Book Reviews

  • Review of Steven Cramer’s Listen by Andrea Read

    That time when one can no longer wander away
    Issue #116 April 2021
  • PETITION by Joyce Peseroff reviewed by DeWitt Henry

    Carnegie Mellon University Press 2020 $15.95 78pp. paper ISBN 978-0-88748-861-6   Joyce Peseroff has been a personal friend since she served as Ploughshares’s poetry editor and managing editor.  Her first collection, The Hardness Scale (1977), had just come out.  She edited The Ploughshares Poetry Reader as well as her own issue, enlisted Donald Hall to guest edit and worked with

    Issue #115 March 2021
  • John Wall Barger Reviews That Was Now, This Is Then by Vijay Seshadri

    “Eternity,” Heraclitus wrote, “is a child playing checkers; a child’s kingdom.”
    Issue #114 February 2021
  • Favorite Books from 2020

    Plume has a number of talented editors, and given the extraordinary year the world faced, I thought asking them for some of their favorite books of 2020 made sense, as a means of creating space for other voices and perspectives beyond mine and Chelsea’s, but also as a way to showcase more books than are typically possible in a “traditional”

    Issue #113 January 2021
  • The Clearing by Allison Adair reviewed by Chelsea Wagenaar

    THE CLEARING Allison Adair Milkweed Editions, 2020 79 pages. $22, hardcover.     Allison Adair’s The Clearing opens with two words that haunt the book: “What if.” The title poem, which initiates the collection, imagines, through familiar fairy tale imagery, that our lives unfold as stories wrought with these what ifs. What if this time instead of crumbs the girl

    Issue #112 December 2020
  • “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