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NewPages Book Reviews

Reviews of newly published and forthcoming independent and university press titles.

Posted February 01, 2017

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Monica Youn
  • Date Published September 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-55597-750-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 85pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Kimberly Ann Priest

The synopsis at the back of Monica Youn’s Blackacre, describes the poems in this collection as “treacherously lush or alluringly bleak.” And they are.

  • Subtitle A Mood Almanack
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Mary Cappello
  • Date Published October 2016
  • ISBN-13 9780226356068
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 408pp
  • Price $29.00
  • Review by Cameron Chase

Mood: a vast penumbra of feelings Mary Cappello tries tirelessly at defining through the guiding light of these dynamic essays. Our moods can be both fixed and elastic, light and heavy—intractable vicissitudes that alter the course of our days and lives. They are at once ubiquitous and unexplained, and influenced by any number of things: clouds and weather, music, sweets, the connotation of words, View-Masters, taxidermy and dioramas, picture books, other people’s voices. These are among the influencers that Cappello explores in Life Breaks In: A Mood Almanack.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Gabriel Gudding
  • Date Published 2015
  • ISBN-13 ISBN 978-1-934103-63-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 144pp
  • Price $22.00
  • Review by Trena Machado

In hybrid poem essays, Literature for Nonhumans, Gabriel Gudding has taken on the system in which we live at the level of mind and body, beliefs, laws, and values by way of our effects on the nonhumans sharing this planet with us. In “the nonhumans,” besides animals, he includes rivers, mountains, wetlands, trees, landscapes, bio niches. The nonhumans are looking back at us in their own right, subjectivity given to animals and landscapes, both seen as a “who.” By the end of the book we have a coherent viewpoint of the effect of humans on life for the reader’s consideration. The book is a disorienting set of ideas that produces a cry of the heart as we look through the lens of human ensconcement blithely operating the socio-economic system with its steamroller collateral damage.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Professor Arturo
  • Date Published July 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-63045-032-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

Arthur Pfister was one of the original Broadside poets of the 1960s: talented artists whose works were displayed on one-sided posters that expressed strong feelings during that chaotic decade of political and cultural unrest. In the intervening years, he has been a spoken word artist, an educator, speechwriter, and winner of the 2009 Asante Award for his book My Name is New Orleans. Eventually, Pfister began writing under the name Professor Arturo.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Meghan Privitello
  • Date Published September 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-62557-962-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 47pp
  • Price $8.95
  • Review by Daniel Klawitter

Meghan Privitello is the recipient of a 2014 New Jersey State Council of the Arts Fellowship in Poetry and she is the author of the full-length poetry collection: A New Language for Falling Out of Love (YesYes Books, 2015). Her latest release, Notes on the End of the World, is the winner of the Black River Chapbook Competition and it is an intoxicating work of art that will leave you swooning and word-drunk after you have read it. Despite being 47 pages in length, this chapbook has all the aesthetic weight of a poetry collection double its size. The book contains 20 poems sequentially titled “Day I” through “Day 20” and they are bracketed by two other poems with the same title: “Notes on the End of the World.”

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Marjorie Maddox
  • Date Published March 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-942515-68-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 180pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Kelly Sauvage Angel

Regardless of how “evolved” our literary tastes may be, it’s probably safe to say that, amid the busy-ness of our lives, we may occasionally neglect to make time (or create the headspace) for subtleties, the nuances that allow us to reach a more tender place within ourselves, a place capable of recognizing that very tenderness within others. This is precisely the reason that What She Was Saying by Marjorie Maddox is a collection meant to be read during times of stillness, as a reprieve from the dissonance and incessant clatter of the world around us, so as to prevent the story beneath the story from being lost amid the din.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Amy Munson
  • Date Published October 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936797-88-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 70pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Daniel Klawitter

You are most likely going to want a dictionary on hand to fully appreciate this deeply layered book of poems. I know: this may already be a nonstarter for some readers. But persevere and the rewards are plentiful. The best kind of gift is the one that keeps on giving, and that’s what this book does. You won’t need a dictionary for the whole experience, but Amy Munson is a poet with a wise and wide vocabulary.

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