Book Reviews

Reviewed by:
Aviya Kushner
For the sixty-six years of its existence, Israel has been a hotbed of political strife and economic struggle, and the subject of passionate discussion about what the country should and should not be. The difference between the grand dream of Israel and the often problematic contemporary reality is a main subject of Who Will Die Last, a collection of short stories by David Ehrlich, who... more
Reviewed by:
Sadie Shorr-Parks
A pattern of traveling and returning can leave a man with a motley tongue. Jeremy B. Jones’s language is one of the many frustrating contradictions he faces when he returns to Bearwallow in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, where his family has resided for two centuries. When an older fellow in a grocery store parking lot asks Jones and his wife, "So ya’ll’s mountain folk?" Jones... more
Reviewed by:
Carlo Matos
Kathleen Rooney’s wonderful novel-in-poems, Robinson Alone, tells the story of Robinson, Weldon Kees’s quasi-persona, as he—like his progenitor—makes his way to New York City from the Midwest, travels cross country to San Francisco with a wife who is slowly falling into alcoholism, and finally disappears at the age of forty-one. Like Kees, it is unknown if Robinson makes his way to... more
Reviewed by:
Julie Marie Wade
Miami is the best place to be during National Poetry Month, no question. I’ve only lived here two years, and I have already willingly consumed prodigious quantities of the local literary Kool-Aid. Thanks to P. Scott Cunningham, founder of the annual O, Miami Poetry Festival, and a diverse and committed group of south Florida poets, every day of the month of April is dedicated to multiple poetry-... more
Reviewed by:
Janis Butler Holm
An entire book composed solely of lists on Facebook? Please—spare me. Or so one might think before reading Matias Viegener's 2500 Random Things about Me Too, a memoir-like experiment in nonfiction constraint writing. In this tour de force, Viegener—artist, writer, critic, and teacher at the California Institute of the Arts—has taken postmodern fragmentation to its successful extreme,... more

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Reviewed by:
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... more
Reviewed by:
Christopher Prewitt
When one reads Eklund’s poetry, one draws comparisons to Péret with his figurative, associative language, especially as it pertains to Eklund’s metaphors, which at times can also bring to mind García Lorca. From the poem “Burning Milk”:We’d yet to see a whole city burnOnly waiting for what would leakFrom the big eggs of our ideas,From the palm of a broken handNailed to the sky.What sets Eklund’s latest full-length Each Breath I Cannot Hold... more
Reviewed by:
Ruth Williams
Though Jeongrye Choi is the author of four books of poetry in her native South Korea, her work has been largely unavailable to American audiences; however, with Instances, a translation of Choi’s selected poems by Brenda Hillman, Wayne De Fremery, and Jeongrye Choi herself, English readers now have the opportunity to encounter one of South Korea’s most intriguing women poets.In a prefatory note to the collection, Brenda Hillman quotes... more
Reviewed by:
Michael Martin Shea
Water Puppets, Quan Barry’s third full-length collection and winner of the 2010 Donald Hall Prize in Poetry, is anything but puppetry, striking a forceful blow against the idea of poetry as naïve navel-gazing. It takes as its motivating question, “What does poetry have to do with the real world?” and throws an emphatic response, as Barry builds a narrative at once personal and political, reflecting on her own past as an immigrant from... more
Reviewed by:
Chris Martin
You may come to this book looking for a stance on Beauty. You may come to it looking for more Snoop Dogg references. You may come looking for a catalog of Mark Leidner’s Twitter feed. In each of these cases you will arrive misguided, but by the time you realize it you will be halfway through this immanently readable book and a couple of express stops past your intended subway exit. In adopting the serial aphorism for his debut collection of... more

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