A Review by Juliet Cook of Blood, Booze, and Other Things in Nature by C E Hoffman

 "And I know people are (re)awakening / ‘cause heads turn to our lights as we bounce down the street / sure some seek to crush us but damn we’ve done that for centuries / crippled all minorities / twin spirits, / matriarchal deities. // Yet even as we the students against our teachers thrash and scream / forever are we learning. // It’s nice being the only guy in my pre-natal yoga class." (in the poem "Prenatal Yoga aka Relearning Breath")

C E Hoffman's "Blood, Booze, and Other Things in Nature" (Alien Buddha Press, 2022) offers a unique collection of poems that range from short and succinct creative notes to longer, more detailed explorations of/elaborations upon the small and large elements of an individual life.  Sometimes you want to escape from that life and other times you try your best to handle and embrace and appreciate your own myriad quirks, raw imperfections, and the fact that you are you.

"I’ve seen my own mind begin to / bubble: tar melting on a hot day" (in the poem "It's All Okay")

From feeling unattractive and unpopular to wondering what the hell popularity is even about.

"I pretended I wasn’t jealous / of popularity or prettiness / but I was"
and "I learned cool kids are just / loud losers with friends / and when everyone spoke of adventures / they’d already happened, or never would" (in the poem "Ex (Get Gone Pt. 2))

From striving closer towards your own truth and your own genuine self, but still having bad days and knowing that scars, broken bones, and death are inevitable.

"Nothing is guaranteed. / We live in bones that break. / There are wasted weekends, / sagging beds, there is freezer-burnt colostrum." (in the poem "Broken Bones/Souls")

From radical honesty (while still hiding certain things) about relationship issues, self-harm, continually questioning oneself and one's life. Wondering 
"What if this is the best I can be."

This collection is worth a read and as the author says in the poem "New Moon in Cancer (Radical Honesty 101)":

"I guess this is where I should commend you to Share, click Like on my gripes,"  /  disseminate like Everywhere  // Smear my sexy guts on the fearsome culturescape in the hopes that someone may / hear and say, // “Hey, this resonates, cheers.”"

~Juliet Cook, poet and editor of Blood Pudding Press


Find out more about C E Hoffman and this book (and consider buying it) via the links and bio below:

Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09YQ4W4WL

Website: https://cehoffman.net

C E Hoffman (they/them) was born, gave birth, and tried to die in Edmonton, AB (not necessarily in that order.) A grant recipient, Writer’s Union of Canada member, and winner of the 2022 Defunct May Day Chapbook contest with their chapbook NO ACTUAL SIN, they’ve been published widely online and in print since 2010, and edited Punk Monk Magazine since 2012.  Current releases include their #OwnVoices short story collection SLUTS AND WHORES (Thurston Howl Publications, 2021), BLOOD, BOOZE, AND OTHER THINGS IN NATURE (Alien Buddha Press, 2022), and GHOSTS, TROLLS, AND OTHER THINGS ON THE INTERNET (Bottlecap Press, 2022.) Follow them on Twitter @CEHoffman2, and listen to their podcast Scribbles & Spills.

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