From Review

Review: Ben Lerner’s The Hatred of Poetry

by Bess Cooley, Managing Editor It makes sense to begin where Ben Lerner begins The Hatred of Poetry—with an excerpt from Marianne Moore’s poem “Poetry.” She writes, “One discovers in / it, after all, a place for the genuine.” Lerner writes that there’s “no such thing” as a genuine poem. Poetry only offers a place for it, and maybe that’s at the root of hatred for it—a hatred this book understands and tries to permeate rather than diffuse. It’s Moore’s “a place for the genuine” [emphasis added] that Lerner lights on as a fairer expectation to put on poetry. He…

So Much for That Winter

A Review of Dorthe Nors’ So Much for That Winter by Hannah Rahimi Cynicism and hope jostle for position in Dorthe Nors’ new pair of novellas, as Nors addresses crucial questions of contemporary existence with great humor and humanity. In “Minna Needs Rehearsal Space,” an avant-garde musician is torn between a need for creative solitude and a desire to connect, easily menaced by the brash reality of adult life—a smug mothers’ group, a narcissistic ex-lover, an overbearing sister, and acquaintances whose attachments and demands take on parasitic proportions. Her artistic temperament renders her particularly vulnerable to the callousness of contemporary…

Jamaal May’s The Big Book of Exit Strategies

Review By: Bess Cooley, Managing Editor Birds searching for bread. A fist fight. Fences. Lampposts. All these in the first two poems, immediately setting up Jamaal May’s second poetry collection, The Big Book of Exit Strategies. This is an urban book, a book of city landscapes—particularly Detroit, the author’s hometown. The second poem in this collection, “There Are Birds Here,” immediately subverts expectations of what Detroit will look like in this book. After May writes that bread is torn for the birds “like confetti,” he clarifies:   I don’t mean the bread is torn like cotton, I said confetti, and…

Review: Sjohnna McCray’s Rapture

The collection is a glimpse into one person’s life thus far—and it’s a stunning glimpse, like living through somebody else, sifting through family history documents and discovering what lies behind them.