This has been an extremely complex book of poems and photographs, that has been hard to review. To get close to the intention and meaning of Beth Cortez-Neavel takes some doing. Her book cover - On Breathing & Long Distance - Beth Cortez-Neavalwork is intricate, and at the same time upfront and in your face. Beth is one of two people: One that has never learned to be afraid, or one that has been so scared it no longer matters to her. She is so female centered in her work, that after a while the reader may experience estrogen bloat. But saying that, nonetheless she is fearless. Men tend to spend little, if any time, belaboring the beauty of their sexual equipment, but distaff poets seem to be fascinated by their own. I’m not getting into the psychology of it all, but however you or I feel about it, the theme is professionally explored. I mean, she gets deep into it; no that’s not a good way to say it….She really gets down with the subject.

I’m going to move on now.

I’d Rather Be Showering
(a fragment)

I’d Rather Be Showering
I just left the shower to say
I love my pussy.
And to say that
all I wanted to do was take
Cleanse my body
My thoughts
My soul

all I did
was stick my hand in the fast
hot jets.
draw it out again
and sigh with exasperation.

Because :
my insufferable muse,
decided that I would
right back to my room
and type out how much I love
my hairy,
pink and
little centerpiece

etc. etc….

You see what I mean.

Beth is at the beginning of her career and from what I gather from the book cover, she did much of the photography herself; mostly naked women all painted up, and not just their face, but their whole bodies. Very nicely done. (Correction from Beth dated June 12) I would like to presume to correct you on a few points, however…… I had four beautiful lovely strong feminine photographer/artists provide photos. Only the ones with “BCN” under them are photos I took. Painter from The Painter Project is the artists behind the stunning painted ladies. I did not take the cover photo, but I did work some photoshop magic on it. The original photo can be found on the Table of Contents page.

I stand corrected

She describes herself as a multi media journalist, and is currently, as of this posting, trotting around the world somewhere.

She puts herself with a boundless enthusiasm into her work. The long distance love poems and the yearning and dysfunction, as well as the joy all go into her work. The wordplay is good, but that improves with age. She’s one worth watching.

I know I will be.

Buy a copy at Lulu


Author: Edgardo

Born in Houston, Texas and moved to Raymondvile, Texas in 1969. Family bought a radio station and helped with the family business until it was sold in 1997. Since then started an agency and mostly writes about experiences in Deep South Texas. Writers of the Rio Grande founder, editor and contributing author.


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