Review: Wilkes-Barre Cry Break

Wilkes-Barre Cry Break by Casey Dean is my book of the month for September 2021. It can be downloaded digitally here. You can also follow Casey Dean's work on Instagram; her handle is @caseywritesthings. Casey's writing is innately special. She has the ability to transport you elsewhere while allowing you to witness what she has lived and feel every single step.


Wilkes-Barre Cry Break, a short digital collection, moves you with every page. With sharpness and softness, Dean traverses memory, experience and grief; you feel every hope, fear and wish. The style is uniquely Casey Dean — poetry imbued with narrative and a voice. Dean is not beholden to rules or cliches, her writing is free and it is this which moves you both metaphysically and emotionally.


Dean reflects upon love, lust, loss and how all three are inextricably tied together; how the knots are sometimes too tight or too easy to loosen. In all of this, it is about being human, being a woman. These pieces question what is means to love and what society believes this to be, what it means to settle down and how this differs for women, how heavy the expectations are, how we are taught to regret or to ruminate upon our choices, while those who hurt us walk free (in body and mind).


All of which is grounded in landscape, in place, in the earth. Dean has pulled sunrises and sunsets from the sky, snow from the mountains and still twitching rock from Icelandic volcanoes, to breathe life into the ache of living.


In this collection, Casey Dean has allowed the past to survive before burying it in a bed of softness and hope, so she could finally allow herself to live.