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 … Continue reading Review: Ben Lerner’s The Hatred of Poetry
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 … Continue reading So Much for That Winter
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 … Continue reading Jamaal May’s The Big Book of Exit Strategies
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.
By Katie McClendon In The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters continues her tradition of weaving a story filled with tension. Waters is known for novels that combine historical elements with plot-driven storylines often fueled by romance. Her first book, Tipping the Velvet, became a BBC miniseries and won the Betty Trask Award. Affinity, her second novel, … Continue reading The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
Bill Morris’ new novel, Motor City Burning (Pegasus Books), begins on Opening Day at Tiger Stadium. It’s 1968, nearly a year since the race riots ravaged Detroit, and five days since the death of Martin Luther King Jr. This immediate submersion into baseball-and-hot-dog Americana and fraught historical context establish the duality of Morris’s novel: Motor … Continue reading After the Fire: Bill Morris’ Motor City Burning
First course: some “bathtub gin,” Baba’s dice left on the kitchen table, all the malt liquor poured out for loved ones. Second course: the roughage of “every page of the bible” to cleanse the pallet. The main course, the whole enchilada: “a city so ruined, it is perfect” with julienned pit bull—a mornay of “gunmetal … Continue reading Michael Mlekoday: The Dead Eat Everything, Including this Review
When I was growing up in my own beleaguered industrial hometown, there was a kid in the neighborhood so famous for his grossness we didn’t accuse each other of having cooties, but The Gordie Touch. Gordie was a chubby special ed kid with cracked thick-lensed glasses and a shabby buzz cut. He wore stained hand-me-down … Continue reading Brass City: Xhenet Aliu’s Domesticated Wild Things
If New Jersey were the universe, Noelle Kocot would be its soul. No, wait. If Noelle Kocot were the universe, her soul would be in New Jersey and her toes in the sea, settling down a hurricane. Better yet, if Noelle Kocot controlled the galaxy, Soul in Space (Wave Books), her latest poetry collection, would … Continue reading If Noelle Kocot Were Looking For A Noelle Kocot, She Would First Have To Fly To Noelle Kocot.
What first struck me about NoViolet Bulawayo’s novel of coming of age in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, We Need New Names, were the brilliant insults. Ten year old Darling, and her gang of friends – Bastard, Stino, Sbho, and Godknows (not Chipo, though—she hasn’t said a word since she got pregnant)—run through the shanties and guava orchards … Continue reading Snow & Guavas: NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names