The Blog

“Like a dissolve in transit”: Self and Motion in Jane Lewty’s BRAVURA COOL

Chris Pusateri

I often think that I would rather be a painter, but I am not. Among those poets working today, Jane Lewty is one who possesses qualities usually ascribed to visual artists. Her debut volume of poetry, Bravura Cool, imports the movements of the gestural into a textual space, and in doing so, reinvents the age-old dictum that there can be “no ideas but in things.”

The things of Lewty’s poetry are things in motion, and like humans themselves, they are best judged by their actions. That is, Lewty’s work is one of Newtonian inertia, but of the active rather than sedentary variety. Unlike the objects of Stein’s Tender Buttons, whose power relied on the force of their presence, Lewty redirects our attention toward the agency of things, how they not only populate but move through the world.

Clarice Lispector’s ÁGUA VIVA

Addie Leak

My first thought as I read Stefan Tobler’s translation of Água Viva for the first time was that I wanted to memorize it. All of it. A few moments later, I came to a passage in which Lispector acknowledges the mosaic quality of the work: “I know that after you read me it's hard to reproduce my song by ear, it's not possible to sing it without having learned it by heart. And how can you learn something by heart if it has no story?”

Come see us at the Iowa City Book Festival, Sat. 10/12

TIR staff

The 5th annual Iowa City Book Festival begins this Thursday, October 10, and runs through Sunday the 12th. On Saturday, October 12th, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., we'll be joining a score of booksellers (Prairie Lights!), publishers (Strange Cage!), and presses (Ice Cube!) on the ped mall in downtown Iowa City for the festival's bookfair.

Stop by and chat with our editors and score discounted copies of our new and recent issues or our fancy letterpress broadside featuring Alison Harney's poem "Hooked." Also, free Iowa Review pens! 

More info at

The schedule, in brief:

I’m the Girl Who Daydreams Her Own Funeral: Anna Journey's VULGAR REMEDIES

Maggie Millner

Anna Journey’s second book takes its name from an exhibit at L.A.’s Museum of Jurassic Technology called “Vulgar Remedies: Belief, Knowledge and Hypersymbolic Cognition.” The exhibit comprises folk cures and rituals predating modern medicine; the poetry collection features hypnotic fabulations on memory, fauna, and the body. At times tender and anecdotal, others grotesque and nightmarish, Vulgar Remedies explores the boundaries that divide—or fail to divide—the past from the present, the dead from the living, and the self from the object of its love. If these poems are remedies, they treat symptoms of heartbreak, pubescence, and the vertiginous business of being embodied.


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