NewPages.com is news, information, and guides to literary magazines, independent publishers, creative writing programs, alternative periodicals, indie bookstores, writing contests, and more.

Book Reviews by Title - I (65)

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Shane McCrae
  • Date Published February 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0819577115
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 108pp
  • Price $24.95
  • Review by Kimberly Ann Priest

When I began reading Shane McCrae’s In the Language of my Captor, an 86-page book of poems and prose highlighting racial prejudice in both historical and present contexts, I was not the least familiar with the story of Jim Limber, an octoroon (1/8 African ancestry) orphan taken in by Jefferson Davis and his wife, Varina, from 1864 to 1865. Growing up in the American north during the 80s and 90s, I learned Civil War history from a northern grade school perspective that celebrated the greatness of leaders like Abraham Lincoln, the importance of the Union, and that highlighted the incredible progresses made toward racial justice then and since. Limber was not part of that learned history.

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by James Allen Hall
  • Date Published April 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9963167-7-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 156pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by MacKenzie Hamilton

A collection of essays has never been so utterly tragic and full of truth. James Allen Hall’s I Liked You Better Before I Knew You So Well is overflowing with vulnerability, and it is the vulnerability that makes the reading experience worth it. Hall’s essays demonstrate his ability to marry poetry and prose in a relationship that I hope will only continue to blossom.

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Rochelle Hurt
  • Date Published November 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9973184-2-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 79pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by DM O'Connor

Selected by Richard Blanco as the 2015 winner of The Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize, Rochelle Hurt’s In Which I Play the Runaway is a tightly-structured map of the human heart. Spanning the ventricles of mythical America, each section is named after a town: Last Chance, California; Hurt, Virginia; Needmore, Indiana; Accident, Maryland; and Honesty, Ohio—the author names the inner-workings of daughter, mother, wife, and poet. Almost all the sections conclude with a prose poem and contain self-portraits and dioramas. Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz provides a dramatic-persona through-line, much in the vein of Berryman’s alter-ego Huffy Henry, creating a close to perfectly-structured second collection.

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by John Skoyles
  • Date Published October 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-88748-614-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 72pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Daniel Klawitter

“The proper study / of monkey-kind is man, / and the true study / of man is shenanigans.” So writes the playful, keen-eyed and accomplished poet John Skoyles in the poem “Evolutionary Shenanigans” from his fourth book of poetry, Inside Job. Inside Job is divided into three untitled sections, and the poems run the gamut from the autobiographical to sketches of literary figures like Jorge Luis Borges and Grace Paley.

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Chloe Caldwell
  • Date Published October 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-56689-453-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 184pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Kelly Sauvage Angel

If truth be told, I simply wasn’t prepared for my reality to shift. My perspective, my worldview, suited me just fine. Yet, upon encountering I’ll Tell You in Person, a collection of essays by Chloe Caldwell, which appears deceptively unassuming at first glance, I rediscovered a lushness within the human experience that had somehow slipped from my grasp over the course of four decades plus three intentionally subdued years with hopes of merely staying afloat.

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Robin Gaines
  • Date Published June 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-942004-21-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 238pp
  • Price $22.99
  • Review by Denise Hill

It’s a mistake to call Invincible Summers a ‘coming-of-age story,’ even though that’s what the publishers say on the back cover blurb. Following Claudia Goodwin through eleven (not always consecutive) summers from the time she was six years old, I never got the sense that this was a character in search of herself, looking to grow into some kind of womanhood that was waiting for her—the womanhood defined by the 1960s – 1970s. Nor was she running away, breaking away, struggling to be or become. There was none of that. Instead, what I experienced reading Invincible Summers was a zen-steady character whose ever-changing and unpredictable world was nothing out of the ordinary from what millions of lives look like, if only we could read the lives of those millions of people who surround us. Claudia is a girl, and then young woman, who lives by responding to events, who makes choices which determine the route she takes as she ages, and who explores and comes to better understand the life she has lived.

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by M.L. Liebler
  • Date Published April 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-­0-­8143-­4202-­2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $15.99
  • Review by Benjamin Champagne
A friend of mine said Google killed the revolutionary. The 99% feel rich. We’re numb and fat. I have access to everything I could ever want. As a matter of fact, my imagination no longer seems as vast as the possibilities created by the internet. However, M.L. Liebler confronts this notion a bit. It is a nudge of awakening. In a generation of Americans with infinite privilege, poverty isn’t even true poverty. He has seen the revolutions in Detroit and the raging in the desert on the other side of the planet. I Want to Be Once ​has the heart of a sage bringing wisdom to those without experience. While I may be stuck behind my computer, living a life of privilege and low conceit, seeking out only those things pertinent to me, Liebler delivers the news of reality and a slant to go along with it. The revolution is in the letter.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Rick Bursky
  • Date Published September 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-938160-70-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 72pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Heath Bowen
I used to laugh at the notion of singularity because it objectified the pluralizing concept of always wanting more. Good poetry is like that; it is circulatory, a wheel constantly spinning between the yin and the yang of existence. I don't mind that one poem is different than the next, only that somehow the wheel doesn't get stuck and I become lost in the duality of it all.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry/Nonfiction
  • by Kate Colby
  • Date Published June 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-937027-45-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 128pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Nichole L. Reber
Innovative forms written by literary warriors like Kate Colby illustrate the breadth of structural opportunities in contemporary nonfiction. In the case of Colby’s I Mean, the writer approaches poetry with dynamics and patterns perhaps otherwise expected of prose, and even repeats those techniques in prose.
  • Subtitle Illustrated Novel-in-Poems
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Nicelle Davis
  • Date Published March 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-941628-00-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 94pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland
Set aside your preconceived ideas of a circus. Sure, clowns, animals, and oddballs populate In the Circus of You, an illustrated novel in poems, but the words and drawings are a revelation. Poet Nicelle Davis and artist Cheryl Gross, each seeming to have a circus within themselves, team up to create a fantastic mini-world combining reality with illusion, and not always in a fun way.
Page 1 of 5
newpages-footer-logo

We welcome any/all Feedback.