Straight Razor and Other Poems

Stephen Osborne

Salvatore Ala has written a poem about a barbershop that may have no equal in that genre. It can be found in his new book, Straight Razor and Other Poems (Biblioasis). Some of the poems in this collection strive too much for metaphor, but others lead us toward the light. A poem called “The Octopus,” for example (a submarine work), apostrophizes its subject with these lines: “O cephalopod you who walk on your head, / And vanish in clouds of ink.” There are several good barbershop poems here, such as “The Barber Has No Place to Cry”; the one that may have no equal begins: “Thank you, poetry, for my father’s barbershop, / For the barber chairs and soap machine, / For the windows and mirrors, for it being downtown, / For the movie theatre and marquee next door.”

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Stephen Osborne

Stephen Osborne is a co-founder and contributing publisher of Geist. He is the award-winning writer of Ice & Fire: Dispatches from the New World and dozens of shorter works, many of which can be read at


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