Book Reviews Archive

In Bookstores Near You

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William Wenthe’s latest collection, God’s Foolishness (winner of the L.E. Phillabaum Poetry Award with LSU Press), begins in mid-August, weighted with back to school and the anticipation for new opportunities . . . but also the dissatisfaction of unfulfilled goals.

Review: INHERITED DISORDERS: STORIES, PARABLES, & PROBLEMS by Adam Ehrlich Sachs

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The shorts are wide-ranging. Some are heartbreaking in less than 500 words; others are unexpectedly hilarious whether outright or with a darker flavor to their humor. Disorders is a contemporary stable of parables not only about fathers and sons, but about the everyday struggle to live one’s life in

3 Chapbook Reviews: Own Your Past, Believe The Present, Anticipate the Future

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For August, I read three chapbooks that dealt with ideas of past, present, and future in both overlapping and contrasting ways. They also each somehow dealt with ideas of spaces that became place for the writers, though sometimes these places were more about time than physical geography.

The Myth of the Wild

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Helen Macdonald’s choice to raise and train a goshawk in the wake of her father’s death is a decision tied inexorably to the notion of “wild” life and land. H is for Hawk is a sensitive, fraught, and unexpected memoir of land and what it means to be wild.

Review: WHISKEY, ETC.: SHORT (SHORT) STORIES by Sherrie Flick

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In her miniature portraits of a failed salesman transformed through food, a forgetful elderly woman, a young woman making dinner for a sometime-boyfriend at the same moment that he is dying, Flick examines seduction and heartbreak, the complications of new relationships, the dynamics of long-time ones, love, loss, and

Why is THE LONG GOODBYE so Long?

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Detective novels are meant to grab you, kick you in the gut, hoist you up by your cheap lapels, and carry you along riveted as you stagger through the L.A. streets. On your journey you’ll drink from flasks, resist femmes fatales (or not), and compromise your principles.

Review: THE AFTER PARTY by Jane Prikryl

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Jana Prikryl’s The After Party is one of those rare debut volumes, like Stevens’s Harmonium, in which we meet an already fully-inhabited voice. In some such cases, much unforeseeable development may be in store, as with Graham’s Hybrids of Plants and Ghosts; sometimes, as with Delmore Schwartz’s In Dreams

Review: TAKING BULLETS: TERRORISM AND BLACK LIFE IN TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY AMERICA by Haki R. Madhubuti

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The waning months of President Obama’s presidency coupled with the populist ascendancy of Donald Trump has seemingly expedited feelings of fear, loathing, and endless uncertainty among many. To some, Obama’s ascendancy was supposed to usher in a post-racial democracy that would rescue, resuscitate, and render the American dream (or

Divine Inspiration: Letting Dante Lead Me

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When I arrived in Florence for an extended trip, I was determined not to look like a tourist. I wanted to carry a leather-bound notebook and sit at sidewalk cafes drinking cappuccinos and looking thoughtful. Mostly, I wanted to read The Decameron and the last two books of The

Blackberries Forever

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In “Trances of the Blast,” the poem from the book by the same name, Mary Ruefle begins with a question and answer: “What is the code for happiness?/Blackberries forever.” Although the book—Trances of the Blast—came out several years ago, this particular line has haunted me ever since.