Book Reviews

  • “Alias” by Eric Pankey reviewed by Mark Wagenaar

    Alias Eric Pankey Free Verse Editions, Parlor Press 2020   Not to be confused with the television show of the same name, starring Jennifer Garner and beloved by Dwight Schrute, Alias is the second book of prose poems Eric Pankey has published with Free Verse Editions, by Parlor Press. One of the most crucial questions when reading such a volume

    Issue #111 November 2020
  • Brett Foster’s “Extravagant Rescues” reviewed by Chelsea Wagenaar

    In the abcedarian list poem “Alternative Titles for the Book You Are Holding in Your Hands,” Brett Foster offers ...
    Issue #110 October 2020
  • Hailey Leithauser’s Saint Worm reviewed by Susan Blackwell Ramsey

    The heart of a bear is a cloud-shuttered
    Issue #109 September 2020
  • Donovan McAbee reviews Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry by John Murillo

      John Murillo Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry 2020 Four Way Books $16.95 Paperback     Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry, John Murillo’s second collection, is a particularly American lamentation, an extended meditation on loss: the inevitability of some losses, the tragic nature of others, and especially the political and existential crisis of loss inflicted on Black American selves and communities by our culture.

    Issue #108 August 2020
  • Jane Hirshfield’s “Ledger” reviewed by Fred Marchant

    Some ledgers are just right for business accounting, with neat columns for inventories,
    Issue #107 July 2020
  • 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