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Book Reviews by Title - C (95)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Anselm Berrigan
  • Date Published May 2016
  • ISBN-13 9781940696294
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Ryo Yamaguchi

I hate to focus so much on form, but in this review of Anselm Berrigan’s Come In Alone, form will take center stage. Or more accurately: form will frame the way we encounter Berrigan’s electric and vocally driven sensibilities. Because the very first thing you will notice when you open this book is the simple but profoundly innovative design, which runs all of the text as a border around an otherwise empty page. (You can look at sample pages here at the publisher’s website.)

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Andy Mozina
  • Date Published March 2016
  • ISBN-13 9780812998283
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 288pp
  • Price $26.00
  • Review by Benjamin Champagne

Contrapuntal motion is the general movement of two melodic lines with respect to one another. There are few variations within contrapuntal, being parallel, similar, oblique and finally, Contrary. Andy Mozina, ever the social dissident, has produced a work that moves in many different directions. It manages a solidarity that many strive to achieve. Mozina has a voice that speaks easily of the dark and laughs until it aches. It yearns towards Bellow’s Humboldt’s Gift, but it is swift in the manner of an iPhone. The ease at which the language flows in Andy’s work is one of the highest selling points. The social constructions that he works are just a simple perk and by product of reading a great dark comedy.

  • Subtitle On the Life and Work of an American Master
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  • Book Type Poetry/Nonfiction Edited
  • by Martha Collins, Kevin Prufer, & Martin Rock
  • Date Published 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9641454-6-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 215pp
  • Price $12.99
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

The final paragraph in The Unsung Masters Series book Catherine Breese Davis: On the Life and Work of an American Master reprints her 1996 journal entry. After years of trying to publish a book: “[ . . . ] sometimes when I get exasperated with all this, I think the poems will all end in a black hole. I certainly don’t want to have a posthumous book, but it may come to that.”

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Magdalena Zurawski
  • Date Published May 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-933959-19-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Dana Johnson
Magdalena Zurawski began writing her poetry collection Companion Animal in a state of doubt about her own abilities as a poet (to cite her final selection from the book, “Dear Reader,”). In 2009, when she was feeling particularly unsure about her abilities to write, a close friend encouraged her to read and write poetry daily and cultivate a loosely-supervised writing routine. The poems that stemmed from this exercise explore the realities of daily life—financial stress, relationships, lost loved ones, and of course, the companionship of a tiny dog—while questioning the relevancy of poetry and the act of writing itself.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Rick Barot
  • Date Published July 2015
  • ISBN-13 9781941411032
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 72pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Elizabeth O'Brien
There is saying that “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach,” derisively suggesting that teachers only resort to teaching because they are professional failures in their chosen fields. But Rick Barot’s Chord is the kind of book that will make readers see the reality that sometimes those who can—like Barot—are also willing to teach. Luckily for us.
  • Subtitle Essays
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  • Book Type Anthology Edited
  • by Caroline Casey, Chris Fischbach, Sarah Schultz
  • Date Published September 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-56689-411-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 208pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Patricia Contino
The January 16, 2016 episode of Saturday Night Live included the skit “America’s Funniest Cats.” The week’s guest host Adam Driver played the emcee of a TV program spoofing the long-running America’s Funniest Home Videos, only here the felines’ dignity prevailed whatever their selfie-obsessed humans did to them. Driver’s two guests (SNL regulars Cecily Strong and Kate McKinnon) played hosts of an artsy French, existential spin-off. While the blond-wigged Driver and the two series regulars were silly, the audience audibly cooed and giggled over the cats’ antics.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Jonathan Fink
  • Date Published May 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-938103-02-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 76pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Dan Schell
The poems in Jonathan Fink’s debut book The Crossing were a decade in the making, and it shows with well-crafted language and imagery that broadens expectations of modern poetic narrative, while still carrying a torch for more formal styles of verse. An artist takes his whole life to construct a debut work, and Fink himself has stated that the main struggle in a first outing is to know when to stop fiddling with the pieces and release them from the nest. But Fink’s patience has paid off and he has made all the right moves here, even garnering an introduction from former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Tretheway.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Sarah Kennedy
  • Date Published October 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-910282-09-0
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 293pp
  • Price $27.99
  • Review by Allyson Parsons
Perhaps I should start by saying that City of Ladies is the second book in Sarah Kennedy’s “The Cross and the Crown” series, and I have shamefully not read the first. I started this book believing I might do its review a disservice by not reading the first installment of the series, but by chapter three or four it was clear that City of Ladies can stand on its own. The book follows recently reformed ex-nun, Catherine Havens Overton, and her life with husband William Overton. At her new estate, she has employed her former sisters and cares for them, who have nowhere else to go. When one is found dead, she fears for the safety of the rest of her ladies. But another murder and an investigation will not deter husband William from his plans to gain a place in King Henry VII’s court, in which Catherine plays a key role. With his assurance that the murderer will be found, Catherine reluctantly agrees to leave Overton House to serve Princesses Mary and Elizabeth Tudor.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Meyer Levin
  • Date Published April 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1941493021
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 480pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Patricia Contino
Meyer Levin (1905-1981) wrote novels, plays, and the Israel Haggadah for Passover still in use and in print for over 40 years. Fig Tree Books, a publisher specializing in titles relating to the American Jewish experience, recently re-issued Levin’s Compulsion, his 1956 bestseller fictionalizing the names (including his own as a reporter for The Chicago Daily News) but not the facts of the Leopold and Loeb murder trial. Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood (1959) and Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song (1979) followed the same author-in-the-nonfiction/novelization crime formula, producing some of their best writing. After subsequent “Crimes of the Century” involving celebrities and troubled young men both rich and poor that the media treats like celebrities, Compulsion is a reflective experience.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Andrew Brininstool
  • Date Published September 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-938466-36-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 166pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland
Andrew Brininstool’s stories in Crude Sketches Done in Quick Succession are not crude. They’re skillfully told, though some of the happenings within are crude, as in rough or harsh. For example, lots of males get into fistfights, lots of people get drunk, and liaisons don’t go smoothly. Brininstool, an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Stephen F. Austin State University, populates his stories with lively characters, some more likable than others.
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