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Book Reviews by Title - I (66)

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Laura Kasischke
  • Date Published March 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936747-49-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 184pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Kirsten McIlvenna
In Laura Kasischke’s first collection of short stories, she grabs you from the beginning, making you catch hold of your breath in anticipation. And I mean from the very beginning. The first line of the first story (“Mona”) reads: “They’d all warned her not to snoop.” Already, we are just as curious as the mother in her teenage daughter’s bedroom. What will she find? And in addition, what will we, as readers, find between the pages? This collection speaks of the unknown. What is your daughter hiding from you? What are the lives like for the people in the houses you pass by each day? What will happen when you grow up and are no longer a child? What lies ahead of you after death? And yet, what we find isn’t necessarily answers to those questions. I found arresting images, ones that allow both the darkness and the light to live within the same text.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Pete Fromm
  • Date Published August 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-59709-538-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 240pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Jason Hess
Pete Fromm's If Not For This was the most moving novel I read in 2014. The main characters are raft guides in the interior west. Fromm worked for many years as a river ranger in Grand Teton National Park. I chose the book based on those two kernels of information. I left the west three years ago. Before beginning my drive east in earnest, I spent a few days camping in the Tetons.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by John Jodzio
  • Date Published March 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0984418404
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 180pp
  • Price $12.95
  • Review by Keith Meatto
In this debut collection, characters deal with pain in bizarre ways. A suicidal woman seduces a man in a coma. A lawyer drops pennies on passersby from the window of his office building. And in the title story, the teenage male narrator declares:
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Edan Lepucki
  • Date Published November 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9820348-7-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 102pp
  • Price $11.50
  • Review by Tessa Mellas
Edan Lepucki is a master at characterization and humor. Her novella If You’re Not Yet Like Me, narrated by a pregnant woman describing to her unborn child the series of events leading to its conception, would likely be a sentimental flop if not for the enormous personality of its protagonist, Joellyn. Joellyn is a woman who boosts her self-esteem by gazing at her breasts in the bathtub faucet, whose reflection makes them huge, “the nipples wide-eyed, like they’d just walked into their own surprise party.” She is someone who imagined as a kid that she would grow up to be a Valkyrie, warrior-type woman, “vicious and beautiful, the roar of some exotic animal made physical.” She habitually imagines herself intimate with men she’s not attracted to and sleeps with them as good deeds, but wears the ugliest pair of underwear she owns on first dates to prevent herself from taking off her clothes too early.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Justin Hamm
  • Date Published 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-4507-4865-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 29pp
  • Price $10.00
  • Review by C.J. Opperthauser
Justin Hamm's first chapbook of poems, Illinois, My Apologies, is a wonderful sampling of Midwest-soaked poems, dripping in fathers and broken down factories. As a Midwesterner, I not only identify with these poems, but feel they express the frustrations of the region with the utmost accuracy, accompanied by some light humor and beautiful language. The beginning of “At Sixteen” showcases this best:
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Joseph Massey
  • Date Published September 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-940696-15-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 120pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Ryo Yamaguchi
Joseph Massey mentions in the refreshingly spare notes of his fourth collection Illocality that he first encountered his title word in the Emily Dickinson poem “A nearness to Tremendousness.” Dickinson is an apt predecessor for a poet of such deliberate cerebralness. Yet, for his fine command of image, so is William Carlos Williams, or any number of Asian short-form poets. Indeed it is the relationship between logic and image, mind and world, that drives these poems so evenly through their inquiries, that most characterizes their productive tensions. “We think / ourselves here,” Massey writes to close the opening poem “Parse.”
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by William Todd Seabrook
  • Date Published August 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9887645-7-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 56pp
  • Price $12.00
  • Review by Trena Machado
The Imagination of Lewis Carroll by William Todd Seabrook is the winner of the Rose Metal Press eighth annual Short Short Chapbook Contest. The book is appealing to the hand and eye, a font and layout with a flavor of Carroll’s nineteenth century. The twenty-four short chapters imaginatively take us through the life of Lewis Carroll and perhaps is a more accurate biography of him than a factual one. Seabrook uses the techniques of Carroll’s own imagination to imagine Carroll’s life of imagination.
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  • Book Type Edited
  • by William Pratt
  • Date Published October 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-097281438
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 184pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Vince Corvaia
It was during the decade of the First World War, 1910-1920, that the Imagist poem came to fruition. Imagist poetry was part of the literary revolt in the United States and England against the staid and formal techniques of the nineteenth century. William Pratt, in the introduction to his indispensable anthology The Imagist Poem – Modern Poetry in Miniature, quotes Imagist poet F.S. Flint’s three rules by which the Imagist poem exists:
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Marcela Sulak
  • Date Published April 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0982622827
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 55pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Skip Renker
The cover of Immigrant reveals the high heels and provocative bare legs of a woman peeling and eating oranges, and indeed the book depicts sexual relationships, but there are also fruits, domestic and exotic, countries of partisans, barbed wire fencing in Texas, layered speech, a clear-eyed love of the world, and dreams, too, of what’s missing. These poems, with exact, evocative lines and phrases, summon, re-awaken, evoke, as in the Latin vocare, to call, call forth. Then they shape, skillfully, the call, the voice, the song, the busses that “splash the same / sloppy syllable across each sidewalk” or “the hieroglyphs that suckle”; they move “like a tongue / through the mouths of the speechless.”
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Matthew Roberson
  • Date Published March 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1573661485
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 166pp
  • Price $13.95
  • Review by Caleb Tankersley
If you’ve ever been on a mind-melting prescription drug binge, Matthew Roberson’s new novel Impotent might be nostalgic for you. But for the rest of us in docile society, this new work from Fiction Collective 2 lives up to the bizarre, psychedelic, experimental, and well-crafted reputation of the press’s many outer-rim publications. For example, Impotent opens with the recurring characters L and I, in which L stands for “Last Name, First Name, Middle Initial” and I stands for “Insured.” No character throughout the entire work has a clear name, mirroring the dehumanization that comes with the prescription drug industry.
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