Exploring “Withoutness” in Solmaz Sharif’s Customs

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Solmaz Sharif’s language is spare and all the more sharp for what remains. Her poems explore “withoutness” in one’s history, and it’s through that withoutness that this collection takes shape, revealing an enormity of presence, of emotion, and of meaning.

Solmaz Sharif’s Look and the Reclamation of the Stories of Those Redacted and Erased

While Solmaz Sharif’s poems tackle large subjects that concern large populaces, you can also see the power of the personal in her work. In fact, it is her personal journey that makes her 2016 collection universal: the closer you get to a subject, the more universal it becomes.

The Homo Sacer Figure and The Time Traveler’s Wife

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While Giorgio Agamben notes many modern examples of his homo sacer figure, another can be found in Audrey Niffenegger’s 2003 novel, via her reluctant time traveler, Henry.

The Disembodiment of Work in Severance and Several People Are Typing

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Ling Ma and Calvin Kasulke’s novels explore the disembodiment of contemporary work culture as a grand coping mechanism, providing characters with a numbing, and even joyful, distraction from ongoing trauma.

The Insomnia and Dream Visions of Medieval Literature

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Medieval literature’s exploration of insomnia demonstrates a grappling with what it means to live with, and accept, fear and anxiety.

Tracking Time in Kate Zambreno’s Drifts

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Kate Zambreno’s 2020 novel explores the self that comes into being through an ongoing “dynamic contemplation” and co-creation with the surrounding world, and the idea that all that ever happens is our understanding of what happens to us, and how we filter that through our minds, mediated by our

The Joy of a Disabled Life

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Nancy Mairs’s 1996 essay collection has a clear, singular, and unfortunately still radical intention: to demonstrate to “readers . . . who need, for a tangle of reasons, to be told that a life commonly held to be insufferable can be full and funny.”

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Disruption of Language

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The difficulty of communication between writer and reader illustrates the instability and contradiction Theresa Hak Kyung Cha saw in the roles she inhabited. Cha understood herself as a series of multiple, fragmented identities, the makeup of which could not be fully or accurately articulated using the crude tools of

States of Unknowing in Paul Tran’s All the Flowers Kneeling

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Tran’s poems are an antidote to a world that asks us to prioritize progress over reflection, mastery over ambiguity. Their collection is a necessary reminder that states of unknowing, too, are fruitful.

The Afterlife of History

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By taking the imperialist Cecil John Rhodes and his readers through a history of Africa and its diaspora, Adekeye Adebajo interrogates Eurocentric history and what it chooses to suppress.