YesYes authors read their work

YesYes Book Tour: left to right Lynn Melnick, Raena Shirali, Brandon Courtney.
Photo by: Hannah Rothamel.

In case you missed authors Lynn Melnick, Brandon Courtney, and Raena Shirali’s book tour stop at DMACC on Oct. 16.

Published with the independent press YesYes Books, each author brought a series of poems to share.

Lynn Melnick read from her recently published work “Landscape with Sex and Violence.” It is accurately named as it explores rape, commercialism, and abusive behavior. When describing her work she warns her poetry is triggering and calls it “distressing shit… it’s too heavy for the morning.”

Melnick explains her inspiration for her poetry ranges from stepping into a Target, to attending AA meetings in Hollywood. She’s a New Yorker, mother, and publicist. And she doesn’t shy away from a well placed expletive.

Brandon Courtney, a former DMACC and Drake student, offered a crown of sonnets from his “Inadequate Grave.”

This antiquated style, he explains, has fallen out of use. He combines this and other sequential styles that remind audiences of old sermons and poetic monologues. It’s hard not to underestimate his pocket sized book of poems, but Courtney’s dark and serious poetry offers themes of desolation, anger, and grief. The former veteran explains that most of the poems were inspired by watching his friend drown in the Arabian gulf.

Raena Shirali presented a series of poems from her most recent work “Gilt.” Shirali poem’s are a little more extensive, reaching across many different topics. She touches on the  racism she encountered growing up in Charleston South Carolina, where she reminds the audience this was where the first shot of the civil war was fired.

Her poetry brings up the angst of youth, the societal pressure to have a perfect body, the Hindu festival of Holi, and public gang rapes that point to Shirali’s point, “that we refuse to celebrate natural bodies.” Someone she finds a way to connect it all.

Their Midwest book tour is coming to an end, but find their books and more information on

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