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NewPages Book Reviews

Posted December 01, 2015

  • Subtitle Sudden Stories in Comics and Prose
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Anthology Edited
  • by Josh Neufeld and Sari Wilson
  • Date Published February 2016
  • ISBN-13 9780990636427
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 184pp
  • Price $24.95
  • Review by Katy Haas
Pressgang’s Flashed: Sudden Stories in Comics and Prose, edited by Josh Neufeld and Sari Wilson, is one of the most fun reading experiences I’ve had all year. Those who read Flashed after its February 2016 release will likely be saying the same thing as they look back at their year’s reading history next December.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Montana Ray
  • Date Published May 2015
  • ISBN-13 978­-1-­938247­-16­-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 55pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Benjamin Champagne
If you Google search Montana Ray, there is a good chance you will find a (guns and butter) shower curtain. This lends to the understanding of concrete poems and their relationship to the modern dialogue in poetry. Concrete poems, or shape poems/visual poems can be considered the bastard child of literature. An exercise in class that only the nerdy kids take seriously. A fun exercise that is just that: an exercise. However, in subverting this notion, Montana Ray finds the means to exalt the depraved and to tyrannize the tyrannical.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by James Kimbrell
  • Date Published October 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-941411-09-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Trena Machado
The poems in Smote speak of loss and the wanting of more life, even if it is like this, a poignant neutrality that can leave us in shreds. The backdrop is Jackson, Mississippi. Deftly dealt with are the issues of class, interracial relationships, poverty, alcoholism, broken families, the lifeline of friendships, a black mother who loves and feeds a poor white boy not only dinner, but shows him how to live, “Ms. Anna, who loved me for no reason that I understood [ . . . ].” Under the chance and horror of daily life, we are shown a light that never goes out.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Heather Christle
  • Date Published March 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8195-7529-6
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $24.95
  • Review by Dana Johnson
In Heather Christle’s fourth and newest collection of poems, Heliopause, speakers acknowledge boundaries, and then promptly confront them. The title itself pertains to “the boundary between our sun’s sphere of influence and interstellar space” (via book jacket). These poems acknowledge some of history’s haunting topics—the aftermath of 9/11, the events upon the slave ship Zong, the 2012 Aurora Shooting—and yet the collection as a whole manages to balance out the darkness with a voice that is full of wit and refreshing candor. This collection showcases the versatility of Christle’s creative talent, and maintains a sense of balance and composure amidst “the terrified world.”
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Christopher Deweese
  • Date Published August 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9851182-9-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 75pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Ryo Yamaguchi
Don’t be confused by the title of Christopher Deweese’s The Father of the Arrow is the Thought—taken from a line by Paul Klee, it suggests poems that might be characterized by a singular trajectory, a martial swiftness that lands us with a wobbling after-strike in our target. And a cursory glance at the poems pretty much supports this—all of them take the form of relatively skinny columns that shoot with a severe straightness down the page. Indeed, we are going somewhere, and pretty fast. But a look at the rest of that Paul Klee quote gives us something which complicates this sense of motion: “How do I expand my reach? Over this river? This lake? That mountain?”
  • Subtitle Illustrated Novel-in-Poems
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Nicelle Davis
  • Date Published March 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-941628-00-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 94pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland
Set aside your preconceived ideas of a circus. Sure, clowns, animals, and oddballs populate In the Circus of You, an illustrated novel in poems, but the words and drawings are a revelation. Poet Nicelle Davis and artist Cheryl Gross, each seeming to have a circus within themselves, team up to create a fantastic mini-world combining reality with illusion, and not always in a fun way.
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