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By Sally Zakariya

You don't have to like bugs to enjoy Insectomania, the new book by poet Sally Zakariya. Billed as "Poems, Pictures, and Choice Words about Our Six-Legged Friends and Foes," Insectomania is a small gem, lavishly illustrated with 19th-century naturalist engravings and studded with wise and witty sayings about insects.

Zakariya admits she wasn't "one of those kids who spent hours in the backyard with a magnifying glass studying bugs." In fact, she says in the book's Introduction, she isn't particularly fond of insects, at least not most of them. But, she asks, "Who can fail to be moved by a life cycle that starts with years of grubbing, followed by a short span of mating, and then death. Rather like our own lives, writ small."

And that's where Zakariya's wry but thoughtful poems take off. Like them or not, in her poem "Likeness," she concludes of insects

        And yet the cunningness of their
        construction, the clever play of
        part and purpose, merits admiration.

Zakariya's poems and articles have appeared in numerous journals, most recently in Third Wednesday, Evening Street Review, Theodate, and Southern Women's Review. A collection of her poems, Arithmetic, was published in 2011. Her poetry has won prizes from the Poetry Society of Virginia and the Virginia Writers Club. With an eye for the quirky illustration, Zakariya has designed and self-published illustrated alphabet books on food, literature, and anatomy. She lives in Arlington, Virginia, and blogs at

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