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Book Reviews by Title - L (89)

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  • Book Type Young Adult Fication
  • by Jodi Lundgren
  • Date Published March 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1897187852
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 217pp
  • Price $11.95
  • Review by Audrey Quinn
Oh, the teenage years. Insecurities, fights between friends, disagreements with parents, first loves, and broken hearts. Leap by Jodi Lundgren has it all and more. Natalie Ferguson is a fifteen-year-old who finds herself battling drugs and drinking, body issues, insecurities about dating, the struggle to hold onto childhood friends all while coping with divorced parents who are ready to move on with their lives. The amount of things on her plate would be overwhelming for anyone and through diary entries the reader goes through it all with her. Natalie’s one savior is her love of dance though she finds herself at odds with her strict dance teacher. While she explores a newfound love of modern dance, Natalie comes into her own and finds confidence in her ability to handle all of the crazy things life has thrown her way.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Daniel Bullen
  • Date Published October 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-58243-775-0
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 300pp
  • Price $28.00
  • Review by Patrick James Dunagan
Daniel Bullen delivers an intimate account of five artist-couples whose relationships stepped outside of the status quo of the times in which they lived. He admits that his interest in the subject is personal. In writing this book he was “looking for the language to reconcile marriage and desire.” Any long-lasting intimate relationship of significance is bound to be a tricky endeavor—prone to be often full of mishaps, some a matter of chance, others deliberately pursued. Bullen’s book is more concerned with the latter; the individuals in these relationships each pursue multiple lovers, leading to hopelessly complicated love lives.
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  • Book Type Cross-Genre
  • by Gérard Macé
  • Translated From French
  • by Brian Evenson
  • Date Published October 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936194-11-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Patrick James Dunagan
This is a trippy little book. A biographical note in the back describes Macé’s writings as “unclassifiable texts that cross the lines between poem, essay, dream, biography, literary criticism, anthropology, and history.” This is as good a list of summary descriptors for this book that’s to be found; Macé covers all these areas. It's a unique object of curiosity.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Kim Rosenfield
  • Date Published November 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-934254-37-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 171pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Patrick James Dunagan
In “the stigma(ta) of autopsy. [an introduction]” Trisha Low writes: “[Kim] Rosenfield’s book is a bricolage of dense and tenuous single-line poems, swelling at mid-section, only to bleed away.” She goes on to refer to this text as “a dynamic dream-state of everyday language, grammatical imperatives and overheard clausal-tidbits” and rather conclusively states: “our only readerly option is to follow these poems.” I would beg to differ. Considering two successive lines on just as many pages which read “How long did you wait? / I waited for you for nearly an hour” as “single-line poems” is a bit of a stretch. We may choose to follow the stilted and fragmentary conversation(s) scattered throughout the book or we might just as well choose not to.
Ali Hosseini’s The Lemon Grove, the author’s first novel written in English, is a moving story set in Iran during the Iran-Iraq war. The characters are well-defined, the landscape vivid and the culture personal—we care about what happens to the characters, and we learn more than most Americans know about the country.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Kate Greenstreet
  • Date Published September 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1934103098
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 104pp
  • Price $19.00
  • Review by Dan Magers
Kate Greenstreet’s deeply elegiac second full-length poetry book The Last 4 Things is an expansive meditation on a life’s moments and memories flashing before one’s eyes, but very slowly, each one lingering. The tone, wounded without being outraged, urgent but not desperate, gives the sense that what is being described is from the deep past. Some of it may be, but much of it is reflection also of how life should be lived, present tense. Descriptions are by turns elemental (“We worshipped these names as the names of our gods”) and domestic (“because we had the rakes, / we had to stop every little while and / do some raking.”). While the speaker and the characters drifting through the poems are artistic, they are portrayed also as earnest and industrious. Passages feel like they are pulled from black and white snapshots, yellowed pieces of paper, American rural life.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Kelli Russell Agodon
  • Date Published October 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1935210153
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 99pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Renee Emerson
Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room, by Kelli Russell Agodon, is a collection of charming, intelligent poems that invoke the idea of a modern day Emily addressing the world from the safety of her room. Agodon incorporates anagrams in many of the poems; for example, in “Believing Anagrams,” “funeral” becomes “real fun,” “Emily Dickinson” becomes “inky misled icon” and “poetry” becomes “prey to.” While with some poets this kind of word play can become gimmicky, Agodon masterfully weaves the words into the poem in a natural, organic way. “In the 70s, I Confused Macramé for Macabre” is another poem where language is taken apart and put back together, using the words incorrectly in two different memories, as the speaker “wanted / my mother to remind me / that sometimes we survive.”
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Lorine Niedecker
  • Date Published April 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-1-933517-66-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 112pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Patrick James Dunagan
Once upon a time the young Basil Bunting came across a succinct expression of a central concept in his own poetic practice which Ezra Pound quickly promulgated as a crystalline slogan of the Modern era: “dichten = condensare”—‘to compose poetry is to condense.’ Perhaps no other poet’s work sets a clearer, finer example of this than Lorine Niedecker. As she states in her rather infamously well-known poem “Poet’s Work,” her grandfather advised her to “learn a trade” and she
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  • Book Type Drama
  • by Michael Weller
  • Date Published August 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-55936-399-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 240pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by Patricia Contino
Lindy is married to Hugh. They live in the Midwest. Adam is married to Jan. They live in Brooklyn. Lindy and Adam have resumed their affair that began in Manhattan and ended when Hugh took over his family’s bicycle business. Jan and Hugh know what’s going on but there are careers, children, and, most importantly, routines to consider. Routines that hurt rather than ease.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Rebecca Lindenberg
  • Date Published March 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936365-79-1
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Patrick James Dunagan
Rebecca Lindenberg’s first book of poems is concerned with loss. She takes up composing an extended elegy with little unnecessary adornment of sentiment. Lindenberg deserves credit for not making this book a clear-cut narrative of her years-long serious romance with the poet Craig Arnold, who vanished in 2009 while on a hiking visit to an active volcano—an apparent passion of his. In place of that, these are poems built of necessity; some happen to be soundings of specific moments of Lindenberg’s life with Arnold, but such concern remains secondary.
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