The Blog


Karen An-hwei Lee

Illuminating the inner life of a remarkable Bostonian woman of arts and letters, Norma Farber’s slender collection was gathered and published posthumously by her son, the Berkeley poet Thomas Farber. Married forty years to Sidney Farber, the oncologist pioneer of chemotherapy, Norma Farber (1909-1984) was a poet, concert vocalist, and translator. Year of Reversible Loss is the year-long journal composed in the months after her husband’s demise. Now available nearly three decades after her passing, this elegant book presents a record of Farber’s lyric meditations from April, the month of her late husband’s death, through March of the following year. 

Peter Richards's HELSINKI

Matt Miller

Published a little more than ten years ago, Peter Richard's first book, Oubliette, took on major themes concerning the nature of time, solitude, and mythmaking and responded to them with a dark, lyrical intensity that seemed completely unique. Richards arrived at a time when many young poets were looking for something new and surprising that was neither ideological and academic, like most Language Poetry, nor naively autobiographical, like the countless post-confessional backyard epiphanies that still populate most literary journals. One group's porridge was too cool, and the other's was, if not too hot, too bland. Oubliette was something bold, fresh, and idiosyncratic. A relevant heir to Keats, Richards demonstrated negative capability in the teeth of post-modernity, as well as the ability to "load every line with ore" and consistently delight by surprise.


Tim Wood

Duane Esposito’s new book of poems Declaration for Your Bones is a slim, elegant volume easily read in one sitting, but you probably should be sitting. The best poems in the volume meet the high bar that Emily Dickinson set for poetry: they knock the top of your head off. The volume begins:

      We’re a skull that cannot close

      Around a brain of light—

The poems delve into the sedimented grief that one carries and brings into relationships with a spouse and then with children, and how that pain affects perspectives on the world and on politics. It often seems to make the contours of the world sharper and the desire for peace and justice more keen. It also makes it possible to utter difficult truths about our inability to attain such ideals.

On Quixotica: Howard Junker's AN OLD JUNKER

Philip Kobylarz

A cornucopia of urbanity. An armoire of intellectualism. A cabinet of curiosities. A museum of the quotidian. An herbarium of the fruition of a mind. A college of what isn’t taught in the grove. A compendium of compendia.

All of the above describe Howard Junker’s autobiographical-novel-slash-finished-work-in progress, An Old Junker: A Senior Represents—a collection that blissfully defies definition. A series of blogs stemming from his decades-long stint as the editor of Zyzzyva is the literal classification. A more vague attempt towards defining the wealth of knowledge, sentiment, cantankerousness, and insight this volume possesses might just position it somewhere between daybook and memoir.

Shirley Jackson Awards interview Jason Ockert

TIR staff

In April, we announced that Jason Ockert's dark and fantastic short story "Max" (which appeared in TIR 41/1) had been nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award, an annual prize for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic.

While the SJA folks haven't yet chosen a winner, they chatted with Jason about his story and posted the interview here: Must be a good sign, right?


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