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Book Reviews by Title - J (5)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Rosalie Moffett
  • Date Published November 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8142-5384-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 64pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

Rosalie Moffett won The Journal Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize with her debut collection of poetry titled June in Eden. In this, her prize-winning book, Moffett shapes original ideas into poems that reflect her interest in family, science and technology. It’s dedicated to her mother and father, and they’re featured throughout.

  • Subtitle Contemporary Tales of Crime and Other Dark Deeds
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Anthology Edited
  • by Kenneth Wishnia
  • Date Published November 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-62963-111-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 432pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

A short story is the perfect medium for busy people, and Jewish Noir, heralded as the first book of its kind, presents a month’s worth of short stories to delight any reader of the genre. Editor Kenneth Wishnia sums up the lure: “[ . . . ] a majority of the world’s Christians are taught that if you follow the right path, everything will turn out well for you in the end. In Judaism, you can follow the right path and still get screwed (just ask Job). That’s noir.”

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Rosalind Brackenbury
  • Date Published February 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-934909-25-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 98pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Alissa Fleck
There is still so much surprise to be had in “old” age. In the title poem of The Joy of the Nearly Old, Rosalind Brackenbury writes of a dying poet, “poetry / changes nothing in the world, / only poetry. But poetry, he told me, / is everything.” In Brackenbury’s world, the poem is the oasis. Viewing life as an extended poem, one unendingly upbeat though not without its share of obstacles, is one way the poet’s speaker continues to find surprise in “nearly old” age. Death is inevitably sprinkled throughout the pages of a book about aging, waving to us from over the brink, but sadness remains largely buried under the surface of these poems, particularly those about death. Even death is not so daunting; it is always met with optimism, as after all it has only “terrier jaws.” The Joy of the Nearly Old is minimal in structure—short lines compose short poems; syntax and diction are simple and airy—but it is only deceptively minimal in idea. To say it plainly, the poet makes writing poignant poems—the kind that sting like bees and are gone before you know what has happened—look easy. In these poems, small things physically fill big spaces, and the same is figuratively true of Brackenbury’s writing prowess.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Brent Cunningham
  • Date Published January 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1891190353
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 120pp
  • Price $13.50
  • Review by Trena Machado
In Journey to the Sun, the author tells of his travels at age thirteen to the “Source of All Life.” The book is difficult to categorize; no ready vessel of satire, political tract, manifesto, spoof, spoken word will corral it, but there is shouting, exuberance, spontaneity of energetic discovery in short narrative phrases: OK!, alight! alight!, Gold & Heat & Progress for all! 4x4x4!, you are not the FIRST!, you are not even the TRILLIONTH!, this is AMERICA!, Double Slash Zero! The human VOICE is heard in this writing. The book begins with an Invocation:
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Brian Clements
  • Date Published December 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-935835-00-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 132pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Sima Rabinowitz
The etymology of the word jargon is unclear—historians of language aren’t sure of its derivation—which is ironic, considering what it means, and marvelously appropriate. In a pure sense, it simply connotes a specialized vocabulary related to a specific discipline or profession, though it’s common to hear the term used to refer, in a negative sense, to language that is considered impenetrable or deliberately opaque. I love the word and the idea of jargon as the title of a book of poems and prose poems. At the same time, I would say that Jargon is, happily, not impenetrable (as in incomprehensible), and while it reflects a unique and quirky personality and intelligence, it is not so much deliberately opaque, as deliberately and persistently original, and sometimes wonderfully confusing (a confusion I ended up not minding in the least).

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