I was drawn to He Says I’m Fierce by Richmond, Va., poet Debbie Collins after hearing her read from the collection, and I’ve found myself returning to its pages again and again. The poems are bracingly honest and spare. They do not shy away from facing head on the struggles of addiction and the ups and down of relationships. Yet Collins’ language and imagery weave a magic that pulls you in. I was at the bar, nursing/a martini of broken men, she writes in the poem “Entertain Me.” In “The Third Saturday in June,” the poet describes seeing an old lover with his new wife, saying Pity? No thanks,/I’ve got plenty, tangled/in her veil and in/his laugh. “The sky is in a hurry” in Please Leave. And in “such a good boy,” two lovers argue about the ties holding them together in the produce section of the grocery store,/as we set ourselves on fire in front of the tomatoes. This wonderful debut left me hungry to read more of Collins’ work. He Says I’m Fierce can be purchased here.