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NewPages Book Reviews

Posted July 01, 2015

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Lee Upton
  • Date Published May 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9860257-7-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Benjamin Champagne
Lee Upton’s Bottle the Bottles the Bottles the Bottles is a dense work wrapped in a short body. Originally from Michigan, the Midwest comes through Upton’s poetry in a similar way to a classic James Wright poem. It is there when she wants it to be, but she has the control to stray from it when necessary. Many of these poems are closer in scope to Charles Wright, the current Poet Laureate, and readers of her 2005 publication Defensive Measures: The Poetry of Niedecker, Bishop, Gluck, and Carson will see how they’ve influenced her writing throughout this collection.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Aaron Apps
  • Date Published January 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-934103-57-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 104pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Trena Machado
“This letter is about our lives simultaneously, and the mess of memories and body parts that emerges from our selves.” Thus writes the contemporary narrator to Herculine Barbin, an intersexed person born 1838, given a surgical sex reassignment which led to his/her suicide at twenty-nine in 1868. There are about fifteen ways to have an intersexed body, from not XX (female) and not XY (male) to complete gonadal dysgenesis. An intersexed body automatically makes one an intersexed person. The intersexed person does not fall within the guidelines of the social organization based on the clear-cut sexes, male and female, which, in turn, is amenable to the prescribed roles of gender.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Jeremy Pataky
  • Date Published March 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1602232532
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Dana Johnson
Overwinter, Jeremy Pataky’s debut poetry collection, examines the speaker’s isolation and solace in the vast, untamed nature of the Alaskan wilderness. Throughout the collection, the speaker spends his time between a developed city, with its electricity and human companionship, and the natural Alaskan landscape filled with its braided streams, unpredictable wildlife, and endless illusions of light and depth.
  • Subtitle An AmeriCorps Story
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  • Book Type Graphic Novel
  • by Joel Smith
  • Date Published June 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-940761-15-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 118pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by Katy Haas
“This is not the story of Katrina, of flood waters rising and then receding,” the prologue of The Parish: An AmeriCorps Story lets readers know. One could argue that it’s not even “An AmeriCorps Story” either. The Parish is a story of finding purpose and direction in a place that feels devoid of nearly everything—a story of finding purpose and direction in one’s self.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Noel Sloboda
  • Date Published April 2015
  • ISBN-13 978­-1­-936715­-86­-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 21pp
  • Price $12.00
  • Review by Benjamin Champagne
Risk Management Studies is a very reasonable riot. Noel Sloboda is playful through and through, and it is refreshing to read an entire chapbook that stays consistently hilarious. While the collection has a modernist slant, it never strays into critical territory.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by John Philip Drury
  • Date Published March 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-927409-42-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 79pp
  • Price $18.95
  • Review by Kimberly Ann
I read half of the poetry in John Philip Drury’s newest book of poems Sea Level Rising while situated on a large towel on St. Augustine Beach along the Atlantic in Northern Florida. It was the ideal setting for contemplating as Drury expressed his love for the sights and sounds of the ocean. “I miss the rising tides,” he reminisces in the book’s title poem, “that bash the docks / and spatter brackish water in my face.”
  • Subtitle A Memoir
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Michael White
  • Date Published March 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0892554379
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 192pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by Scott Russell Morris
A little bit travelogue, a little bit art history, and a little bit heartbreaking memoir, Michael White’s Travels in Vermeer explores the author’s fascination with the paintings of Johannes Vermeer, a fascination that takes him around Europe and America. Traveling to Amsterdam, The Hague, Delft, Washington D.C., New York, and London in the course of a year—while at the same time dealing with a painful divorce and custody battle, remembering the difficulties of his childhood and the alcoholism of his early adulthood, trying to get back into the dating scene, and remembering the brief, passionate romance with his first wife, who died of cancer—White gives long meditations on Vermeer’s paintings in lyric detail, becoming an intense eye through which we the readers also get to see them.
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