Author Archive

Review: THIS IS WHY I CAME by Mary Rakow

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This is Why I Came Mary Rakow Counterpoint, December 15 2015 204 pp; $24 Buy hardcover | eBook To tell you that Mary Rakow’s lyrical novel This is Why I Came is a recasting of biblical narratives hardly sets the book apart—the Bible, with its knotty metaphors, unequaled cast
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The Words Beneath the Sound: Music Inspired by Literature

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As Virginia Woolf famously observed, the best writing often begins with a rhythmical “wave in the mind,” an inner tempo around which syntax and diction are arranged, a guiding beat of artistic intuition that, when struck upon, makes it nearly impossible to set down the wrong word. Other writers
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“Another Way to Honor the Book”: An Interview with Odette Drapeau

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Bookbinder Odette Drapeau has been internationally honored for her modern and dynamic approach to what is often considered a traditional craft. To Drapeau, the book is both “a visual and tactile object where the container and content can connect to generate other visions.” While continually experimenting with new concepts
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Review: SPILL SIMMER FALTER WITHER by Sara Baume

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How to express the unsayable in language? If there is one shared pursuit among writers, it is perhaps this: to capture an elusive essence, to paint emotion with words. In her debut novel Spill Simmer Falter Wither, Irish author Sara Baume meets this enduring challenge to astonishing effect, adeptly
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Interplanetary Postcards: Lessons from the Martian School of British Poetry

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Emerging in the late 1970s and already diminishing by the early 1980s, Martianism was a short-lived yet influential movement in British poetry. Principally associated with Craig Raine and Christopher Reid*, it derived its name from the title poem of Raine’s second collection, A Martian Sends a Postcard Home (1979),
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Pursuing Essence through Ambiguity: On Kawabata’s Palm-of-the-Hand Stories

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Among the known instances of writers reworking published material, Japanese author Yasunari Kawabata stands apart for his seemingly untenable decision to turn his acclaimed novel Snow Country (for which, along with Thousand Cranes and The Old Capital, he received the 1968 Nobel Prize) into an eleven-page story. Kawabata completed
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“Uninhibited Openness”: An Interview with Dario Robleto, Materialist Poet

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Conceptual artist Dario Robleto has been aptly described as an alchemist, cultural archeologist, and “raconteur in the ancient way.” By his own definition, he is a “materialist poet”—a term that encapsulates his method of creating sculptural responses to lyrical material lists that mediate on the human condition. From black
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Remembering Forward: History Reclaimed through Poetry

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As sure as our perceptions of history are inherited, they are also incomplete. “History throws its shadow over the beginning,” wrote the poet Richard Siken. “History is a little man in a brown suit / trying to define a room he is outside of. / I know history. There
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A Gathering of Particulars: On Building a Word-Hoard

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It is fitting that the bowerbird roosts in the opening lines of Ted Hughes’s poem “A Literary Life,” for there is perhaps no better mascot for reader and writer both. The species is a known collector, spending the better part of the year building complicated huts from assorted novelties:
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The Formal Imagination of Oulipo

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Founded in 1960 by a collective of French mathematicians and writers, Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle (Workshop of Potential Literature), or Oulipo, was established to identify new forms of writing using numerical and alphabetical constraints. Early member Georges Perec, for example, structured his novel Life A User’s Manuel according to
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