WINTER 2008/2009

Kevin Killian, Anne Fadiman, and many more...

INTERVIEWS

Reviving Jack Spicer: An Interview with Kevin Killian
Interviewed by Joseph Bradshaw
In an age when most writers apply their abilities toward highly specific ends, Kevin Killian stands as an alternative model for the wordsmith: relentlessly exploratory, unbound by generic proscriptions, and unsettlingly inclusive.

When in Rome: An Interview with John Domini
Interviewed by Emanuele Pettener
Over the last half a decade or so, John Domini has been working primarily on a sequence of novels set in Naples after the next earthquake; these seem poised to bring him a far wider level of recognition.

Reading ’til 3:00 am: An Interview with Anne Fadiman
Interviewed by Kevin Smokler
The work of Anne Fadiman is one of the best rebukes in contemporary letters to the moldy myth that a subject’s size is the best measure of its importance.

Language as Migration: An Interview with Mark McMorris
Interviewed by Grant Jenkins
Mark McMorris discusses his next volume of poetry, Entrepôt.

FEATURES

Chapbook Corner Round-up 2008
Reviewed, of course, by Noah Eli Gordon
This year-end edition of Chapbook Corner was so bursting at the seams that we couldn’t fit it in print.

The August Wilson Century Cycle
Reviewed by Justin Maxwell
And the winner is...

The Fire Next Time
Reviewed by Alex Starace
In the afterglow of Barack Obama’s historic victory, it may be instructive to look back on James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, which collects two early 1960s works evaluating race relations in Harlem at the dawn of the civil rights movement.

The Fight: Considering David Foster Wallace Considering You
Reviewed by Tim Jacobs
An overview of the underlying ethos in the late, great writer’s work.

Sister Corita Kent
Reviewed by Greg Bachar
Two books and documentaries bring to life the visionary artist from the Sixties.

REVIEWS: FICTION

Portions from a Wine-Stained Notebook
Charles Bukowski
For Bukowski lovers, this posthumous collection will provide a nice fix of signature elements: sex, booze, gambling, and domestic violence. Reviewed by Christopher Luna

A Partisan’s Daughter
Louis de Bernières
This solid follow-up to Corelli’s Mandolin once again shows off his penchant for black comedy, with a few sunny spots thrown in. Reviewed by John K. Cox

Something To Tell You
Hanif Kureishi
Kureishi tells the tale of a successful middle-aged psychotherapist living and working in London with mixed results. Reviewed by Charlotte Kelly

Katherine’s Wish
Linda Lappin
In this reimagining of Katherine Mansfield’s life, Lappin has built on textual evidence from journals, letters, and diary entries in order to adhere to “an overall sense of truth” which she renders as her own mosaic. Reviewed by Joyce J. Townsend

The King’s Last Song
Geoff Ryman
Noted speculative fiction author Geoff Ryman weaves together ancient legend with a gritty view of modern Cambodian life, and the pattern that emerges is surprising. Reviewed by Margaret Shaklee

Two Marriages
Phillip Lopate
The novellas in Two Marriages show that the “inescapable ego” of the essayist makes eternal islands (i.e. bachelors) of us all. Reviewed by Joseph Jon Lanthier

Final Silence
Ronald Flores
Senselessness
Horacio Castellanos Moya
Two Guatemalan novelists tackle the brutal topic of terrorism in their native land. Reviewed by Aaron Shulman

Nazi Literature in the Americas
Roberto Bolaño
Charting the lives of thirty-three invented writers from the Western Hemisphere, this satiric novel by the acclaimed Bolaño is one of his most innovative works yet. Reviewed by Luke Sykora

Vacation
Deb Olin Unferth
In this astonishing and unsettling first novel, Unferth explores the idea and intentions behind our getaway rituals. Reviewed by Stephanie Hlywak

My Father’s Wives
José Eduardo Agualusa
In this arresting novel, a missing father is used as a base from which to explore Angolan and personal identity. Reviewed by Jeff Bursey

Home
Marilynne Robinson
Robinson’s latest offers a challenging story played out in a Midwestern kitchen, involving heavy doses of theological discourse. Reviewed by Jill Stegman

Rumi: The Fire of Love
Nahal Tajaddod
A comprehensive and authoritative historical novel about the life and mind of the thirteenth-century Persian mystic. Reviewed by Rasoul Sorkhabi

Goldengrove
Francine Prose
Prose’s new work presents a young protagonist who confronts the death of her older sister and the ensuing grief that envelops the family. Reviewed by Joyce J. Townsend

Ghosts of Chicago
John McNally
This compelling collection of short stories finds universal themes in its portrayal of various dysfunctional Chicagoans. Reviewed by Leah Raven

