Book Reviews

  • 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
  • Like by A.E. Stallings reviewed by Devin King

    LOST OBJECTS At the beginning of Book Two of Lucretius’ The Nature Of Things—Book One, you’ll remember, sets up that the universe is built from atoms and the idea of the clinamen—Lucretius writes what to me is one of the more difficult of his arguments to adjust to a present ethics of encounter. Here’s A.E. Stallings’ translation of the lines

    Issue #92 April 2019
  • Now That the Audience is Assembled by David Grubbs reviewed by Devin King

    Issue #91 March 2019
  • Unshored Fragments: Dimitris Lyacos’ Post-Tragic Trilogy reviewed by Ilias Bistolas

    As long as a match stays alight.
    Issue #90 February 2019
  • Mark Scroggins’ “Pressure Dressing”, reviewed by Joshua Corey

    What do you want? What would make you happier?
    Issue #89 January 2019
  • Mystery and Surprise: Two Chinese Poets; reviewed by Alexander Dickow

    The contemporary Chinese poet Mang Ke and the Tang dynasty poet Li Shangyin (9th century) could hardly be more different. The former, particularly in the later poems of the chronologically arranged collection, seems fresh and spontaneous, capricious; the latter hermetic and mysterious.

    Issue #88 December 2018
  • I Remember Nightfall: Marosa Di Giorgio, reviewed by Johannes Göransson

    Until recently, the great Uruguayan poet Marosa Di Giorgio (1932-2000) was largely untranslated.
    Issue #87 November 2018
  • Immanent Foundation: Norman Finkelstein, reviewed by Joshua Corey

    “Decision,” the first poem in Norman Finkelstein’s new book, announces an end to preliminaries and prolegomena: you must decide for the sake of whatever you love, whatever it is you still would cherish. Here is the formula. Here is the program. Here is the talisman. Here is the code.

    Issue #86 October 2018
  • Crawlspace: Nikki Wallschlaeger, reviewed by Timothy Otte

    Poetic forms are constraints. A constraint gives form and body, and also creates space. A body is a constraint. A sonnet is a constraint. A body is a sonnet and a room is a sonnet. And like bodies and rooms, sonnets take different shapes, variations on a theme: limbs, torso, head; walls, window, door; fourteen lines, argument, volta.

    Issue #85 August 2018
  • Cruel Futures: Carmen Giménez Smith, reviewed by Sarah Huener

    From its first pages, Cruel Futures is a book of intense assuredness. Carmen Giménez Smith’s latest book is richly lyrical, and dense with honesty. Her writing combines momentum with variety to keep the book lively.

    Issue #84 July 2018
  • CAConrad: While Standing in Line for Death

    Best known for the “(soma)tic” rituals that serve as the source materials for his verse and prose poems, poet, critic, and editor CAConrad is the embodiment of that old Whitman saw, a materialization of self-contradiction. In other words, he accepts, and thus enacts, the charge of the historical avant-garde: inaugurate the impossible as the negation (as if) of the world (as such).

    Issue #83 June 2018
  • Martha Collins: “Night Unto Night” and “Day Unto Day”

    What are the heavens, and what is the firmament—what, a house, and for how long? How do we live, die, survive? Such existential questions, great and small, animate the devotional poetics of Martha Collins, translator and poet. With the recent publication of Night Unto Night (Milkweed, 2018), Collins completes a diptych twelve years in the making, which she first began with her collection, Day Unto Day (Milkweed, 2014).

    Issue #82 May 2018