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Book Reviews by Title - L (82)

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Steven Gillis
  • Date Published October 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1945572-47-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 205pp
  • Price $24.00
  • Review by MacKenzie Hamilton

Are you happy? What is the source of your happiness? Would you say it’s love? Steven Gillis provides us with a few different answers to these questions in his new novel Liars. His characters find themselves either concretely sure of themselves, or questioning everything they know in this thrilling, somber story of a man trying to understand love.

  • Subtitle True Stories
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Minna Zallman Proctor
  • Date Published September 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-9367-8761-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 160pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Scott Russell Morris

Minna Zallman Proctor’s Landslide is a collection of “true stories” (essays, really) that focus on matters of family, familiar dysfunction, and/or love gone awry. The essays cover a wide swatch of time, with stories from Proctor’s childhood, her young adult years, and her present, and though each essay can be read separately, together they ask a question that comes up several times: Is Proctor fated to repeat her mother’s life?

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Alan Felsenthal
  • Date Published May 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-937027-87-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Ryo Yamaguchi

The opening poems of Alan Felsenthal’s Lowly suggest a collection that will fall squarely within a familiar subgenre of contemporary poetry: newly crafted myths, fables, and parables. Taking up classic modes of speech and story-telling, many poems of this subgenre operate according to a fairly defined mechanic, developing tight, logical sequences that utilize inversion, tautology, and other structural maneuvers to arrive at illuminating surprises—often with a bit of jesting. This mechanic perfectly describes the first poem of Lowly, “Two Martyrs."

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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Karen Tei Yamashita
  • Date Published September 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-56689-487-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 184pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

On April 30, 1942: "my father and his family lost their freedom upon entry to Tanforan Racetrack, a designated Assembly Center in San Bruno, California, for the wartime removal of Japanese. Arriving by bus, [ . . . ] they were housed in a series of empty horse stalls named Barrack 14. This was just the first stop; from Tanforan they would be transported by train into the Utah desert to live in a concentration camp named Topaz."

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Caits Meissner
  • Date Published October 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-986-05058-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 150pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by DM O'Connor

I have never seen anything like Caits Meissner’s first solo collection: Let it Die Hungry. Brave. Eclectic. Essential. Especially in this day and age when the rats in power are filling the swamp with evil droppings. Let It Die Hungry is a manifesto, a manual, a survivor’s message-in-a-bottle and a battle-cry.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Alan Michael Parker
  • Date Published August 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936797-74-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 84pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Kimberly Ann Priest

“Teach me to climb / Down from ambition. // Beyond my fingertips / rolls the moon.” –from the title poem, “The Ladder”

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Jennifer Givhan
  • Date Published January 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9975805-5-6
  • Format Chapbook
  • Pages 35pp
  • Price $8.50
  • Review by Anne Graue

Jennifer Givhan’s Lifeline opens with a strong voice in the first poem, “Reupholstering a Chair,” that urges one to “look up from the base of your life.” This perspective continues to play a central role in all the poems in this chapbook; the voice remains strong throughout each piece, even (or especially) those that deal with difficult subjects of loss, shame, violence, love, and death. With the final poem, “Machine for Second Chances,” there is hope in a “machine that makes / meaning, like stardust,” and strength to navigate “the footholds steep / & the footholds careless,” as “we step into our lives.”

  • Subtitle A Mood Almanack
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Mary Cappello
  • Date Published October 2016
  • ISBN-13 9780226356068
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 408pp
  • Price $29.00
  • Review by Cameron Chase

Mood: a vast penumbra of feelings Mary Cappello tries tirelessly at defining through the guiding light of these dynamic essays. Our moods can be both fixed and elastic, light and heavy—intractable vicissitudes that alter the course of our days and lives. They are at once ubiquitous and unexplained, and influenced by any number of things: clouds and weather, music, sweets, the connotation of words, View-Masters, taxidermy and dioramas, picture books, other people’s voices. These are among the influencers that Cappello explores in Life Breaks In: A Mood Almanack.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Professor Arturo
  • Date Published July 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-63045-032-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

Arthur Pfister was one of the original Broadside poets of the 1960s: talented artists whose works were displayed on one-sided posters that expressed strong feelings during that chaotic decade of political and cultural unrest. In the intervening years, he has been a spoken word artist, an educator, speechwriter, and winner of the 2009 Asante Award for his book My Name is New Orleans. Eventually, Pfister began writing under the name Professor Arturo.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Gabriel Gudding
  • Date Published 2015
  • ISBN-13 ISBN 978-1-934103-63-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 144pp
  • Price $22.00
  • Review by Trena Machado

In hybrid poem essays, Literature for Nonhumans, Gabriel Gudding has taken on the system in which we live at the level of mind and body, beliefs, laws, and values by way of our effects on the nonhumans sharing this planet with us. In “the nonhumans,” besides animals, he includes rivers, mountains, wetlands, trees, landscapes, bio niches. The nonhumans are looking back at us in their own right, subjectivity given to animals and landscapes, both seen as a “who.” By the end of the book we have a coherent viewpoint of the effect of humans on life for the reader’s consideration. The book is a disorienting set of ideas that produces a cry of the heart as we look through the lens of human ensconcement blithely operating the socio-economic system with its steamroller collateral damage.

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