The Blog

Spring Poetry Omnibus

Davy Knittle

Ali Cobby Eckermann’s Ruby Moonlight

Ali Cobby Eckermann’s Ruby Moonlight (Flood Editions, 2015) is a verse narrative focused on Ruby, an Aboriginal teenager, whose family is killed by white settlers in a late-nineteenth-century attack. Most of the poems follow Ruby after the massacre, as she meets and falls in love with Jack, a white fur trapper, and as she negotiates the aftermath of her loss. It’s Ruby’s attunement to the South Australian landscape and its animals, weather, and light that most strongly populates the poems and drives them forward.

John D’Agata's THE MAKING OF THE AMERICAN ESSAY

Frances Cannon

John D’Agata is a champion of the essay, a crusader for lost forms, a defender of nonfiction as an art. The recent publication of The Making of the American Essay, the third volume in D’Agata’s essay-anthology trilogy, shifts his position from expert to shaper; through his curation and introductions to these essays, D’Agata proves himself to be not only a scholar and proponent of the essay but also an artificer of the form. Rather than merely defining the essay for his readers, he enjoins them to write their own definitions.

Julie Marie Wade's WISHBONE, Sarah Manguso's THE GUARDIANS, and Maggie Nelson's THE ARGONAUTS

Kristina Marie Darling

From the very beginning, readers are conditioned to focus on the words that appear on the page, their semantic meaning and the larger architecture of plot and theme to which they give rise. It is not often that writers ask us to look away from the text proper, to consider what is possible within the margins of a literary work, or even within the small spaces between the words themselves. Yet three recent books of lyric nonfiction envision this negative space as an opportunity to leave some things unsaid within the work, suggesting possibilities more powerfully than exposition ever could.

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