Black Lawrence Press

Human Interest


All Points Bulletin

We all said the assailant looked nothing like anyone
we’d ever seen. In fact, we weren’t sure
he was a man, certainly no man
to live around here. But, it turns out
he was and he did
and that’s what we feared,
that one day we’d flick on the tube
to see ourselves on the news with a gun
loading all those shells, the shell
we hoped we’d never become
and the shell we nevertheless turned out to be,
the shell of disappointment and the shell
of regret, which are hollow shells
that go on making a sound
when the whistler has stopped,
and the shell of resentment,
which makes no sound at all,
as if all those shells loaded into twin barrels
of stickittoyou and letemhaveit
could make whatever went wrong right.


  • In HUMAN INTEREST, Valerie Bandura hurls us through a landscape of birds falling from the sky, game shows and Kardashians. She shows us “a parched landscape / of strip malls, asphalt, and extended cab pickups / with wrap around decals.” Here is a place where “Nobody’s crazy. / And everyone is.” With a searing eye toward contemporary culture, Finn gives us a glimpse of America at its strangest. This is a wild and harrowing book for a wild and harrowing time.

    --Matthew Olzmann
  • Bandura’s poem make me cry. They reach into my pithy little heart and rip it out of my chest. She writes about Black Sabbath and guns and children and bad fathers and nutty sisters and Facebook and beautiful husbands and none of the language wants to pretend. She’s saying, "Come here. Come closer. I want to whisper something in your ear." But, it’s the ear of the world, of humanity.

    --Matthew Lippman

Valerie Bandura

Born in the former Soviet Union, Valerie Bandura's first book, Freak Show, was a 2014 Patterson Poetry Prize Finalist. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, The Gettysburg Review, ZYZZYVA, Alaska Quarterly Review, Crazyhorse, Mid-Atlantic Review, Third Coast, Prairie Schooner, River Styx, Beloit Poetry Review, Best New Poets, and many others. She was the recipient of fellowships and scholarships from the Vermont Studio Center and Bread Load Writer’s Conference. She teaches creative writing at Arizona State University where she lives with her husband, fiction writer Patrick Michael Finn, and their son.

Bandura Author page

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