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NewPages Book Reviews

Posted May 1, 2010

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Penelope Scambly Schott
  • Date Published January 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-932412-843
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Therese Halscheid
In Six Lips, the poet Penelope Scambly Schott explores opposites and interconnectedness, in all its many forms. Her opening poem, “Compass” points us in that direction.
  • Subtitle Amanda J. Bradley
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  • Date Published October 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-935520-07-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 74pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Jeremy Benson
“All along, along, there were incidents and accidents, there were hints and allegations.” – Paul Simon, “Call Me Al” Graceland
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Jane Unrue
  • Date Published April 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-886224-96-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 112pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Elizabeth Townsend
Life of a Star presents itself as a series of short ramblings of the narrator, who is also the main character. The ramblings could even be called diary entries as they are the thoughts and desires of the narrator. The main character is a woman who imagines herself to be an actress, something that is evident throughout the book.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Molly Brodak
  • Date Published March 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-58729-858-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 64pp
  • Price $17.00
  • Review by Kristin Abraham
Of all of the Iowa Poetry Prize winners I have read, Molly Brodak’s A Little Middle of the Night may be the most stunning, the most complete and beautiful package; every poem in the book is a gem and they all fit together to form a simple and elegant volume that I am pleased to have in my collection.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Claire Hero
  • Date Published May 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-934819-08-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 82pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Kate Angus
Sing, Mongrel, Claire Hero’s first full-length collection, proposes a central conceit where the born and the made merge to make a disturbing and lovely hybrid music.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Lisa Olstein
  • Date Published June 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-55659-301-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 91pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Christine Kanownik
Lisa Olstein's Lost Alphabet is a serious meditation. All 90 pages of poetry have the same short paragraph form with a bracketed title that informs and sometimes subverts the poems. The setting seems post-apocalyptic in a quiet sort of way. There are no Mad Max renegades, but there is an unnamed narrator who moves to the edge of some pre-industrial village of horse traders where people dance to music made with a “dull spoon on the side of a pig.” The narrator is obsessed with the study of moths. The goal of this study is at first unclear, but as the narrator focuses more on the project, more questions arise.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Amit Majmudar
  • Date Published October 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8101-2626-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 75pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Roy Wang
Scientific metaphors are invisible pitfalls for most poets, mainly because the average writer is unable to grasp how wildly ridiculous his or her musings and conjectures are. Reciprocally, poetry put forth by physicists, if sincere, can leave one rather cold. Fortunately, Amit Majmudar easily sidesteps both problems in this wonderful collection by having both a real scientific background and genuine empathy, creating a coherent work with sustained intellectual and emotional focus.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by kari edwards
  • Date Published September 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9819310-0-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 116pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Catherine Daly
kari edwards’s last book, Bharat jiva, was published posthumously. The book represents a leap in style, control and application of language, and scope of address and content over hir earlier works, disobedience, iduna, and a day in the life of p. For example, whereas obedience continually lists and refines those lists, working from inclusion and exhaustion, Bharat jiva has a huge scope, a generous posing of questions against lists.
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  • Book Type Essays
  • by Patrick Madden
  • Date Published March 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8032-2296-0
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 204pp
  • Price $23.95
  • Review by Jennifer Sinor
The gift that Patrick Madden gives us in Quotidiana is the gift great essayists have given us for centuries and that is the elegance of a mind at work. The essays Madden offers in this new collection are essays in the most traditional, classical sense. They do not traffic in the far-fetched or the bizarre, competing with reality television to hold our attention with a cacophony of sound, nor do they rely on the story to bear the weight of their subject, rather they investigate the way ordinary experience confounds and delights us, once we stop and pay attention.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by David Brennan
  • Date Published February 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1935402756
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 87pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Jeremy Benson
I was reading The White Visitation in the Detroit International Airport, waiting for my flight to Charleston, when the Iraqi gentleman on my left nudged my arm. “Is that the bible?” he asked.
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  • Book Type Stories
  • by Dawn Raffel
  • Date Published March 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9767177-9-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 104pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Sara C. Rauch
Dawn Raffel's newest collection of short stories, Further Adventures in the Restless Universe, is an intriguing look at relationships. The spare, unfussy prose explores familial boundaries, the complicated connections between mothers and their children, sisters, aunts and great aunts, husbands and wives. The mundane matters of every day existence – taking a child to a museum or carving a pumpkin, a phone call to catch up, a day spent at the beach, learning to drive – fill up Raffel's prose; each story occupies only a few pages (in some cases only one), but each moment captured by her prose completely fills up the whole space.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Belle Boggs
  • Date Published June 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-55597-558-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 240pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Keith Meatto
In one of the many aching, tender scenes in Mattaponi Queen, a woman goes to Wal-Mart with her husband, who is dressed in drag. He’s about to have a sex change operation and the public shopping expedition is her way to support and process his decision. Later, she wonders: “How old do you have to be to understand how love works?”
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Brandi Homan
  • Date Published January 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1848610859
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 74pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Kristin Abraham
The poems in Bobcat Country sling readers into a humorous yet serious exposition of American culture that mocks relationships between American capitalism and pop culture, the American family, and the “business” of contemporary poetry.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Goldie Goldbloom
  • Date Published February 2010
  • ISBN-13 9781930974883
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 321pp
  • Price $26.00
  • Review by Alex Myers
An albino woman, a dwarf named Toad, and two Italian prisoners of war on a rabbit-ridden farm in the nether reaches of Australia: what could be a better premise for a novel? Setting such a bizarre and unique concept at the center of a piece of fiction is a bold strategy, but Goldie Goldbloom’s debut novel, Toad’s Museum of Freaks and Wonders, never falls short of the mark. The winner of the 2008 AWP Award for the novel, it is apparent from the first few pages that you are in the hands of a master; Goldbloom writes with clarity and complexity, balancing abstract questions of identity, love, and value with a tensely developed plot and rich characters.
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