Book Reviews

  • Sara Wainscott’s “Insecurity System” reviewed by Chelsea Wagenaar

    Sara Wainscott Insecurity System 2020 Persea Books $15.95, paperback, 78 pages. Reviewed by Chelsea Wagenaar                 Insecurity System, Sara Wainscott’s debut collection, winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize, is a series of sonnets, structured loosely as a crown. The more I considered the way she plays with the sonnet form, especially the link between one poem’s

    Issue #106 June 2020
  • Miho Nonaka’s “The Museum of Small Bones” reviewed by Chelsea Wagenaar

    Miho Nonaka The Museum of Small Bones. “2020” Ashland Poetry Press. $19.95, paperback. 82 pages. Reviewed by Chelsea Wagenaar     “I dreamed of a power // to make small, imperceptible things / perceptible,” Nonaka writes in the title poem, “like the pattern of bones of a bat / in flight. The power to stave off our despair.” These lines

    Issue #105 May 2020
  • The Poetics of War: Three New Books on Armed Conflict and Armed Service reviewed by Mark Wagenaar

    The Poetics of War: Three New Books on Armed Conflict and Armed Service                             Shrapnel Maps Philip Metres Copper Canyon Press 2020 At the heart of Philip Metres’ new book, Shrapnel Maps, is a series of wide-ranging sequences, “A Concordance of Leaves,” “Theater of Operations,” “Poster (“Visit”)

    Issue #104 April 2020
  • Chelsea Wagenaar reviews Paisley Rekdal’s “Nightingale”

    In the opening poem of Nightingale, Paisley Rekdal writes, “The tree traffics / in a singular astonishment, its gold tongues / lolling out a song so rich and sweet, the notes / are left to rot upon the pavement.” The image of this tree in its cyclical transformation fuses many of the collection’s major themes: beauty, fecundity, violence, death. The

    Issue #103 March 2020
  • Mark Wagenaar reviews Mark Irwin’s “Shimmer”

    Mark Irwin’s Shimmer   Shimmer, the winner of the 2018 Phillip Levine Prize for Poetry, is Mark Irwin’s tenth volume of poetry, and follows 2017’s A Passion According to Green, and a selected volume from 2015, American Urn. Readers can comb through American Urn, and witness a fascinating evolution of a poet across half a dozen volumes. One of Irwin’s biggest

    Issue #102 February 2020
  • Chelsea Wagenaar reviews “View from Truth North” by Sara Henning

    In her wonderful little essay “The Bathroom,” Zadie Smith writes,
    Issue #101 January 2020
  • Richard Greenfield reviews “NOS” by Aby Kaupang and Matthew Cooperman

    GNOSIS OF OTHERWISE Up until 2013, the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) listed a catch-all descriptor—NOS, or “not otherwise specified”— for patients who did not fit into available and discrete psychiatric diagnoses. The APA now recommends that doctors proffer such diagnoses along with potential “specifiers” as to why a patient’s clinical condition does not

    Issue #100 December 2019
  • Nathaniel Tarn reviews Joseph Donahue’s “Wind Maps I-VII”

    The poet Joseph Donahue is best known for his ongoing long work in several volumes
    Issue #99 November 2019
  • John Tipton reviews Carsten René Nielsen’s “Forty-one Objects”

    On Saturday, April 26, 1952, Ulrich Balslev contacted the Museum of Prehistory in Aarhus
    Issue #98 October 2019
  • Lea Graham reviews Michael Anania’s “Nightsongs & Clamors”

    IT’S ABOUT TIME       This past June marks the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Michael Anania’s first book New Poetry Anthology (Swallow Press, 1969). This is particularly important given that his newest book of poems Nightsongs & Clamors—his nineteenth book, continues his commitment to modernist aesthetics, but also because this current work deals so much with time

    Issue #97 September 2019
  • Erin Lyndal Martin reviews Franny Choi’s “Soft Science”

    CONSCIOUSNESS RAISED “This is a test to determine if you have consciousness,” Franny Choi writes in Soft Science. Clearly referencing the 1950’s Turing Test that evaluates artificial intelligence, Choi reappropriates that line of inquiry to reconsider the way that otherness is constructed in opposition to autonomy. The book’s epigraph from cyber-feminist Donna Haraway (author of The Cyborg Manifesto)  is precisely

    Issue #96 August 2019
  • Joshua Corey reviews Katy Bohinc’s “Scorpio”

    Ralph Waldo Emerson described “the poet” as one who saw through appearances, and made that seeing-
    Issue #95 July 2019