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Book Reviews by Title - G (45)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Montana Ray
  • Date Published May 2015
  • ISBN-13 978­-1-­938247­-16­-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 55pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Benjamin Champagne
If you Google search Montana Ray, there is a good chance you will find a (guns and butter) shower curtain. This lends to the understanding of concrete poems and their relationship to the modern dialogue in poetry. Concrete poems, or shape poems/visual poems can be considered the bastard child of literature. An exercise in class that only the nerdy kids take seriously. A fun exercise that is just that: an exercise. However, in subverting this notion, Montana Ray finds the means to exalt the depraved and to tyrannize the tyrannical.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Valerie Fioravanti
  • Date Published December 2012
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 188pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Elizabeth O'Brien
Garbage Night at the Opera is writer Valerie Fioravanti’s debut short story collection. Set in Brooklyn, New York, the book follows the trajectory of two successive generations of a large family of Italian descent. At the heart of the family are several sisters who, as they enter adulthood, live on and raise their own families in the building where they grew up. The sisters appear and reappear throughout the stories in the many roles their lives demand of them: as sisters, wives, mothers, aunts, and so on. Tracking the family tree through the book’s jumble of characters and relationships can be difficult at times, but this is fortunately not necessary to the understanding of the story lines.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Garrett Socol
  • Date Published December 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9841025-7-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 240pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Kirsten McIlvenna
The title to Garrett Socol’s fiction book, Gathered Here Together, at first may be reminiscent of the phrase shared at the beginning of a wedding ceremony, but as soon as you dive into the first few stories, it is clear that the people are gathered for funerals. In fact, the short story from which the book gets its title is a story about a woman flying home for the funeral of her best friend. The tie that links the collection together is the theme of death; even when you think it is going to be a great love story, death creeps up, just as death creeps up on us in real life. The book explores the different ways that death, the fear of death, or the consequences of death can turn life in new directions.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Donald Anderson
  • Date Published September 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-60938-111-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 226pp
  • Price $21.00
  • Review by Cheryl Wright-Watkins
In his author’s note at the beginning of his book, Donald Anderson writes: “I concern myself in this book with matters of war, race, religion, memory, illness, and family, sources of humor and horror. And: boxing, which has been reported in literature from Homer on.” This diverse list prepares the reader for the book’s numerous intersecting threads of themes and topics. Boxing stands alone here, because in addition to being a theme for rumination, its images of bobbing and weaving, punching and ducking describe the book’s structure. As the title suggests, this memoir is not a linear narrative but a chronological series of memories, quotes, and data, some related and some seemingly random, that trace the writer’s life from his birth in Butte, Montana in 1946 to his current life as director of the creative writing program at the U. S. Air Force Academy in Colorado.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by William Tod Seabrook
  • Date Published September 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-09828957-6-4
  • Format Chapbook
  • Pages 36pp
  • Price $12.00
  • Review by Patricia Contino
Few American lives are as well documented as J. Robert Oppenheimer’s (1904-1967). The FBI kept files on “The Father of the Atomic Bomb” from 1941 (when he joined The Manhattan Project) up until the year before his death. Far more insight into the theoretical physicist’s controversial life and work is found in biographies by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin (their American Prometheus won the Pulitzer Prize) and scientist/historian Abraham Pais (J. Robert Oppenheimer: A Life). Politicians, military leaders, activists, and religious fanatics have exploited Oppenheimer’s legacy, but few can explain its ramifications better than Richard Rhodes did in his Pulitzer- and National Book Award-winning The Making of the Atomic Bomb.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by TC Tolbert
  • Date Published May 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-934103-52-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Trena Machado
In Gephyromania, which means the love of building bridges, we are given a “subtextual consciousness of queer” per the author, TC Tolbert, who is a genderqueer feminist poet and teacher. S/he is co-editor for The Feminist Wire and a curator for Trickhouse, an online cross-genre arts journal. Tolbert also founded Made for Flight, a youth empowerment program using writing and kite building, commemorating murdered transgender people, to bring awareness about homophobia and transphobia.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Armando Lucas Correa
  • Date Published October 2016
  • ISBN-13 9781501121142
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 384pp
  • Price $26.99
  • Review by Olive Mullet

Armando Lucas Correa’s novel The German Girl is a sad Holocaust story, one not heard before. Based on an historical tragedy, never acknowledged by the Cuban government, it nevertheless includes the names and pictures of many of the 937 passengers on the St. Louis ship, fleeing Nazi Germany, who were not allowed to disembark at Havana on May 27, 1939—nor allowed into Canada or the U.S. They had to return to Europe where England, France, Belgium and Holland each took some but by then Germany declared war and only the English refugees were safe. Before that, some passengers with precious cyanide capsules committed suicide, because so few were allowed into Cuba, where more discrimination followed them, forcing many other outsiders to make the perilous journey to Miami. This story made is individual, personal and emotional by the focus on the Rosenthal family fleeing Berlin.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Ben Mirov
  • Date Published May 2010
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 105pp
  • Price $8.00
  • Review by Dan Magers
In Ben Mirov’s debut poetry collection Ghost Machine, the overriding tension is the kinetic, non-reflective “I” (or sometimes “Eye”) stabbing through a list of seemingly random present-tense actions with an ADD-like attention span, overlaid with the sense of a haunting presence (or presences), creating the space of a temporal past. The randomness with which actions and thoughts take place suggests a lack of agency, but as the momentum builds it seems more that that barely-there presence is stirring – if not driving – the action.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Matt Schumacher
  • Date Published October 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9971549-2-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 148pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Daniel Klawitter

If you at times find yourself (as I often do) feeling a bit bummed out by the overproduction of postmodern, fragmentary poems that deliberately eschew narrative elements of storytelling, a self or subject, and/or any sense of purpose and closure, then do yourself a favor and pick up Matt Schumacher’s Ghost Town Odes. This is an ambitious book of poetry seeking to narrate tales of tribulation and triumph in the Old West, particularly in Oregon, the state the author currently calls home.

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  • Book Type Edited
  • by Keith Taylor and Laura Kasischke
  • Date Published September 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0814334744
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 212pp
  • Price $18.95
  • Review by Ryan Wilson
When we think about North American geography and ghost stories, the Midwest United States feels somewhat lacking. Maybe that’s because we think of the region historically as merely a way toward somewhere else, and thus any good haunting it might have acquired also feels ephemeral. Ghosts also require a decent amount of tragedy. The East has its colonies and its Puritanical roots based in part on superstitions. The South, of course, has its own tragic pillar of slavery and its gothic aftermath. Even the West has plenty of dead and displaced Native Americans. So the Midwest would seem to need its own man-made disaster to birth some spirits.
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