Reviews

Review: Chapbooks– Beautifully Whole & Badass

by Lee Gulyas March 24, 2016

Years ago, in a bar, talking about poetry, a friend of mine said, “Poetry. What do you do with that? I guess you could always write chapbooks.” Things have changed since then, and chapbooks (usually fewer than 30 pages of poetry) are not just plentiful, but proliferating. See chapbooks from Tupelo Press, Sarabande (authors Louise […]






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Review: The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud

by Shaun McMichael October 26, 2015
Mersault

The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud Other Press, 2015 Kamel Daoud’s debut novel is a relentless reply to Camus’ The Stranger. It’s told from the perspective of the murdered Algerian’s younger brother, Harun, now an old man. A young Algerian, presumably a stand in for the author, has pinned down the old man in one […]






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Review: The Cartographer’s Ink

by Lee Gulyas March 10, 2015
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The Cartographer’s Ink Okla Elliott NYQ Books 2014 Gilles Deleuze wrote: “Writing has nothing to do with meaning. It has to do with landsurveying and cartography, including the mapping of countries yet to come.” This is the quote that came to me as I read Okla Elliott’s “The Cartographer’s Ink.” We begin with an invitation […]






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Review: Curse of an Addict — Zanzibar

by Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein July 23, 2014
curseofaddict

Curse of An Addict—Zanzibar Director: Lovinsa Kavuma UK/Uganda, 2014 It’s been a month since I was first introduced to Seif and I can’t get him out of mind. Seif was a heroin addict who lived in Stone Town, Zanzibar, and I ‘met’ him through a harrowing short documentary about his life called Curse of an […]






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Flying Paper: a film review

by Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein December 9, 2013
flying paper

I recently watched a screening of the feature-length documentary film Flying Paper, directed by Nitin Sawhney and Roger Hill, at the Downtown Islamic Center in Chicago. Today I’m thinking about people around the world trapped in political nightmares and ideological wars waged beyond anyone’s reach. I’m also thinking about what the arts can do to […]






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Review: A Self Made of Words

by Jeff McMahon October 14, 2013
Klaus

A Self Made of Words by Carl H. Klaus Iowa, 2013 Recently a Buddhist acquaintance suggested I read Simone Weil because of her work on attention. She writes, for example, that “Absolute undivided attention is prayer,” which lends a Buddhist flavor to her Judeo-Christian theology. Attention can be aimed at anything, after all, not necessarily […]






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Review: In The House Upon The Dirt…

by Frances Badgett July 21, 2013
Matt Bell In The House

In The House Upon The Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell Soho Press 2013 Matt Bell’s In The House lingers, even as you finish it and walk away. It collects and gathers like a storm, and explodes into wild proportions. It is a painful novel, full of effort and blood. The […]






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Review: Burn This House

by Lee Gulyas July 3, 2013
Davio

Burn This House Kelly Davio Red Hen Press 2013 Burn or bless? What’s the difference? Why do prayers contain echoes of threats and how do sin and virtue intertwine? These are questions you will find yourself asking as the narrator wanders through darkness lit by moon and lamplight, pierced by the scream of a barn […]






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Review: The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction

by Lee Gulyas January 4, 2013

The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction Edited by Dinty Moore Rose Metal Press 2012 It is refreshing to open a nonfiction craft book that does not begin with an apology. Editor Dinty Moore delves right into a discussion of what is possible when writing “flash” literary nonfiction, “memoir, essay, and factual […]






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Review: To Waken Is To Begin

by Lee Gulyas December 8, 2012

To Waken is to Begin by Melanie Faith Aldrich Press 2012 The first poem in this debut collection opens with a bridesmaid’s dress, and in the next we imagine the size and promise of a fetus at eleven weeks. Melanie Faith’s book considers many rites of passage: weddings, pregnancy, a grandmother’s death, cancer. Faith also […]






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Review: Suddenly, a Knock on the Door

by Pauline Masurel July 18, 2012

Suddenly, a Knock on the Door Etgar Keret (translated Miriam Shlesinger, Sondra Silverston and Nathan Englander) Chatto & Windus 2012 In Poetry for Supper, R.S. Thomas implied that poetry is ‘a thing that needs a window before it enters a dark room.’ Perhaps short stories – and flash fiction in particular – need readers who […]






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Searching for The Snow Leopard Again

by Laura M. Browning July 9, 2012

The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen The Viking Press 1978   I read The Snow Leopard as my life was going a bit pear-shaped—my first full-time job in three years, which I loved, was unexpectedly ending after only a few months, though nobody could say exactly when or how; my younger sister was ill and […]






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Review: A Vacation on the Island of Ex-Boyfriends

by Jodi Paloni July 9, 2012

A Vacation on the Island of Ex-Boyfriends Stacy Bierlein Elephant Rock Books 2012 Imagine you alight on the shores of your vacation destination. As you wave good-bye to the ferry, your only connection to the normal world, you unexpectedly find yourself face-to-face with all of your past lovers. Their sole purpose for being there is […]






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Review: The Guardians, An Elegy

by Thomas Larson July 9, 2012

The Guardians: An Elegy Sarah Manguso 2012 FSG Many who read Sarah Manguso’s first memoir, The Two Kinds of Decay (2008), were in awe of the tale and its teller. At twenty-one, Manguso contracted an autoimmune blood disease that grew into nine years’ of transfusions, paralysis, and depression. It seemed the only way she could […]






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Review: Close Quarters

by Lee Gulyas July 9, 2012

Close Quarters Amy Monticello Sweet Publications 2012 In her first book, Amy Monticello begins with a joke, the kind that families tell and retell at picnics and holidays, the kind of joke that not only entertains but becomes legend, that points to larger themes and insight. Monticello sustains this focus on story and insight throughout […]






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