Book Reviews Archive

Wonderful Investigations

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Wonderful Investigations Dan Beachy-Quick Milkweed Editions, April 2012 212 pages $20 Reading essays by poets is just plain fun. Take Dan Beachy-Quick. Author of five collections of poetry and now a second essay collection, Wonderful Investigations, he writes sentences like, “We must build a wall to find out that

Blurbese: “funny”

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Book reviewers’ relationship with the word “funny” is, well—a little funny. I’m somewhat sympathetic about this one, too, at least when it comes to novels that are deliberately comic, because it’s tough to review authors whose reputation is based entirely on humor. What, after all, can the word “funny”

AWP Book Review Contest: The Results!

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At AWP this year, we asked bookfair attendees to review a book—any book they liked—in one sentence. We got a lot of creative responses, from five words to fifty-three, from questions to statements to imperatives, and from glowing to critical to cryptic. We also got a lot of semicolons,

Minuet For Guitar

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Minuet For Guitar (In Twenty-Five Shots) Vitomil Zupan, trans. Harry Leeming Dalkey Archive, December 2011 400 pages $23.95 Scope: microscopic to galactic Tones: philosophical, dark, sarcastic With: tiny flecks of the bucolic Concerning: Slovenian partisan Berk, fighting in World War II As well as: former German soldier Joseph Bitter,

Dear Dr. Poetry…

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The Louisiana Purchase by Jim Goar Rose Metal Press, Nov. 2011 80 pages $15.95 Dear Dr. Poetry, I’ve been a middle school art teacher for twenty years, but thanks to budget cuts, I’ve recently had to begin teaching history, too. I’ve done my best to engage the students, assigning

Lost Classics: The Phantom Carriage

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[Editor’s note: Every few months, Akshay Ahuja will dig into the archives for an old book that has either fallen out of favor or never received the recognition it deserves. Feel free to add suggestions for future rediscoveries in the comments.] The Phantom Carriage Selma Lagerlöf Norvik Press, July

Poetry Week: Deep Field

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Deep Field Philip Gross Bloodaxe Books, November 2011 64 pages $21.95 Deep Field, by T. S. Eliot Prize-winner Philip Gross, charts the slow loss of the author’s father, John, to aphasia, an irreversible decline in the brain’s language faculties. Gross’s father, who once knew five languages, has lost his

Not Unlike…

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The Other Poems Paul Legault Fence Books, November 2011 72 pages $15.95 Editor’s note: P. Scott Stanfield holds a Ph.D. in English and teaches literature at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Recently, I challenged him to see how many references to other works and artists he could make in a single

Erin Go Plough: Some Staff Favorites for St. Patrick’s

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It’s time to get your Irish on.  I come from a family where the old aunts always proudly displayed their photos of JFK, I could swear in Gaelic by sixth grade, and we had a shillelagh in the house. Although we wore green on Saint Patty’s day, my mother

Women in Trouble: The Vanishers

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The Vanishers: A Novel Heidi Julavits Doubleday, March 2012 304 pages Shortly after Julia Severn, the heroine of Heidi Julavits’s fourth novel, drops out of the Institute of Integrated Parapsychology—or, “the Workshop,” an insular monoculture of clairvoyant parlor games, Fair Isle sweaters, and home-brewed tea—she is enlisted by a