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NewPages Book Reviews

Posted November 3, 2008

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Matthew Rohrer
  • Date Published 2008
  • Format Chapbook
  • Pages 43pp
  • Price $10.00
  • Review by Brian Foley
Described as “a rollicking epic adventure poem of foxy revolutionaries battling a fascist government,” the guts of Matthew Rohrer’s newest chapbook ask for more than just lighthearted fanfare. A departure from the thoughtful and romantic altered-states found in his defining collections Satellite and last year’s Rise Up, They All Seemed Asleep is a minor politically driven marathon that confronts the outrage and confusion brought on by authoritarian powers.
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  • Book Type Stories
  • by Daniel Gabriel
  • Date Published April 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-0980037517
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 147pp
  • Price $12.99
  • Review by Jeff Vande Zande
Daniel Gabriel’s Tales from the Tinker’s Dam centers around The Tinker’s Dam – a pub in the Vale of Glamorgan in Wales. Reminiscent of James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small or Garrison Keillor’s Lake Woebegone Days, these are tales in the best sense of the word, being both humorous and human.
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  • Book Type Stories
  • by Kyle Minor
  • Date Published November 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-0979312366
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 220pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Sean Carman
Kyle Minor's stories take place in some pretty rough terrain. The first three words of "The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl Party," the opening story in In the Devil's Territory, tell us that the narrator hates Christmas. Then we learn that his family's Christmas gathering, which would be stifling in any year, is complicated by his wife's high-risk pregnancy, his sick and unruly child, and his mother's painful recuperation from surgery. This year, the family is not celebrating Christmas, it is suffering an ordeal.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Eric Pankey
  • Date Published March 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-1931337397
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 274pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Jason Tandon
Spanning his entire career, Eric Pankey's The Pear as One Example includes selections from seven previous collections of poems, as well as a complete new collection, Deep River. Brand new to his work, I was immediately impressed by his linguistic virtuosity, especially his botanist-like knowledge of flora and fauna, and his poetic range, from vividly described narrative-lyrics to ontological meditations. Pankey is a poet-naturalist, and in the tradition of Emerson and Thoreau, whatever truths and visions emerge in his poetry he earns from precise observation.
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  • Book Type Stories
  • by Jesse Ball
  • Date Published 2008
  • Format Pamphlet
  • Pages 72pp
  • Price $5.00
  • Review by Brian Foley
Kafkaesque is a term that is passed off superfluously in today’s impalpable literary landscape. However, if there is one author that would be a suitable to such an intricate title, poet and author Jesse Ball would be a likely candidate. This is by no means meant as a reduction. The author of a prize winning collection of poetry (March Book) and a stirring novel (Samedi the Deafness), Ball’s prolific output, as well as his command over his singular voice, often lead him astray from Kafka’s parochial table. Yet one has little doubt his newest collection, Parables and Lies, is indebted, if not a conscious tribute, to the short works of the Czechian master.
  • Subtitle Notebooks
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Charles Simic
  • Date Published September 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-1931337403
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 128pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Rav Grewal-Kök
The Monster Loves His Labyrinth will be one of the final titles published by Ausable Press, whose ten-year run as an independent poetry house ends in 2009, in a merger with Copper Canyon. It is an attractive volume, from the Varujan Boghosian collage on its front cover, to the reproduction of Saul Steinberg’s sketch of Charles Simic on the back. Inside is a selection of undated memories, aphorisms, observations, fragments and dreams from Simic’s notebooks. The entries afford us a glimpse of Simic’s preoccupations and passions, in a more elemental form than in his finished poems. There are moments of rare beauty and insight throughout.
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