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Book Reviews by Title - F (46)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Amy Sara Carroll
  • Date Published March 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8232-5091-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 104pp
  • Price $19.00
  • Review by H. V. Cramond
Poetry is often viewed as a respite from the noise and violence of the “real world.” A podcast that paused to lament the anti-intellectual culture of American politics talked of a book of poetry at a president’s bedside in the same breath as vacation and exercise. These things are necessary, or productive even, but not of the same world.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by April Moore
  • Date Published July 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-1-61035-172-0
  • Format Hardcover
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Patricia Contino
The backstory of Folsom’s 93: The Lives and Crimes of Folsom Prison’s Executed Men would make a pretty good book of its own. Author April Moore’s great-great-aunt Betty, a “fiery redhead” who worked in Los Angles nightclubs, was married to Tom, a professional gambler and bookie with ties to LA and Las Vegas crime syndicates. If that wasn’t enough to keep family phone lines and dinner conversations buzzing, Tom had photos and dossiers of all 93 men executed at Folsom Prison between 1895 to 1937. Why he had them is a mystery; they came into his possession following a visit to the prison to collect a debt from a prisoner. After Betty’s death, the author acquired, as her grandfather labeled them, “the ugly mugs.” Moore follows this irresistible film noir of an introduction with straightforward accounts of how the condemned went to the gallows.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Paul Killebrew
  • Date Published April 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9822376-2-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 75pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Jeremy Benson
I’m a sucker for well-played formalism. Mongrel poetry; pedigreed from sestinas and villanelles, but – some earlier generation having snuck out the back with a scraggly beat poet – nearly unrecognizable, with crooked teeth and fantastic, durable hips.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Angela Vogel
  • Date Published November 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-935716-10-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by Marcus Myers
Fort Gorgeous, Angela Vogel’s first full-length collection, populates an original fairytale landscape—one grounded thematically in 19th and 20th century American literature and painting—with a village of anachronistic, pop-cultural misfits who define the contours of the contemporary American identity. Vogel’s poems, so playful and satisfying when read aloud, imply that these American archetypes, figures once representing a type of individualism, have now been commodified, reduced to emblems in our mass-produced, mashed-up and hyper-mediated versions of reality. The reader imagines, while reading the thirty-seven ultra-imaginative poems in this collection, that the characters in Fort Gorgeous have themselves mindlessly purchased the dream of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, neatly packaged and wrapped.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Mihaela Moscaliuc
  • Date Published January 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-882295-78-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 84pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by John Findura
Few books can be called “page-turners,” and even fewer books of poetry can claim that sobriquet, yet that is exactly what Mihaela Moscaliuc has managed to do with her debut collection, Father Dirt.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Zach Savich
  • Date Published January 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-880834-95-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 86pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Alissa Fleck
In The Firestorm, Zach Savich urges the reader along through the unknowable, manifested frequently in the whims of both the literal and human atmospheres, and resulting in the ultimate questioning of a belief in anything. A series of Savich’s poems, all beginning “I suppose I do believe in nothing,” highlight the paradoxical and infinitely regressive nature of belief. In “Silent Film,” Savich again forces us to examine our preconceptions of belief, writing, “The heart by definition the one thing we have not defined.”
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Mark Neely
  • Date Published September 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0979713743
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 48pp
  • Price $10.00
  • Review by Noel Sloboda
Here are four reasons to read Mark Neely’s chapbook Four of A Kind, winner of the 2009 Concrete Wolf Chapbook Competition:
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Sarah Vap
  • Date Published October 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9818591-6-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 75pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Alissa Fleck
At the heart of Sarah Vap’s Faulkner’s Rosary is a sense of conflict, at once extreme yet also subdued. With regard to the book’s overarching musings on maternity and the giving-of-life process, in all its various facets from the visceral to the religious, there is a collision of intense longing, optimism, anxiety, and even violence and aggression. Vap is a master of the unexpected juxtaposition, and she carefully fuses not only the maternal with the spiritual and natural, but also the possibilities of motherhood with a kind of child-like nostalgia and attention to detail. Her narrator recalls at one point her own ejection from the gifted program due to her religious curiosities, an anecdote which sits closely to the book’s core. On a technical level, Vap reveals her chops as well:
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by John Warner
  • Date Published October 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-56947-973-5
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 284pp
  • Price $24.00
  • Review by David Breithaupt
With a title such as The Funny Man, I was expecting John Warner’s novel to be about the dark side of comedy. I sensed some sort of irony. Having known a few local comics while living in NYC, I was surprised by the flip side of their comedic faces. Many of them were depressed, bi-polar, damaged by childhood abuse or simply born unstable. All, it seemed, were self-medicating with humor.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Molly Brodak
  • Date Published April 2012
  • Format Chapbook
  • Pages 28pp
  • Price $10.00
  • Review by Alyse Bensel
One doesn’t have to know Paolo Uccello and his paintings to appreciate the quiet, lingering poems of Molly Brodak’s chapbook The Flood, a series of poems transfixed upon Uccello’s little-known life and works. Breathing life into Uccello through a distinct voice as well as elucidating his paintings through ekphrastic and descriptive poems, The Flood provides a concentrated illumination of how the written word can interact with and respond to visual representation.
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