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NewPages Book Reviews

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

Posted May 01, 2018

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Bunkong Tuon
  • Date Published October 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-63045-052-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 100pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by DM O'Connor
When a child crosses a border, either towed by parents or not, a lifelong search for identity begins. This dual-identity is doubly complicated when war and political policies have put that culture through hell. Bunkong Tuon’s collection And So I Was Blessed is an exploration of the journey of a new father, a college professor, and an American of Cambodian descent who travels through Asia.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Barrie Jean Borich
  • Date Published January 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8142-5462-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 112pp
  • Price $18.95
  • Review by Evgeniya Monico

Unfamiliar with Barrie Jean Borich’s previous works, I decided to forgo my usual research concerning the author’s expertise and dive into reading Apocalypse, Darling right away. Peeking inside just to get a taste of her writing, I suddenly found myself unable to stop reading despite my previous plans for the evening. Just like the author, “I almost forget we have some place to be,” so I cancelled my plans to explore Borich’s world of “the beautiful wastelands.”

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Mather Schneider
  • Date Published March 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-931307-36-9
  • Format Chapbook
  • Pages 31pp
  • Price $7.00
  • Review by DM O'Connor
Best not to imagine your love dead
or to put literature ahead of life.
Best not to write certain things down.
—from “Cartas de Amor”

If forced to write a narrative log-line for Mather Schneider’s A Bag of Hands, Rattle Poetry’s 2017 Chapbook Prize selection, it would be simple: Cab driver marries Mexican, life ensues. But that is veneer.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Diana Arterian
  • Date Published October 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9990049-0-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 180pp
  • Price $17.00
  • Review by Katy Haas

Diana Arterian presents a force of nature in her debut, full-length poetry collection Playing Monster :: Seiche. Formed after its namesake, seiche, the book plows ahead, a standing wave, a constant, nonbreaking push forward. Throughout the pages, Arterian writes with insight and honesty while weaving together the story of her family’s abuse at the hands of her father, and a period of her mother’s life in which strange men suddenly appeared with the sole goal of threatening her.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by David Rigsbee
  • Date Published August 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-62557-967-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 67pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Benjamin J. Chase

Winner of two NEA fellowships, a Pushcart Prize, and an award from the Academy of American Poets, David Rigsbee is a seasoned American poet who has published ten books of poetry, multiple chapbooks, and a few translations over the past forty years. The poems in Rigsbee’s newest collection, This Much I Can Tell You, are as circumspect in language as they are in dispensing an immediate and experiential wisdom, as the book’s title implies.

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