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Book Reviews by Title - D (78)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Juan Gelman
  • Translated From Spanish
  • by Hardie St. Martin
  • Date Published November 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1934824689
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 187pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Lydia Pyne
Dark Times Filled with Light is a brilliant collection of poems, spanning four decades, by Argentinean poet Juan Gelman. Virtually unknown to English-speaking literary audiences, Gelman is the recipient of relatively recent international acclaim, including a Cervantes Prize and Argentine National Poetry Prize, and his work continues to be translated into English. More impressive, however, than Gelman’s vitae is the sheer poetical power and pull of his work. Gelman’s poetry negotiates the boundaries between politics and history, between voice and borders, and gives an enigmatic narrative thread to the life and times of a poet in exile. It is impossible to not appreciate the sophistication and pathos that is etched in the work.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Meg Pokrass
  • Date Published January 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-935708-17-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 171pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Tessa Mellas
Meg Pokrass’s collection Damn Sure Right packs in a whopping eighty-eight stories. Short-shorts. Flash fiction. Whatever you call them, Meg Pokrass is their queen. She’s made a career out of flash fiction. She teaches flash fiction workshops nationally and has published over a hundred pieces in journals. In a market that goads short story writers to crank out novels, she’s firm in her commitment to keep it tight. But while most of us literature lovers have enjoyed a brilliant short-short in our time, few of us have read a whole book of them or even know how.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Janisse Ray
  • Date Published September 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8203-3815-6
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 256pp
  • Price $22.95
  • Review by Alyse Bensel
Drifting into Darien, part memoir and part natural history, logs the memory of not only the people of the Altamaha River region in Georgia, but the landscape itself. In a multi-part larger essay and a series of smaller essays, Janisse Ray reminds us of this essential but little-known river. Readers who already possess knowledge of ecology and biology, as well as novice environmentalists, will appreciate the detail displayed by Ray’s knowledge of her native landscape. A strong environmental focus propels this collection of essays forward, urging the reader to take action to preserve not only the Altamaha, but their own rivers as well.
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  • Book Type Graphics
  • by Cristy C. Road
  • Date Published September 2007
  • ISBN-13 978-0978866518
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 90pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Sean Lovelace
As the name implies, the DIY (Do It Yourself) movement is all about self-sufficiency. The punk branch of this larger concept pushes the ideology even further, basically shouting to all: “If your activities (aka consumer services or items) exploit planet Earth or creatures of, then f—k off! We’ll do it ourselves!” This model is essentially economic, finding new (and theoretically purer) paths around consumer culture, from music production (David Ferguson, Michelle Branch, etc.) to advertising (the very successful Sticker Junkie, among others) to the local farmer’s market or garage sale (or dare I say eBay?). DIY innately lends itself to the sensibilities of art and the internet: blogs, zines, forums, the arteries and chambers of the underground, of buzz, immediacy and verve – the hiss and crackle of punk.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Mahogany L. Browne
  • Date Published December 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9841513-9-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 222pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Aaron M. Smith
If you want spirit, attitude, and a slap of honesty, then #Dear Twitter is the sort of poetry that will be your best friend. Mahogany L. Browne has a way of rendering her poems both aesthetically pleasing and succinct. She can capture a ray of beauty in less than 140 characters and teach the reader a life lesson at the same time. This is a book of poetry that will appeal mostly to younger generations; readers who are avid users of Twitter will garner the most from this book, but everyone will benefit from its humor and wise words—for example, “dear bones: u will break. Dear spirit: u will shatter. Dear heart: u will bruise again & again, but u will be the hardest to fix…”
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Kim Echlin
  • Date Published December 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0802170668
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 235pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Katherine Kipp
The novel The Disappeared, by Kim Echlin, is one that defines how love can surpass not only generations but countries as well. The story comes through so naturally – the narrator not hesitating to let true statements of the heart come through when need be – that, by the end of the novel, I felt as if this was a story told to me personally by a good friend.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Mathias Svalina
  • Date Published November 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-880834-87-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 83pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Noel Sloboda
Mathias Svalina’s Destruction Myth is a collection of great intellectual rigor, grounded by an awareness of the everyday. It presents a series of forty-four poems, all but one entitled “Creation Myth.” Reaching back into history – and sometimes prehistory – Svalina’s poems explore origins. Indeed, almost every work but the last (“Destruction Myth”) starts with some variation of “In the beginning.” Relying upon this formula lifted from “Genesis,” Svalina nonetheless demonstrates great range. He presents highly personal material, confessing “how I felt / when I was eight years old / & my home broke apart,” alongside thought-provoking anthropological generalizations (“Human life begins / at the moment / of contraception”; “Nothing without thumbs / is human”). And he displays skill with both free verse and prose – though the latter mode seems better suited for his forthright tone and frequent use of dialogue.
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Michael Kimball
  • Date Published September 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-1846880551
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 288pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Josh Maday
Michael Kimball’s third novel, Dear Everybody, is wonderfully subtitled “A Novel Written in the Form of Letters, Diary Entries, Encyclopedia Entries, Conversations with Various People, Notes Sent Home from Teachers, Newspaper Articles, Psychological Evaluations, Weather Reports, a Missing Person Flyer, a Eulogy, a Last Will and Testament, and Other Fragments, Which Taken Together Tell the Story of the Short Life of Jonathon Bender, Weatherman.” Kimball juxtaposes these fragments to cultivate a swirl of humor and sadness, giving the reader a palpable sense of Jonathon’s intense alienation and loneliness at the center of the increasingly unhappy Bender family.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Thani Al-Suwaidi
  • Translated From Arabic
  • by William M. Hutchins
  • Date Published July 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9838683-1-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by H. V. Cramond
First published in Beirut in the mid-90s, Thani Al-Suwaidi’s The Diesel was labeled a “shock-novel” by early critics; this novella’s protagonist shifts gender identity and moves in a world of desire that spans not only the range of hetero- and homosexual yearnings, but stretches to encompass the sea and the sun. The book has since gained acceptance, and, according to translator William M. Hutchins, Al-Suwaidi has become an important Emirati author. As the United States continues to awaken from cultural isolationism and its political activists are inspired by uprisings in the Gulf region, this important translation is more relevant to English-speaking audiences now than when the book was first written.
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Carol Sammy
  • Date Published January 2010
  • ISBN-13 9781408231289
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 178pp
  • Review by Alex Myers
Carol Sammy’s debut novel, Dilemmas of Deokie, captures the spirit and culture of Trinidad through the story of the young woman, Deokie. Though Deokie is too old for this novel to properly be termed a coming-of-age story, it is certainly the tale of a coming-of-self. Gradually, over the course of the novel’s anecdotes and scenes, the character and quandary of Deokie emerges: a young woman who loves her country and wants to make it better, yet feels helpless to do so.
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