Book Reviews Archive

Confession, Communion: Three Poetry Chapbooks & Religion

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This month, I read work concerning religion in one way or another, though the chapbooks here are not dominated by or entrenched in it as a theme. Instead these three writers use religion and spirituality as a lens through which readers can view many aspects of their poetry.

Review: THE RULES DO NOT APPLY by Ariel Levy

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A staff writer for The New Yorker, Ariel Levy describes her beat as “women who are too much.

The Anthem Lucinda Williams Slipped Right Under Our Noses

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When Occupy Wall Street was at its height, I heard more than once the argument that the movement’s official song should be Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” (even the Financial Times called it the “ultimate anti-work anthem”). Parton’s lyrics—like “it’s a rich man’s game no matter what they call

Review: FAIL BETTER by Beyza Ozer

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Fail Better is expansive, moving across great distances to share with readers wholly intimate moments, but it is not a book that could be called timeless. Two poems in particular, “When I Kiss You, A Casket Opens” and “I’ve Watched Myself Die Twice This Week,” compel readers to reckon

Review: AN ARRANGEMENT OF SKIN by Anna Journey

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For Anna Journey, it starts at the University of Houston, during the last year of her PhD program. Away in Richmond, Virginia, for a literary conference arranged by a close friend and mentor, Journey begins the affair that will end her seven-year relationship.

Review: SCRATCH: WRITERS, MONEY, AND THE ART OF MAKING A LIVING edited by Manjula Martin

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Scratch, a collection of interviews and essays from writers spanning the gamut of genre, commercial success, race, gender, and class, boasts pieces from Alexander Chee, Roxane Gay, Yiyun Li, Porochista Khakpour, and Jonathan Franzen. Topics range from the gritty details of checks and debts to a philosophical pondering of

The Facts of Life: Poems and Real Deaths

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Lately, I keep running across poems in collections and in literary journals that use facts or trivia as part of, and sometimes the heart of, their piece. What place does the language of fact, of historical tidbits and pop culture trivia have within the language of poetry?

I Forgot to Remember to Forget: Three Poetry Chapbook Reviews

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For National Poetry Month this year, I read three poetry chapbooks that revolve around memory. Childhood memory, historical memory, the body’s learned memory, how place or sound or smell or language or popular culture evokes memory—the chapbooks here all touch on one or more or many of these themes.

Review: THE STRANGER IN THE WOODS: THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF THE LAST TRUE HERMIT by Michael Finkel

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In 1986, at the age of twenty, without saying goodbye to anybody (and ignoring the Tao’s declaration that, “the truly kind leave no one”), Knight entered the woods of central Maine and never looked back.

This Spring’s Best Books

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This spring, let your mind and heart wander where your feet might not take you—to far-off lands, to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and to the whiskey-making mountains of Appalachia—without ever leaving your bedroom. Here are our favorite picks for this season’s latest reads.