The Blog

Deni Béchard's CURES FOR HUNGER

Joseph Holt

Some writers’ blurbs beg for expansion into full-length memoirs. Take, for instance, that of Deni Y. Béchard, a writer “born in British Columbia to a loving and health-conscious American mother and a French-Canadian father with a penchant for crime and storytelling.” Here is a writer born into not only a conflict of cultures, but also conflicts of care and violence, self-preservation and self-destruction. In Cures for Hunger, his memoir of youth, Béchard attempts to reconcile these conflicts.

Goodbye to All That, and Hello

Sarah Kosch

Well, it’s official. I am a full-fledged member of the real world. Maybe it’s too soon to make the call, but five days post-cap-and-gown, not much seems different. Classes are over. Homework is done. Iowa City is emptying. There’s an abandoned bed in the dumpster of my apartment and an outside trash-bag radius that is exponentially expanding further and further outward. My roommates have gone home for the summer, and there’s all the room in the world for my food in the refrigerator now. I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix. It could be just any other summer. But part of me knows I’m in denial, or at least avoidance. The summer I’m imagining is the same sunny stretch I always think of, the slow heat, lightning bugs, thunderstorms; the idealized summer I will never let go of, no matter how old I get.

How about a little novella that we can sell for 99 cents?

Russell Scott Valentino

A writer whose name I've now forgotten came to town earlier this spring and did a little craft session on self-publicity. I think he was a memoirist primarily, with a couple of books out, one of which had sold pretty well. He had a lot of suggestions, some of them very concrete, like "tweet three times daily," and "go to book festivals," and "see who the best, most prolific reviewers are on Amazon and make contact with them." I wrote these and other things down in my notebook one by one, my heart growing heavier with each tidbit. I am still trying to make sense of my reaction.

Erica Wright's INSTRUCTIONS FOR KILLING THE JACKAL

Nick Ripatrazone

Instructions for Killing the Jackal might not actually be a manual for killing Canis aureus, but it could be a guidebook for poets hoping to write with originality and confidence. The author of a previous chapbook, Silt (Dancing Girl Press 2009), and the poetry editor for Guernica, Erica Wright’s first full-length collection is clever and sleek, a swift read with sufficient gravity. The book is a paradox, and yet so is the jackal: monogamous and loyal, yet fiercely yapping when it discovers carrion. Wright’s collection includes small towns and abandoned TB hospitals, as well as poems set in Europe, where antiquity and myth bleed into the contemporary moment. Violence and pain subtly coexist, to the benefit of both elements.

Being Between

Russell Scott Valentino

Just back from the Pedogogies of Translation conference at Barnard College last weekend. While the title doesn't suggest that people were beating down the doors to get in, it was a full house, with plenty of lively debate and discussion. The event was sponsored by Barnard's Center for Translation Studies and co-organized by center director Peter Connor and translation studies scholar and translator Lawrence Venuti. TIR patrons may recall that Venuti's "Towards a Translation Culture" was the inaugural essay in its Forum on Literature and Translation last year.

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