Book Reviews Archive

The Stroke of A Pen

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The Stroke of a Pen: Essays on Poetry and Other Provocations Samuel Hazo University of Notre Dame Press, May 2011 136 pages $20.00 In the semi-rural pocket of Pennsylvania where I grew up, poets are a rarity. Last year, as I prepared to uproot my life and move to
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What we’re reading this summer in the Ploughshares office

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Ploughshares Staff Picks: Childhood, Summer, Fishing What follows is a potpourri of written works that the current Ploughshares staff compiled under the umbrella of summer reading. Whether adult or youth fiction, poetry or essay, each of these works embody pieces of the staff’s personality and interest. Get to know
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There is No Year

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Blake Butler Harper Perennial, April 2011 416 pages $15.99 Literary experimentation has been successfully blended with genre fiction before; Robert Coover’s Ghost Town used the western, and Paul Auster’s New York Triology, noir. And though Blake Butler may not be the first to try the trick with horror, no
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Pieces for Small Orchestra

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Norman Lock (illustrations by Sasha Meret) Spuyten Duyvil Press, April 2011 166 pages $16.00 On the surface, Norman Lock’s recent book, Pieces for Small Orchestra, is a collection of two novellas and two stories. Really, it’s a book of many books, all doling out the life (and dream-life) of
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A Riot of Goldfish

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A Riot of Goldfish Kanoko Okamoto (Translated by J. Keith Vincent) Hesperus Worldwide, January 2011 114 pages $15.95 David Mitchell, in his fine introduction to this slim volume of two novellas, writes that author Kanoko Okamoto’s great theme is the “frustrated striving for aesthetic perfection.” Certainly her novellas have
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The Pun Also Rises

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The Pun Also Rises John Pollack Gotham Books, April 2011 240 pages $22.50 I’ve long loved wordplay, and long been puzzled, too, that many in the literary community don’t—especially, it seems, in my peculiar branch of it in Boston. Aren’t writers meant to be passionate about words and all
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