Author Archive

Kinetic Orality in 1919

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Eve L. Ewing fills her poems with bodies and voices. This interplay between rhythm and language becomes a means by which the marginalized speak; kinetic orality is a response to the recurring nature of systemic racism in that it thrives on both repetition and improvisation.

The Radical Grief of Obit

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
The elegies in Victoria Chang’s new collection show us how grief radiates from a central loss inwardly toward self-examination, and outwardly toward collective grief.

The Fancy and Imagination of Herman Melville

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
The frolicking of sailors aboard a ship’s deck reminds Herman Melville of young horses, which might lead him to the “gambols” of whales. In associations such as these, Melville shows us the incongruities and false gilding we add to life in order to make it more palatable, less terrifying.

The Angel in the Woods

Emily Dickinson knew that modesty and self-confidence, blended together, would disarm her reader and delight and mystify the people around her. Shirking conventionality offered her a modicum of freedom and enlarged her presence simultaneously; she was both eccentric spinster and white-clad angel, depending on how you saw her.

The Lap as Site of Resistance in Layli Long Soldier’s Whereas

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Layli Long Soldier’s 2017 poetry collection is—beyond its brilliant depiction of colonialism’s legacy—also a book about liminal spaces and stolen time, by which I mean, the dilemma of the mother/maker or mother/artist.

The Art of Conversation in Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s 1982 book confounds expectations at every turn. Specifically, there’s something monumental about the text’s extreme lack of metaphor, its striving toward objective observation, that feels to me—in this moment—absolutely poetic.

America and The River Twice

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Kathleen Graber’s newest collection asks how much her speaker is to blame for what she sees as troubling in American culture, and how identity might be formed in the crucible of condemnation.

Sadness, Metaphor, and Pedagogy in The Sword in the Stone

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
In the first book of T. H. White’s Arthurian saga, published in 1938, a young Arthur feels restless and sulky. Arthur’s stepfather shoos him away to Merlyn’s study for advice and a little cheering up, and Merlyn tells his pupil, “The best thing for being sad is to learn

Wuthering Heights and Language Play

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
What if Emily Brontë’s achievement in her only novel is really its dramatic correlation to her own passage from child actor to adult novelist, serving as a natural extension of her language play, and espousing play as necessary work?

The Secret Horror of The Haunting of Hill House

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
A secret horror isn’t magically eradicated because its spoken aloud. Rather, its implications spread, deepen, further infiltrating our complex web of relationships, our motivations, our dreams. In fact, some horrors can’t be named; the words fail us.