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NewPages Book Reviews

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

Posted March 01, 2018

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Matthew Pitt
  • Date Published August 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-938126-37-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 200pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by MacKenzie Hamilton

The twelve stories in These Are Our Demands dip their toes into potential futures and alternate realities. The characters in Matthew Pitt’s stories are vivid and sassy, and the writing is otherworldly. This collection lures you in with the promise of comfort, and then pulls down the straps and sends you on an unexpected wild ride. The stories have an unrivaled originality that is bound to keep you reading till the las page.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Rachel Rinehart
  • Date Published January 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-934695555
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 72pp
  • Price $20.00
  • Review by Benjamin Chase

Rachel Rinehart’s new collection The Church in the Plains is a historical, cultural, and religious journey, as Rinehart explores her German Lutheran roots in a richly reflective and imaginative book of poetry. With a knack for rendering human peculiarities and foibles, Rinehart writes poetry with echoes of Robert Lowell and the confessional poets, but with a streak of heritage and flair all her own.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Jennifer Elise Foerster
  • Date Published February 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-816537334
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Benjamin Chase

Jennifer Elise Foerster’s brand-new poetry collection Bright Raft in the Afterweather is an elegant, lyrical journey across lands near and far and times past, present, and future. A very gifted poet with an NEA Creative Writing Scholarship, a Lannan Foundation Writing Residency Scholarship, and a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, Foerster, a member of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma, writes poems that are teeming with connection to the natural world, yet also aware of the dangers of human greed.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Aditi Machado
  • Date Published October 2017
  • ISBN-13 9-781937 658731
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by DM O'Connor
A thing is a cicada when it tends toward sexual disorientation
& I is an orient in the sense that all things wend toward me.

Aditi Machado’s debut collection, Some Beheadings, is a delicate meditation on the origin of thought. Somewhere between Wittgenstein and Rilke, with splatterings of Gertrude Stein, each page is a flower opening to reflect spring. “A wind blows, the desert unfolds.” “The desert melts, the sky’s glass.” Some Beheadings reads like bits of a shattered rainbow.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Lois Ann Abraham
  • Date Published October 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9911895-8-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 346pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Jordana Landsman
If I told you the quick plot summary of Tina Goes to Heaven, by Lois Ann Abraham, you might visualize a familiar movie reel of hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold stories, and then you might yawn and ask me what else I was reading. But you’d have it wrong, and I’d have done you a grave disservice.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Vincent Chu
  • Date Published February 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9984092-6-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 238pp
  • Price $15.99
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

Have you ever taken homemade food to a picnic just to have it ignored? Then you might recognize yourself in Vincent Chu’s story called “Ambrosia,” which appears in his first book of short fictions, Like a Champion. In it, our narrator’s girlfriend brings the sweet dessert to a barbecue with this result: “In the middle of the table sits the uneaten ambrosia, cubes of strange fruit drowning slow deaths in white glob, wincing under the summer sun.” But in this case, a simple sentence will turn the embarrassing situation around with unexpected results.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Terry Ann Thaxton
  • Date Published September 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-61248-216-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

Terry Ann Thaxton approaches her third book of poetry, Mud Song, with a native Floridian’s familiarity. We know about Florida oranges, alligators, and hurricanes, and she doesn’t ignore these attributes, but there’s a lot more of Florida in her book that won the 2017 T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Melissa Lozada-Olivia
  • Date Published September 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-943735-24-251400
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 43pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by DM O'Connor
Okay, ready? Would you rather be completely covered in fur, like, head-to-toe, monster type of shit or, stay with me, stay with me, be completely smoothie-smooth in all of the right places: thighs, crotch, armpit, upper lip, neck?
— from “We Play Would You Rather at the Galentine’s Day Party”
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