Summer 2014


Where the Blur Occurs: Jay Besemer and Magus Magnus on the Call of the Imaginary
The two poets discuss poetry, performance, and how the artist exists in between.

Other People’s Stories: A Conversation with Colum McCann
Interviewed by Thomas Rain Crowe
Irish novelist Colum McCann discusses his novels, his love of poetry, and the downfall of the Irish pub, among many other things.

Poetry Windows: An Interview with Ron Padgett
Interviewed by Eric Lorberer
After a reading to celebrate his new Collected Poems, Ron Padgett paused to discuss the hefty tome, erotic poems, collaborations, readings, and more.


New Directions Goes Old School: A Review of New Directions Poetry Pamphlets 1-12
Essay by Benjamin Paloff
After an extended hiatus (nearly seventy years!), New Directions resumes a monthly subscription of poetry pamphlets by a wide variety of contemporary poets.

On Amiri Baraka: Who Was That Masked Man?
Essay by Richard Oyama
In this personal essay, poet Richard Oyama struggles with the work of the late Amiri Baraka, "man of swift metamorphoses."

Three Stories by J.D. Salinger
Essay by Shane Joaquin Jimenez
The pirated publication of three uncollected stories by Salinger elicited a firestorm in the publishing world.

W. S. Merwin: Two Books
Unchopping A Tree
Reviewed by James Naiden
Merwin’s incisive literariness focuses on ecological concerns in this handsomely produced prose work featuring art by Liz Ward.

Selected Translations
Reviewed by Zack Rogow
Merwin here gathers his unparalleled translations of poems from thirty-three different languages from every continent.


The Pedestrians
Rachel Zucker
Zucker’s poems resonate like a mother's cry against the hustle and bustle of the New York City skyline. Reviewed by Geula Geurts

Everything Begins Elsewhere
Tishani Doshi
Indian poet Doshi captures ineffable aspects of human life. Reviewed by James Naiden

Where the River Goes: The Nature Tradition in English-Language Haiku
Edited by Allan Burns
Burns calls the reader back to haiku’s roots in paeans to the natural world. Reviewed by Peter McDonald

All Movies Love the Moon: Prose Poems on Silent Film
Gregory Robinson
This astonishing square-format collection of prose poems and images goes far beyond imitation or simple ekphrastic reconstitution. Reviewed by Jay Besemer

Cole Swensen
The poems of Gravesend are humanized by Swensen’s very real interest in the belief in ghosts and anchored by her interest in belief itself. Reviewed by Celia Bland

American Songbook
Michael Ruby
Ruby re-mixes the popular music of the twentieth century—blues, jazz, pop, rock, rap—with a poet’s eye and ear for sound- and word-play. Reviewed by Marthe Reed

Wind Says
Bai Hua
Wind Says is at once an excellent introduction to one of China’s foremost modernist poets, the turmoil of post-Mao China, and the post-Misty movement of the 1980s. Reviewed by John W. W. Zeiser

The Arbitrary Sign
Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé
This richly imaged collection uses the alphabet to structure its philosophical thoughts. Reviewed by Mandy Pannett

Psalms for Dogs and Sorcerers
Jen Coleman
Coleman’s poems combine repetition and song with an incantatory revelry. Reviewed by Jonathan Lohr


The Crocodile
Maurizio de Giovanni
Across class, age, and experience, the characters that people Maurizio de Giovanni’s Italian noir novel are defined by their injuries. Reviewed by Kelsey Irving Beson

The Story of a New Name
Elena Ferrante
Ferrante’s novel is a whirlwind account of friendship and rivalry between two women who have grown up together in a lower-class neighborhood of post-war Naples. Reviewed by John Toren

Nine Rabbits
Virginia Zaharieva
Straddling the lines between literary genres, Nine Rabbits is classified as fiction, reads like memoir, and at the same time is chock full of recipes suitable for a book on home cooking. Reviewed by Chris Beal

In the House Un-American
Benjamin Hollander
In this work, Benjamin Hollander examines the American narrative that prizes both difference and inclusivity in name while never truly embracing either in substance. Reviewed by Michael Wendt

What Happened Here
Bonnie ZoBell
On the thirtieth anniversary of the 1978 plane crash in a San Diego suburb, neighbors gather to tell their stories. Reviewed by Matt Pincus

Selected Stories
Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis
This newly translated collection of stories focuses on Machado de Assis’s experimental period from 1880 to his death in 1908. Reviewed by Kristine Rabberman

Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis
Machado de Assis’s first novel, translated for the first time into English, gives a structural glimpse into the underlying themes in his later masterworks. Reviewed by Douglas Messerli

Unaccompanied Minors
Alden Jones
In her first collection of stories, Jones creates characters with wants and needs utterly peculiar to themselves. Reviewed by RT Both

Spheres of Disturbance
Amy Schutzer
Behind quirky settings lurks a novel addressing solemn subjects such as the inevitability of death and the renewal of life. Reviewed by Laura Maylene Walter

Winter Journeys
Georges Perec and the Oulipo
Georges Perec began this short story turned collaborative novel (with nearly two dozen contributors) in 1979 as part of a publicity bulletin for Hachette. Reviewed by Steve Matuszak

The Parallel Apartments
Bill Cotter
Family history guides Bill Cotter's tragicomic The Parallel Apartments, an infectious, off-kilter novel that might best be described as the aftermath of a domestic drama that has been eaten alive by outsider genres.
Reviewed by Jenn Mar


Surrealism and Photography in Czechoslovakia: On the Needles of Days
Krzysztof Fijalkowski, Michael Richardson, and Ian Walker
Each of the photographers in this concise and pleasurable collection of essays explore sight in deep and subtle ways. Reviewed by Paul McRandle

Pleading in the Blood: The Art and Performances of Ron Athey
Edited by Dominic Johnson
In droplets and smears, used like ink for printing on paper, mixed with sweat and pouring down in sheets, Athey’s work gives us a babel of blood. Reviewed by Spencer Dew

Chatting with Henri Matisse: The Lost 1941 Interview
Henri Matisse with Pierre Courthion
In this “Lost Interview,” Matisse speaks freely of his life and times, focusing on his own personal artistic development. Reviewed by Patrick James Dunagan


Amiri Baraka and Edward Dorn: The Collected Letters
Edited by Claudia Moreno Pisano
The shifting tones contained within the correspondence between these two groundbreaking poets are artfully woven into a narrative assemblage. Reviewed by Eliza Murphy

The French House: An American Family, A Ruined Maison, and the Village that Restored Them All
Don Wallace
Imagine an old house—a ruin, really—on an island across the ocean waiting for you to claim it. Reviewed by Linda Lappin

Not in My Library!: “Berman’s Bag” Columns from The Unabashed Librarian, 2000-2013
Sanford Berman
Twin Cities librarian, muckraker, activist, and all-around loudmouth Berman agitates stridently for everything from rational cataloging practices to homeless rights. Reviewed by Kelsey Irving Beson

The Deepest Human Life: An Introduction to Philosophy for Everyone
Scott Samuelson
Samuelson adds to the steady output of philosophy books aiming to return philosophy to its core motivations: theories accessible to the everyday people.
Reviewed by Scott F. Parker


Rain Taxi Online Edition Summer 2014 | © Rain Taxi, Inc. 2014