Book Reviews

  • 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
  • Joshua Corey reviews Amish Trivedi’s “Your Relationship to Motion Has Changed”

    E PLURIBUS UNUM Your Relationship to Motion Has Changed Amish Trivedi Shearsman Books $17 paperback, 84 pp. January 2019 Amish Trivedi’s second full-length collection takes its epigraph from Joseph Ceravolo, who assembled Transmigration Solo, a collection of his earliest poems, by intuition and feel. “Whether I chose for contrast or for similarity of mood, I don’t know,” Ceravolo

    Issue #94 June 2019
  • Republic Cafe by David Biespiel reviewed by Craig Brandis

    Republic Café is David Biespiel’s sixth book of poetry. It is arguably his finest work. Loosely based on Alain Resnais’ romantic drama film Hiroshima Mon Amour, this book-length poem borrows the movie’s main storyline and recasts it as a shape-shifting Noh play, presented in 54 numbered sections. The story follows two lovers over a 36-hour period as they meet and

    Issue #93 May 2019