REVIEWS: POETRY

The Baltic Quintet: Poems from Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden
Edited by Edita Page
This compilation discovers an intimate, self-conscious relationship with the natural world—and some sense of its elusive milieu. Reviewed by Amy Groshek

a gathering of matter a matter of gathering
Dawn Lundy Martin
Martin’s debut collection of poems is an artful scar winding over broken bonds of trust—trust in father and family, trust in men and mankind. Reviewed by Haines Eason

The Golden Boat: The Selected Poems of Srečko Kosovel
Kosovel is often called the Slovenian Rimbaud, and this comprehensive selection of poetry is the first available in English. Reviewed by Martin Balgach

Behind My Eyes
Li-Young Lee
Hieroglyphs collide head-on with parables, burning books, and “breath to fan the fire’s nest,” setting the stage for Lee’s latest collection. Reviewed by Kristina Marie Darling

French Symbolist Poetry
Translated by C.F. MacIntyre
The Yale Anthology of Twentieth-Century French Poetry
Edited by Mary Ann Caws
Two new volumes offer the history of French poetry from the period immediately preceding the twentieth century up to the present, amply demonstrating its range and vitality. Reviewed by by John Herbert Cunningham

My Vocabulary Did This to Me
Jack Spicer
This masterfully edited collection of Spicer’s poems allows readers to track the radical evolution of the poet’s style and come to a fuller understanding of Spicer’s significance in the American literary landscape. Reviewed by Stephan Delbos

The Golden Age of Paraphernalia
Kevin Davies
In this new collection, Davies’s poems literally leap across the page, and his taut constructions work to subvert the meaning of any given line. Reviewed by Steven Zultanski

Sources
Devin Johnston
Duncan scholar and poet Devin Johnston explores the conflation of the read and the lived in his aptly titled SourcesReviewed by Joseph Bradshaw

A Message Back and Other Furors
Leonard Schwartz
In this furious study of language and form, Schwartz draws attention to the familiar and the foreign, often subverting their dichotomy. Reviewed by Craig Santos Perez

REVIEWS: NONFICTION

Sheer Fiction: Volume IV
Paul West
The impressive four volumes of West’s literary essays comprise the equivalent of a master class in the appreciation of reading others and the hard-won joy in writing one’s own works. Reviewed by Jeff Bursey

Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations
Georgina Howell
Bell, a British woman who became an archaeologist, spy, linguist, author, photographer, and mountaineer at the turn of the twentieth century, comes to life as a female Lawrence of Arabia in this portrait. Reviewed by Victoria Erhart

Loneliness as a Way of Life
Thomas Dumm
Dumm engages loneliness as it manifests in literature, film, essay—those textual friends who keep loneliness at bay and help make sense of the world in all its seeming emptiness. Reviewed by Spencer Dew

The Angel of Grozny: Orphans of a Forgotten War
Åsne Seierstad
Author of the international bestseller The Bookseller of Kabul turns her sights on the victims of Russia’s war with and dominance over Chechnya. Reviewed by Ellen Frazel

Correspondence: Georges Bataille and Michel Leiris
Edited by Louis Yvert and translated by Liz Heron
A newly translated volume of correspondence between Bataille and one of his most intimate friends, the writer and ethnographer Michel Leiris, exposes the creativity behind their aesthetic and personal oppositions. Reviewed by Jeremy Biles

The Liberal Imagination
Lionel Trilling
A reprint of Trilling’s essays, originally collected in 1950, gives us a keen perspective of literary criticism in its heyday. Reviewed by Alison Liss

Reborn: Journals & Notebooks 1947-1963
Susan Sontag
Sontag’s early journals follow her life from the age of fourteen until the age of thirty, revealing a “besotted aesthete” in the making. Reviewed by Megan Doll

A Scholar’s Tale: Intellectual Journey of a Displaced Child of Europe
Geoffrey Hartman
This slim memoir by a leading figure in literary criticism has the pleasant feel of an after-dinner monologue delivered by a brilliant man with a storied past. Reviewed by Spencer Dew

The Year of Henry James: The Story of a Novel
David Lodge
In these collected essays, Lodge discusses literary self-consciousness as well as how his famed novel Author, Author ran afoul of the Man Booker prize. Reviewed by Jerome Klinkowitz

REVIEWS: GRAPHIC NOVELS

Wet Moon Volumes 1-4
Ross Campbell
The gender- and genre-bending images of Wet Moon engage the reader in a delirious regress of identification and objectification. Reviewed by John Pistelli

Too Cool To Be Forgotten
Alex Robinson
Skyscrapers of the Midwest
Joshua W. Cotter
Bottomless Belly Button
Dash Shaw
Three recent graphic novels take different approaches to the coming-of-age narrative but all succeed in sketching in some intriguing details about the genre. Reviewed by Eric Lorberer

Rain Taxi Online Edition, Winter 2008/2009 | © Rain Taxi, Inc. 2008/2009