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Book Reviews by Title - C (97)

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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 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 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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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Steven Cramer
  • Date Published November 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936747-46-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 65pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Trena Machado
In psychiatric terms, “clangings” is a thought disorder experienced by those with schizophrenia and manic states in which words are connected by sound rather than concepts, and speech and thoughts can quickly veer in a new direction in a disconnected way. In Clangings by Steven Cramer, each page has a poem of five quatrains that stands alone as a self-contained piece but also furthers the book’s connected story of a narrator reflecting on his life “in his way.” There are two pages that break this pattern and provide clarity of the narrator knowing his misaligned place in the scheme of things. Close to the end of the book:
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Warren Woessner
  • Date Published March 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-0979393440
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Roy Wang
The Midwestern voice has been with us long enough now that sometimes we forget that, like all innovations, it once required inventing. The Chinese capacity for understatement is something that I have also taken for granted, not remembering that such stances would be considered a departure from our American ancestors of Whitman and Dickenson. Warren Woessner recently reminded me of this unexpected connection between the Minnesota miller and Tang aristocrat in a brief interview below his Minneapolis law office, eloquently providing his own juxtaposition.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Trey Moody
  • Date Published November 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-934832-26-4
  • Format Chapbook
  • Pages 27pp
  • Price $9.00
  • Review by Gina Myers
Trey Moody opens his chapbook Climate Reply with a quote from Francis Ponge’s “The Crate” (translated by Margaret Guiton): “Halfway between cage (cage) and cachot (prison cell) the French language has cageot, a simple openwork container for transporting fruits that sicken at the least hint of suffocation.” This idea of something in between, the slight removal or separation—but also the space for breath—pervades the poems that follow, as do the ideas of sickening and suffocation, in this collection that feels markedly Mid-Western, with its open land, its expansive and threatening skies, and its inability to shake its ghosts.
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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 Poetry
  • by Timothy Donnelly
  • Date Published September 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-933517-47-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 147pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Alissa Fleck
With impressively unconventional language, Timothy Donnelly’s The Cloud Corporation explores the inextricable conflict accompanying the acquisition of knowledge and the act of thinking. Many of the book’s poems read like the experience of peering into the mind of someone who spends extensive periods of time alone, musing on the philosophy of the everyday. Donnelly’s speaker often expresses a desire for passiveness—to be removed from the process of thought altogether—or demonstrates an attempt to rationalize spiritual thought and themes with his bleaker version of reality. The poet takes the language and ideas of the spiritual for a fresh spin, even rewriting certain biblical stories to fit with a more modern perspective of commerce and industry. In “Chapter for Breathing Air Among the Waters,” Donnelly epitomizes this prevailing uncertainty of knowledge:
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Beth Spencer
  • Date Published April 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-939639-15-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

A figure named Alice dominates the initial section of Beth Spencer’s poetry book, The Cloud Museum. Is Alice real? You’ll have to judge for yourself. The second section of the book swirls around the definitely real artist Jay DeFeo.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by L.S. Klatt
  • Date Published March 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-58729-971-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 84pp
  • Price $17.00
  • Review by C.J. Opperthauser
Fellow Michigander L.S. Klatt's newest collection of poems, Cloud of Ink, showcases his abilities with words and his enormous arsenal of them. Without a doubt, my favorite thing about this collection is the surprising diction that shows up in every poem. Given a poem's topic and Klatt's writing style, one can never know what string of exciting and beautiful words might come next. In “Nocturnal Movements of the Porcupine,” we see this in action:
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