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
These poems are accessible, hilarious, sad, scary as hell, pathetic, horny, loving, angry... everything. No pretensions, no holding back. This is nothing but edges, but it's edges with real heart. If you think you're a bad-___ -- especially a female bad-___ -- you need to read it.
An interview with the poet, J.a. Carter-Winward
Art begins, quite simply, with nothing: It is the writer's blank sheet of paper or computer screen, the painter's canvas, the filmmaker's empty camera hard drive, the choreographer's stillness contemplating an initial act of motion. Every new act of artistic creation begins with time—to some, it must feel like an eternity—when there is no idea whatsoever what will happen next. But then something does happen. Whether it's a muse or God, genius or dumb luck, the artist finds the moment when the path becomes clear. Or, at least, clearer.
Art is an act of bravery. And not just in the sense of putting often-soul-baring work out there to be judged—and sometimes rejected—by the world, but in the sense of being willing to face the blankness before creation, the wondering if the perfect creation might happen this time, even as it so rarely lives up to the vision in the artist's head. It's a leap off the edge of the world when you really don't know what will be at the bottom.
City Weekly's Artys Awards may only recognize a finite number of artists in any given year, but we see this as a way to celebrate creation wherever it's found in this state. We congratulate those honored by our readers and our contributing writers, but we also congratulate everyone who takes that leap. And we keep asking our readers to join them on those journeys.
Arts & Entertainment Editor
BEST POETRY COLLECTION
JulieAnn Carter-Winward, No Apologies
For the past six years, JulieAnn Carter-Winward has been roping in readers with Utah-centric erotica prose that keeps eyes trained on the page. Her poetry collection no apologies is no different; the poems are deeply personal, swerving between the heart-wrenching stuff of growing up and agitating against parents and Mormonism, and the titillating details of getting "slammed into" by a bouncer outside a club. In "if I could talk to my parents again," Carter-Winward riffs on the biting reality that there are some wrongs committed that can never be taken back: "I'd say I'm so, so sorry/ for ages 12-30./ I'd tell them/ that talking to them/ was the most comforting/ thing in the world./ I'd say thank you/ for loving me when I was/ unloveable.