senses, you can tell that these poems need to be read aloud. They have a rhythm to them. There’s music in the words. There’s also a conversational tone underlying the poems that insures you get at least some meaning from them on the first read. Torrez has a worldview gained from years of travelling, bouncing from town to town, drifting in and out of scenes, and this perspective rings true in the various poems she dedicates to various cities or people she’s known along the way. All in all, Madness and Retribution is the perfect book of poetry for people who think they don’t like poetry. Also, I have to mention, there’s an awesome Mark Ryden painting on the cover. –Sean (Manic D Press, PO Box 410804, SF, CA 94141)