Book Reviews

Reviewed by:
Nick Ripatrazone
In Liliana, the first section of Allison Seay's debut collection To See the Queen, the word “figment” appears enough to create a recursive rhythm. Typically appended to “of the imagination,” the word feels lost without the phrase, and is thus perfect fodder for poetry. Seay’s figment is malleable. It is first Liliana, but a ghost-self, something to be seen only if “I am still enough.”... more
Reviewed by:
Rachel Z. Arndt
“Did we feel then, or do we feel now?” is the first question in No Regrets—n+1's new book of discussions with twelve female writers, editors, academics, and artists—that comes from a participant, not the moderator. There are two important words in that question, both of them said twice. “We” establishes a unity among the participants, and “feel” establishes that that unity comes from... more
Reviewed by:
Beth Gilstrap
Last year was a tumultuous year for poetry. Two giants published articles lamenting poetry’s demise. Contemporary poets scratched their heads, banging out fiery responses. Yes, the literary world can be insular, particularly for poets, but it is staid only to those who willfully turn their attention to tired arguments of dying forms. One need only look to poets like John Gosslee and his recent... more
Reviewed by:
Brent House
As a child growing up in South Mississippi, I was given the chore of plucking the fascicles of pine needles that had fallen into the zigzag of the chain-link fence surrounding our family home; so, on a Saturday morning after a week of late-summer storms, I would carry a small metal bucket to the edge of our yard, I would pluck the needles fallen from forest to the wire, and, before I placed the... more
Reviewed by:
Karen An-hwei Lee
Under the editorial vision of Jeffrey Yang at New Directions, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge’s newest collection in seven years, Hello, the Roses, dazzles with her signature margin-to-margin lines on the physics of light, phenomenological structures of consciousness, botany, and human physiology. As her readerly fans would expect, a Berssenbrugge rose is strikingly radiant in a phenomenological,... more

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Reviewed by:
Nick Ripatrazone
In 1902, W.B. Yeats—according to his unused preface for Ideas of Good and Evil—told James Joyce that he had based his recent plays “on emotions or stories that I had got out of folklore.”[i]  Yeats also imbued the folk tradition in his Red Hanrahan stories in The Secret Rose, and collected Sligo County oral tales in Celtic Twilight.  Joyce called Yeats’s practice “deteriorating” but borrowed and revised Irish myth... more
Reviewed by:
Janelle Elyse Kihlstrom
In her thirteenth collection of poems, The White Cypress, Judith Skillman takes up again the tools of naturalistic observation and mythical allusion to examine difficult truths about the interior life of the self and its drives toward intimacy and seclusion, eroticism and entropy, as well as the paradox and complexity inherent in familial relationships. Skillman's tone is occasionally lofty but most often direct, incisive, unflinching.... more
Reviewed by:
Micah Bateman
“...[W]hile in transit, // things glitter.” —James Grinwis, from “Inupiat,” Exhibit of Forking Paths Every time the bucks went clattering Over Oklahoma A firecat bristled in the way.Wherever they went, They went clattering, Until they swerved In a swift, circular line To the right, Because of the firecat.Or until they swerved In a swift, circular line To the left, Because of the firecat.The bucks clattered. The firecat went leaping, To... more
Reviewed by:
Erica Mena
False Friends by Uljana Wolf, translated by Susan Bernofsky, is a delightful foray into language and poetry. Even for someone who has no knowledge of German, the playful shifts between the English translation and the German hinted at behind it are enlightening: both Bernofsky and Wolf clearly delight in the slipperiness of language and sound.Cognates and homonyms suffuse the poem, toying with seemingly straightforward sentences and... more
Reviewed by:
Jane Lewty
In Alain Robbe-Grillet’s novella La Jalousie (1957), the unnamed narrator, whose presence is delineated only by the arrangement of exterior objects, relays his observations from behind a slatted window. Meticulous attention is paid to every nuance of gesture and tone in an intimate relationship, thus producing a composite portrait of an environment. No drastic event occurs but the robotic details of human behavior are revealed for their... more

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