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Spring 2018

INTERVIEWS:

A New Enlightenment: An Interview with Steven Pinker
Renowned cognitive scientist Steven Pinker discusses the impetus for his new book, which explores many improvements in the human condition.
Interviewed by Allan Vorda and Shawn Vorda

Remembering the Magic Year: An interview with Danny Goldberg
A music industry titan discusses how he turned his passion for music into a varied career, one that includes authoring books.
Interviewed by Rob Couteau

The Paradox of Happiness: An Interview with Aminatta Forna
A lawyer and writer with both a Scottish and Sierra Leonean background, Forna is the author of a memoir and four acclaimed novels, including the recent Happiness which she discusses here.
Interviewed by Allan Vorda, with Nina Shanu and Jennifer Otalor

I’m Still Trying to Figure It Out: An Interview with Noah Falck
Poet, educator, curator, urbanist, and editor Falck discusses his poetry and commitment to his adopted poetry community in Buffalo, NY.
Interviewed by Aidan Ryan

FEATURES:

Four Irish Authors:
A Hagiography of Heaven and Vicinity by Michael Joyce
Joyride to Jupiter by Nuala O’Connor
Colours Other Than Blue by Anthony Glavin
Ferenji and Other Stories by Helena Mulkerns

These four books of prose and poetry by contemporary Irish authors shows the wide variety of talents and styles the Emerald Isle has produced lately. Reviewed by M. G. Stephens

COMICS & ART REVIEWS:

Spinning
Tillie Walden
Walden’s graphic memoir is a very careful, mostly melancholy, braided narrative about how to identify false starts, how to find true friends, and how to extricate yourself from institutions and norms that aren’t for you. Reviewed by Stephanie Burt

Monograph
Chris Ware
In this massive monograph, the renowned Chris Ware collects and comments on photos, paintings, reproduced pages from his comics—both in rough and finished form—as well as his sketchbooks and personal journals. Reviewed by Steve Matuszak

POETRY REVIEWS:

Late Empire
Lisa Olstein
In her fourth collection, Olstein throws herself into a disturbing discussion about 21st-century realities. Reviewed by Denyse Kirsch

Two by Ryszard Krynicki: Our Life Grows and Magnetic Point
Two new translations show off the fearless and bold work of poet Ryszard Krynicki, who grew up in post-war Poland and dared to speak out against the official lies of the regime. Reviewed by John Bradley

Make Yourself Happy
Eleni Sikelianos
Eleni Sikelianos writes whimsically about how to "make ourselves happy" while sounding a strong cautionary note about the risks to the biosphere if we focus solely on our own well-being. Reviewed by Linda Lown-Klein

Commodore
Jacqueline Waters
Waters’s mesmerizing book demonstrates the difficulties of consistency in a world where we take balance and stability in our daily lives for granted. Reviewed by Greg Bem

The Aeneid
Virgil
Translated by David Ferry
Every new translation holds its mirror up to the original, so we might ask: by what features might a reader in English come to know Virgil in Ferry’s version? Reviewed by Anshuman Mody

Civil Twilight
Jeffrey Schultz
The title for Schultz’s National Poetry Series winning collection is spot-on; the book is obsessed with the ways in which our society obscures our ability to see clearly. Reviewed by J.G. McClure

Marvels of the Invisible
Jenny Molberg
In her first book, Jenny Molberg utilizes a scientific lens in poems that are both memoirs and detailed descriptions of life forces. Reviewed by George Longenecker

Never Made in America: Selected Poems of Martín Barea Mattos
Martín Barea Mattos
Translated by Mark Statman
For the first time, English readers can get to know the poems of visual artist and musician Martin Barea Mattos, a leading figure among contemporary poets in Uruguay. Reviewed by Eileen Murphy

FICTION REVIEWS:

The Endless Summer
Madame Nielsen
Danish artist Madame Nielsen’s novel is a lush read, best done in a single sitting, for its prose is luxurious and tumbling. Reviewed by Richard Henry

Glimpse of Light: New Meditations on First Philosophy
Stephen Mumford
Philosopher Mumford crafts a fictional narrative around his meditations: A man “withdraws into solitude” to do some thinking. Reviewed by Scott F. Parker

Mouths Don’t Speak
Katia D. Ulysse
Ulysse’s powerful first novel Mouths Don’t Speak explores suffering, both physical and emotional, and one Haitian woman’s search for closure. Reviewed by Julia Stein

Frankenstein in Baghdad
Ahmed Saadawi
Saadawi’s new horror novel has the simple but timely premise of retelling Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in the context of Baghdad during the Iraq War. Reviewed by Matthew M. Pincus

Blossoms and Blood
Mark SaFranko
SaFranko continues the “biography” of his fictional alter-ego, Max Zajack, working in a literary style reminiscent of John Fante and Charles Bukowski. Reviewed by Zack Kopp

NONFICTION REVIEWS:

Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit
Chris Matthews
The host of MSNBC’s Hardball has synthesized a familiar story into a brisk biography in which he casts Kennedy’s life as an existential progress of the soul. Reviewed by Mike Dillon

Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner
Paul M. Sammon
Originally published in 1996 and now in its third edition, Future Noir does a great job of exploring the iconic movie through interviews and essays. Reviewed by Ryder W. Miller

Black and Blur by Fred Moten
Epistrophies: Jazz and the Literary Imagination by Brent Hayes Edwards

Moten’s Black and Blur joins with Edwards’s Epistrophies in challenging the longstanding status music has consistently held as “the top” influence within the African American artistic literary tradition. Reviewed by Patrick James Dunagan

Knowing Knott: Essays on an American Poet
Edited by Steven Huff
Fifteen disparate voices try to make sense of their sometimes uncomfortable, always unconventional, relationships with the late Bill Knott's dissatisfied self and deeply affecting art. Reviewed by Cindra Halm

Letters to His Neighbor
Marcel Proust
The latest discovery of letters Proust wrote to his upstairs neighbor during the composition of In Search of Lost Time will delight any Proustian. Reviewed by David Wiley

Perfect Wave: More Essays on Art and Democracy
Dave Hickey
While the essays in Perfect Wave largely maintain the pugnacity of Hickey's early works, it is also a book that departs from the zeal and optimism of his heyday. Reviewed by Sean Nam

Making Rent in Bed-Stuy: A Memoir of Trying to Make It in New York City
Brandon Harris
This memoir, presented in connected film and cultural writings, tells the story of the ambitions and frustrations of a young filmmaker in the decade after his college graduation. Reviewed by Joseph Houlihan

Rain Taxi Online Edition Spring 2018 | © Rain Taxi, Inc. 2018