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Book Reviews by Title - I (66)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Lisa Fay Coutley
  • Date Published July 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0982876633
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 26pp
  • Price $9.00
  • Review by Aimee Nicole
Lisa Fay Coutley’s most recent chapbook highlights numerous poems published in an array of literary magazines. Within each poem, the ideas are very fragmented; however, Coutley weaves them together so that each idea feeds from the one that precedes it. While there may be an overall theme, no poem constricts to one image; instead, she creates a collage of images to support a theme. For example, in her poem “After the Fire”:
  • Subtitle Illustrated Novel-in-Poems
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  • 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.
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  • Book Type Stories
  • by Kyle Minor
  • Date Published November 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-0979312366
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 220pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Sean Carman
Kyle Minor's stories take place in some pretty rough terrain. The first three words of "The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl Party," the opening story in In the Devil's Territory, tell us that the narrator hates Christmas. Then we learn that his family's Christmas gathering, which would be stifling in any year, is complicated by his wife's high-risk pregnancy, his sick and unruly child, and his mother's painful recuperation from surgery. This year, the family is not celebrating Christmas, it is suffering an ordeal.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Bonnie Bolling
  • Date Published February 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0982488058
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 69pp
  • Price $10.95
  • Review by Renee Emerson
Bonnie Bolling’s collection In the Kingdom of the Sons, winner of the 2011 Liam Rector First Book Prize for Poetry selected by Tom Sleigh, is a sensual work from a distinctly female perspective, exploring topics of motherhood, sexuality and domesticity, and how these aspects of being a woman interplay.
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  • Book Type Flash Fiction
  • by Geoffrey Forsyth
  • Date Published July 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-0978989847
  • Format Chapbook
  • Pages 34pp
  • Price $12.00
  • Review by Sean Lovelace
When Flash Fiction was younger, you'd see it only occasionally in the neighborhood, maybe pedaling through the pages of Mid-American Review. But then something happened. Flash grew up, and got itself a diverse group of friends, with funky names like Short-Short and Postcard Fiction. Now, flash fiction is everywhere, in all of the magazines, online and in print, and we have publications devoted to the genre (SmokeLong Quarterly, Quick Fiction, flashquake, to name but a few). The next step of this maturation was natural, necessary, and finally realized: entire collections of flash fiction put out by publishers like Elixer, Calamari, Ravenna, and Rose Metal Press, who recently published Geoffrey Forsyth's In the Land of the Free, the winner of their Second Annual Short Short Chapbook Contest. Clearly, this innovative press respects the flash fiction genre, and the idea of book as artifact. The text is an aesthetic marvel. Carefully crafted from a textured French paper, with an emerald green endpaper of Indian silk with straw, this objet d’art is something to behold. In a word: impressive.
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  • 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.

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  • Book Type Drama
  • by Sarah Ruhl
  • Date Published October 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-55936-360-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 144pp
  • Price $13.95
  • Review by K. Frithjof Peterson
For fans of Sarah Ruhl’s fanciful often highly theatrical works (Clean House, Eurydice, Melancholy Play) the premise of her latest, Pulitzer Finalist play, In the Next Room or the vibrator play may seem a risky departure from her trademark style. For starters, it is a period piece rooted heavily in historically specific research. At the least, this venture could limit the scope of the timeless, amorphous worlds she often creates and at the worst it could stifle the lyrical beauty that often spills from characters in their theatrically heightened worlds. Fortunately, In the Next Room lacks none of the poetry of Ruhl’s early work.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by N. Scott Momaday
  • Date Published October 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8263-4816-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 144pp
  • Price $18.95
  • Review by Carol Dorf
In the Presence of the Sun brings N. Scott Momaday’s work to a new generation of readers. Momaday, a novelist and poet from the Kiowa tribe, combines the mainstream modernism of American poetry with an oral-language inspired reference to Kiowa and other Southwest Native American traditions, particularly the Navaho.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by John Kinsella
  • Date Published April 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8040-1137-2
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 190pp
  • Price $24.95
  • Review by Olive Mullet
John Kinsella’s In the Shade of the Shady Tree: Stories of Wheatbelt Australia should entice the reader who enjoys unusual fiction in a strange place of extremes, off the tourist map. Kinsella describes his very short short stories as “stories told for the moment, out of experience more than ‘art,’”—similar to Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio. Kinsella’s interests are how the people
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Phillip Sterling
  • Date Published March 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0814335079
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 134pp
  • Price $18.95
  • Review by Matthew C. Smith
Titling a collection of short stories In Which Brief Stories Are Told may seem rather obvious, but Phillip Sterling’s tales of loss, detachment, and mystery reveal the complications inherent in narrative and character, and call into question the relationship between narrator and audience. Throughout, he brings to life characters we ordinarily might not give a second glance: bystanders and passers-by who, like the reader, catch only glimpses of the greater plot in which they play a role.
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