Online Edition: SPRING 2010

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Piquancies and Attributes in Seamus Heaney’s Verve
A deeper look in the subject matter and influences of the Irish master’s work.
essay by James Naiden presents:
Paula McCartney's Bird Watching

A new feature presenting the exceptional work of Minnesota artists.
The inaugural essay discusses the expression of McCartney's photographic
frustration with capturing those elusive winged subjects.

essay by Andy Sturdevant



The Front
K. Silem Mohammad

The hills are alive with the sound of Flarf. But could this be the last volley in the war? Reviewed by Morgan Myers

Deaf American Poetry
edited by John Lee Clark

Clark has assembled a fascinating mix of poets who share little in common beyond the fact that they are deaf. Reviewed by John Jacob

Century of Clouds by Bruce Boone
Face by Melissa Buzzeo

Two books that address the body: Boone’s poetics ring from the New Narrative and radical gay politics of 1970s San Francisco, while Buzzeo’s more recent work confronts the human and political body as represented by the face. Reviewed by Tyrone Williams

The Brittle Age and Returning Upland
René Char

Char’s writing is gracefully tethered to a poetically present metaphysics—and such philosophical instincts are clear in these bilingual editions translated by Gustaf Sobin. Reviewed by Martin Balgach

American Gothic, Take 2
Maria Terrone

Terrone wrestles the insidious spirit of banality into the light in this new chapbook. Reviewed by George Guida

Killing Kanoko
Hiromi Itō

Our latest dialogic review brings to light a new translation of work by a powerful Japanese poet. Reviewed by Lucas de Lima and Sarah Fox

Other Flowers: Uncollected Poems
James Schuyler

Other Flowers gathers many poppies into a big, showy bouquet, artfully arranged and still fragrant with life nearly twenty years after the death of this New York School poet. Reviewed by Claude Peck

Self-Portrait with Crayon
Allison Benis White

White’s poems take their titles from the work of Degas while also plumbing the experience of her own childhood. Reviewed by Stephen Burt

Joy Ladin

In Transmigration, by Joy (once Jay) Ladin, a male becomes a female and thus takes up physical and psychic residence in a new body. Reviewed by Warren Woessner


The One Marvelous Thing
Rikki Ducornet

In her latest wonder cabinet of short fictions, Ducornet mines moments when the marvelous becomes the monstrous and excess enlarges the world. Reviewed by Steve Tomasula

Kassandra and the Wolf and Rien ne va plus
Margarita Karapanou

Two extraordinary tales of horror from a unique Greek voice reveal aspects of girlhood and womanhood. Reviewed by Kristin Thiel

Not Normal, Illinois: Peculiar Fictions from the Flyover
edited by Michael Martone

Martone’s anthology aims to answer the question: is there a voice typical of the vast Midwest? Reviewed by Stephanie Hlywak

Your Face Tomorrow: Poison, Shadow, and Farewell (Vol. 3)
Javier Marías

The final installment in this landmark trilogy continues the story of Jacques Deza and the spot of blood he discovers, which symbolizes the persistent evidence of dark deeds. Reviewed by John Toren

Georg Letham: Physician and Murderer
Ernst Weiss

The perversity of Weiss’s staggering novel is not one of titillating little wickednesses but a deep and thoroughgoing moral deviation. Reviewed by Micaela Morrissette

Mozart’s Journey to Prague
Eduard Mörike

This stellar novella, an unrecognized classic of the 19th century, possesses a sensibility closer to that of modern self-aware fiction. Reviewed by W. C. Bamberger

Stacia Saint Owens

In stark, surreal evocations of the damaged and rapidly imploding dystopia commonly called Southern California, Saint Owens reveals the macabre through narrative dream states in which the grotesque becomes distressingly commonplace. Reviewed by Charles Dodd White

Wang Gang

This coming-of-age-novel takes place during the Cultural Revolution in a distant province of China where language is the avenue of seduction. Reviewed by Lucas Klein

The Museum of Innocence
Orhan Pamuk

Pamuk’s latest tome is a stunning depiction of one of the world’s great cities as seen through the eyes of excess. Reviewed by Joshua Willey

The Owl Killers
Karen Maitland

Set near the coast of west Norfolk in 1321, Maitland's novel relates a tale of conflict between the women of the Beguine faith and the priesthood of the Church. Reviewed by Spencer Dew

Cairo Swan Song
Mekkawi Said

The Egyptian narrator and his overbearing American girlfriend struggle to make a documentary film about his country’s homeless children. Reviewed by M. Lynx Qualey


Rebecca K. O’Connor

In this memoir of literal and figurative flight, an animal trainer and parrot behaviorist weaves her growing faith in her falcon with her history of wounded trust. Reviewed by Jessica Handler

Technologized Desire
D. Harlan Wilson

In his first book of critical theory, Wilson analyzes the self (or the “terminal self”) in a variety of science-fictional speculations that explore the role of technology and media in relation to the future of late capitalism. Reviewed by Andy Stewart

The Birth and Death of the Cool
Ted Gioia

Utlizing his experience as a jazz historian and cultural observer, Gioia claims that the social aesthetic of “cool” is going out of style. Reviewed by Rebecca Morales

Dada in Paris
Michel Sanouillet

Revived interest in the Dada movement over the past decade has resulted in the revival of classic critical texts, including Sanouillet’s unique and lively history. Reviewed by Jen Besemer

What I Believe
Tariq Ramadan

While many criticize this religious thinker, Ramadan here offers a succinct attempt to clarify his stance on Islamic law and practice. Reviewed by Spencer Dew

A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs
David Lehman

Lehman’s book of essays is a true romance with this music—he has written a love poem in prose format, sprinkled with New York Jewish patois and rhymes. Reviewed by Douglas A. Smith

Our Noise
John Cook, Mac McCaughan, and Laura Ballance

A moving oral history of the “indie label that got big and stayed small.” Reviewed by Kevin Carollo

William T. Vollmann: A Critical Study and Seven Interviews
Michael Hemmingson

Despite the typos, this is a worthy collection for those both familiar and new to Vollmann’s work. Reviewed by Jeff Bursey

Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of The Great Depression
Morris Dickstein

Illustrated by eyewitness testimony and cultural artifacts, this book is a timely study of 1930s literature, film, photography, and music. Reviewed by Tim W. Brown

Conversations with Julian Barnes
edited by Vanessa Guignery and Ryan Roberts

These eighteen conversations reveal the mind of a private, relaxed, and mindful English author who stolidly maintains this dignity throughout. Reviewed by Jeff Bursey

The Extended Words: An Imaginary Dictionary
Sid Gershgoren

Gershgoren has compiled a list of plausible-sounding words, defined them, and provided invented quotations that demonstrate their use, inviting the reader to join in on the fun. Reviewed by Jenny Dunning

Across the Plains
Sarah Royce

More than 150 years after Sarah Royce first set out as a pioneer bound for California, her story is finally reissued in full. Reviewed by Emy Farley


Batman and Robin: Batman Reborn
Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely and Philip Tan

In his latest superhero reconfiguration, Morrison takes a bold leap of changing the very essence of the long-standing Batman and Robin dynamic, making the most famous superhero team in pop culture fresh and relevant once again. Reviewed by James Fleming

Shekhar Kapur’s Devi, Volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4

In order to “redefine the Indian entertainment industy,” filmmaker Shekhar Kapur introduces graphic retellings of the Hindu gods, with mixed results. Reviewed by Spencer Dew


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