• Alejandro Ruiz del Sol

REVIEW | Ways We Vanish by Todd Dillard


The poem “Interview with an Addict’s Son” from the center of Ways We Vanish by Todd Dillard is striking to me. The language pierces something—something—necessary. This poetry collection is warm and bold. I cannot imagine a better way for a poet to debut their work than with a collection so honest.

Ways We Vanish by Todd Dillard is the lime after the tequila shot, “...the chaser someone/who will audience their remember whens,/who will say the name of their dead/back to them...”.

Ways We Vanish is at the bar: a participant in bar-talk, hard laughs, discussions of family, speaking lovingly about it all—and we as readers hear it all. How else can I put it?

This collection remembers haunting moments and situations of addiction—adds clarity to these memory visitations.

This book is an intervention—scenes of retribution wander throughout.

A wonderful debut by Todd Dillard, I am in awe of his chaos—and the delicate story of mother, father, family—hiding within.

It is wonderful to see narrative driven poems/poems which nod to the ethereal. All collected together here in the first poetry collection produced by Okay Donkey Press, a small press from California. Anyway, here is “A Door like a Wound”:

“The door first appeared in my backyard,

white sentinel among anemone sheets

suspended on clotheslines”

A surreal scene, which, later in the poem, leads inside the door,

“Inside: a small room, bay windows, garrulous daylight,

a pair of boy’s shoes, a clarinet laid across a chair,

my mother’s voice, as if from a phone off it’s cradle,

singing some lost, some low-sweet tune...”

Ways We Vanish by Todd Dillard (first published in 2020) can be purchased directly from the publisher, Okay Donkey Press.

Todd Dillard's work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous publications, including Ruminate, The Adroit Journal, Fairy Tale Review, Booth, and Hobart. His book Ways We Vanish was released from Okay Donkey Press in 2020. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and daughter.

Alejandro Ruiz del Sol is Poetry Editor for Puerto del Sol, and a candidate for the MFA in Poetry at New Mexico State University. Is published in Barren Magazine, The Shore Poetry, and Okay Donkey. Has a chapbook forthcoming with Finishing Line Press. Lives in New Mexico with a dog, Maple.

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