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Book Reviews by Title - C (93)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Kathleen Ossip
  • Date Published May 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-932511-95-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 82pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Alyse Bensel
In trying to locate an American identity, the politics of class infiltrate a collection seeking to amend the impossible with art. The Cold War, Kathleen Ossip’s second poetry collection, tackles the complex socio-economic class status conflicts that have been a staple of American culture for nearly the past century. Combining psychological and sociological documentation of the class phenomenon with past experience, in a relevant historical context, both challenges and informs the reader.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Meg Howrey
  • Date Published May 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-0-307-94982-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 384pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Patricia Contino
For an allegedly silent art, ballet has inspired many good words. Essays by poet Edwin Denby and critic Arlene Croce are worthy writing workshop handouts. Choreographer Agnes de Mille’s books are histories of dance and America. Jacques d’Amboise’s memoir I Was A Dancer is not only candid; the charming, legendary dancer wrote it as if he was telling his story over coffee.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Sergio Troncoso
  • Date Published September 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-55885-710-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 216pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Cheryl Wright-Watkins
In this collection of sixteen essays, Sergio Troncoso writes about family, fatherhood, education, illness, love, politics, religion, social issues, societal responsibility, and writing. He observes that his clear, direct writing about difficult questions “has sometimes condemned [him] in academic circles” and that his writing is also “overlooked by those who never desire to think beyond the obvious and the popular.” Troncoso chronicles his transformation from “a besieged outsider needing a voice” to “an outsider by choice deploying [his] voice,” creating an intellectual borderland from where he tried to push his mind with the philosophical ideas that form the framework of his writing.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Christopher Schaberg and Mark Yakich
  • Date Published October 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0-615-46640-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 112pp
  • Price $9.95
  • Review by Cheryl Wright-Watkins
In this book, the two writers explore various elements and facets of modern air travel. The design of the pocket-sized volume is unusual: it is reversible, each half reflecting the unique perspective of its author. Both men are professors in the English Department at Loyola University in New Orleans where they met. Checking In contains the observations and experiences of Schaberg, who once worked as a cross-utilized agent for SkyWest Airlines at the Gallatin Field Airport near Bozeman, Montana while he was attending graduate school. In Checking Out, Yakich explores his lifelong fear of flying. Schaberg and Yakich recently launched a website, www.airplanereading.org, on which they publish an ongoing anthology about air travel in their effort, according to the website’s mission statement, to take airplane reading “beyond throwaway entertainment or mere distraction.”
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  • Book Type Edited
  • by Sarah Rabkin, Irene Reti, and Ellen Farmer
  • Date Published September 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0-972334365
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 340pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Alyse Bensel
Gathering from the oral tradition of organic and sustainable farmers along the coast of the Central California region, Cultivating a Movement compiles selected interviews from key farmers that began and continue to pursue the sustainable agriculture movement in the United States and Mexico. While this project highlights only 27 individuals and couples, the vast online archive contains many more interviews with key farmers, politicians, academics, scientists, and many more ecologically minded individuals that contribute to this movement. Ranging in age, gender, class, and ethnicity, all of these farmers are involved with organic and sustainable farms that vary in size and crop.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Jonathan Ball
  • Date Published October 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-55245-263-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 103pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Gina Myers
In his “36 Assumptions About Playwriting,” José Rivera instructs, “In all your plays be sure to write at least one impossible thing. And don't let your director talk you out of it.” Jonathan Ball takes this idea to a new level in his collection, Clockfire. Billed as poetry on its press release, this genre-defying collection consists of “blueprints for imaginary plays that would be impossible to produce.”
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by John McNally
  • Date Published September 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-58729-920-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 274pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Elena Spagnolie
In his new book, The Creative Writer’s Survival Guide: Advice from an Unrepentant Novelist, John McNally gives an honest and highly informative account of his experiences in the writing/publishing industry. As he cautions his readers in the introduction entitled “The Writer’s Wonderland—Or: A Warning,” this book is not an instruction manual on how to write short stories, it’s not a place to seek writing prompts, and the author does not claim to have a formulaic answer to getting published. Rather, he explains:
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Andrew Kozma
  • Date Published October 2007
  • ISBN-13 978-0978612719
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 74pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Deborah Diemont
The poems in Andrew Kozma’s City of Regret spring from a source of electric personality and emotion, striving to escape grief by staring at it unblinkingly until it becomes something else. Surrealistic images stretch and bend until they encounter recognizable truths. Metaphors, which may at first appear too close in the mirror, shift to give perspective: the poem becomes a unified field of beauty. For example, in “The Cleansing Power of Metaphor” we see:
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Miguel Antonio Ortiz
  • Date Published January 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9801786-9-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 206pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Paul Pedroza
The Cisco Kid in the Bronx is a Caribbean emigrant bildungsroman that at moments may remind the reader of the classic collection Drown by Junot Diaz. Ortiz’s collection certainly fulfills many of the conventions of what could be considered a Caribbean Diaspora literature.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Wayne Miller
  • Date Published September 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-57131-445-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 104pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by James Crews
The principal aim of The City, Our City, the latest poetry collection by Wayne Miller, is to construct a difficult, philosophical poetics that most audiences will have trouble wrestling into meaning. I have no problem with being pleasantly mystified or even confused (Lynn Emanuel’s latest work baffles me even as I gasp with wonder), but this book straddles a fine line between unsettling readers and completely turning them off. Since Miller’s previous volumes, especially The Book of Props, have won praise from many circles (including The New Yorker), perhaps he need not worry about losing readers; his audience may well be confined to those in the academy. And after all, The City, Our City does still showcase the poet’s remarkable skill, though it should be noted that his most successful poems establish a scene and context in which his talent begins to shine. In “Winter Pastoral,” a quiet love poem, he writes:
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