Online Edition: Spring 2003

Interviews

20 Questions for Jordan Ellenberg

Jordan Ellenberg's new novel, The Grasshopper King, follows the misadventures of a foul-mouthed misanthropic poet in a small American college. Ellenberg, a math teacher at Princeton, discusses his raucous campus tale as well as the lure of checkers, the pathos of baseball, and the pleasures of one-man languages. Interviewed by Stephen Burt

Shifting the Subject:
an interview with kari edwards

Poet, artist, and gender activist kari edwards plays with gender construction and the impossibility of a stabilized identity in her new novel, a day in the life of p. In this interview edwards talks about the construction and deconstruction of the subject in experimental writing. Interviewed by akilah oliver

Tales of a Jargonaut:
the complete Rain Taxi interview with Jonathan Williams

Perhaps best known as the publisher of the Jargon Society, publishing works by such luminaries as Charles Olson, Paul Metcalf, and Lorine Niedecker, Williams also has an international reputation as a poet, essayist, and photographer. This is the full-length interview with this "jocular and curmudgeonly" writer. Interviewed by Jeffery Beam

Features

Alphabets Upside-down: the voice of Bei Dao

Bei Dao is one of the creators of a new tradition in Chinese poetry, making him seem all the more innovative when placed alongside poets in this language. Metaphor, exile, and the challenges of translation create the montage that is his unique and powerful voice. Essay by Lucas Klein

Reviews

POETRY REVIEWS

Complete Fiction
Serge Fauchereau

Fauchereau's writing fluctuates between the memoirs of a solitary traveler and patently fictional landscapes and events; these are brilliant renovations translated from the French by Ron Padgett and John Ashbery. Reviewed by Karl Krause

As Ever
Selected Poems

Joanne Kyger

This gathering presents an awesome range of poems with a stunning developmental narrative baseline, from Joanne Kyger's discovery of her "voice" on through 40-some years of evolution into one of the leading literary voices of her generation. Reviewed by Gary Gach

Blind Huber
Nick Flynn

A mysterious and entrancing sequence of short lyrics that journeys through the violent, erotic, and even gothic world of the honeybee, Nick Flynn's pocket-sized volume Blind Huber feels appropriately like a combination of prayer book and field guide. Reviewed by Mike Chasar

Given
Arielle Greenberg

In this debut collection of poems, Arielle Greenberg makes dazzling explorations into the secrets embedded in language. Reviewed by Michael R. Allen

Beauty is Convulsive: The Passion of Frida Kahlo
Carole Maso

Sampling freely from the biographies of Kahlo, Maso creates an intricate weave of words, allowing her own imagination to converse with Kahlo. Reviewed by Laura Winton

Raising Eyebrows
Gary Barwin

In his most recent collection, poet Gary Barwin contemplates the unexpected weirdness of the mundane. Reviewed by M. David Dunn

Translating Mo'um
Cathy Park Hong

As a Korean-American, Hong exhibits the split identity and alienation from Anglo-American culture in this fierce debut book of poems. Reviewed by Gabriella Ekman

Flow Blue
Sarah Kennedy

The confessional quality of these poems don't necessarily reveal Kennedy's life, but rather the braided sequence of a violent and tepid rural existence. Reviewed by Mark Pietrzykowski

FICTION REVIEWS

Frontera Dreams
Paco Ignacio Taibo II

In this seventh novel featuring Taibo's beleaguered sleuth, Héctor Belascoarán Shayne has endured myriad wounds, slashes, and lacerations, rendering him unrecognizable even to himself-a metaphor for society? Reviewed by Kevin Carollo

Stomping the Goyim
Michael Disend

Recently re-issued by Green Integer, Disend's 1969 poetic novel moves muscularly across the battlefields of a country ravaged by spiritual war on all fronts. Reviewed by Michael Price

Gilgamesh
Joan London

London sends her protagonist Edith on a journey as improbable, and as full of youthful willfulness and naiveté, as any archetypal journey in epic literature. Reviewed by Bonnie Blader

Pattern Recognition
William Gibson

With his eighth book, futurist William Gibson opens new doors while resolutely keeping a finger on the pulse of the electronic underground, where identification as well as information has become the currency of choice. Reviewed by S. Clayton Moore

Any Human Heart
William Boyd

Boyd's new novel reads like something you might find in the musty attic of a family home, open with mild curiosity, and then read straight through, fascinated by the engaging, detailed evocation of one individual's thoughts throughout a long life. Reviewed by Emily Johnston

World Light
Halldór Laxness

In this Icelandic novel, written in 1937 by Nobel Prize-winner Halldór Laxness, the reader will follow the wretched life of Olafur, a sickly orphan coming alive to possibility and further tragedy. Reviewed by Laura Sims

A Shortcut in Time
Charles Dickinson

This time-travel tale offers a world that can be shaped by its characters, even if they aren't always in complete control of that shaping. Reviewed by Rudi Dornemann

Forever
Pete Hamill

Forever is an epic chronicle not only of the life of a man but the birth of one of America's most vibrant and diverse cities, with all the blood, sacrifices, and human frailties that great cities require. Reviewed by S. Clayton Moore

NONFICTION REVIEWS

Dreaming War
Gore Vidal

Vidal continues to rail against what he considers America's evil empire with his characteristically acerbic verve, updating his arguments to address the conflict in Iraq. Reviewed by S. Clayton Moore

The Flâneur
Edmund White

Edmund White navigates a Paris that is increasingly stranded by history, his idiosyncratic observations the perfect antidote to the typically weary American tourist. Reviewed by Summer Block

Songbook
Nick Hornby

Songbook is essentially a mix tape of novelist Nick Hornby's writings about his favorite pop songs—not albums, not bands, but songs. Reviewed by Francis Raven

The Forest of Souls
Rachel Pollack

A metaphysical study detailing a new way of looking at Tarot cards and their use, Pollack's new book advocates a meditative, almost holistic method of divination. Reviewed by Kris Lawson

A Convent Tale
P. Renée Baernstein

Baernstein narrates the tumultuous history of the Barnabites and Angelics, an order of nuns in 16th-century Italy who suffered harsh restrictions within the walls of their convent. Reviewed by Charisse Gendron

Holocaust Girls
S.L. Wisenberg

Wisenberg writes to maintain connection between the past that haunts her and the present in which she struggles to understand her identity as a Jewish-American woman living in a post-Holocaust world. Reviewed by Lisa Lishman

The House of Blackwood Author-Publisher Relations in the Victorian Era
David Finkelstein

Finkelstein examines the fluctuating fortunes of the 19th-century publishing world, an era when bourgeois sensibilities gained ascendancy once and for all in Great Britain. Reviewed by John Toren

Priceless Children
American Photographs 1890-1925
Child Labor and the Pictorialist Ideal

George Dimock, Tom Beck, Verna Posever Curtis, and Patricia J. Fanning

Featuring photographers associated with the Pictorialist Movement, this book balances empathetic child labor photographs with Dimock's argument that the photographers undermined their socialist ideals with self-indulgent art. Reviewed by Tim Peterson

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