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Book Reviews by Title - M (112)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by J. Michael Martinez
  • Date Published October 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-01-43133445
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 112pp
  • Price $20.00
  • Review by DM O'Connor
of nameless Mexicans desired only as epistles

      anchored in their death;
      the dialect between Self

      as Subject & Self

      as Object separated by panes of clarity
      into softer yellows.
                  –from “The Mexican War Photo Postcard Company”

The National Poetry Series Winner, Museum of The Americas by J. Michael Martinez is culmination of erudite research, family history, and a dismantling of the originations of American racial constructs, especially along the U.S.-Mexican border since The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) and the present day, where labelling humans “illegal” and “alien” is common government practice.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Dorothea Lasky
  • Date Published April 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-940696-64-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 141pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Kimberly Ann Priest
Save your congratulations and your flowers
My baby is sunbathing on the moon
And with the eternal blue light she glows
In her clear house, with shutters
Save your kind regards, and visits
With doughnuts and kisses
Save your little nothings that amount to nothing
Save it save it
Purple green and christened blue
—from “Save Your Flowers”

Why do I love this?! Why do I read this book and just love, love, love it?!

Because we’ve all been there, suspended metaphorically or actually between life and death, damage and grief, birth and birthing, these spaces of WTF? where we desperately want to name the space and experience for the shitty, icky, unnameable thing it really is. That liminal emotional edge where, yeah, this agony might be transformed into something beautiful someday but please don’t name it that!

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Renee Simms
  • Date Published April 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8143-4512-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 160pp
  • Price $18.99
  • Review by Cody Lee

The stories in Meet Behind Mars by Renee Simms touch on womanhood, family, sacrifice, and morals. Some of the tales are twisted with a bit of surrealism, a little Twilight Zone to counterbalance the absolutely real, cramped truth of growing up not only period, but a woman and black.

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  • Book Type Cross-Genre
  • by Sofia Samatar & Del Samatar
  • Date Published February 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-941628-10-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 84pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by DM O'Connor

Not since Jose Luis Borges’s Manual de zoología fantástica, a dictionary of 120 mythical beasts meant to be “dipped into” and read “randomly, just as one plays with the shifting patterns of a kaleidoscope,” have I picked up such an intriguing and beautiful collection as Monster Portraits by brother-sister, artist-author, extraordinaire collaborators, Del and Sofia Samatar. The fact that Borges was not a Somali-American growing up in the 1980s makes all the difference between the two works. Style, structure, and intention draws parallels, but the narrative of “other,” of foreign, of nomad, adds a profound political and emotional layer.

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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Myriam Gurba
  • Date Published November 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-56689-491-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 192pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by DM O'Connor
I really like the phrase “the chaos of memory.” My spirit latches onto it and wraps its arms around its queer, hairy legs. The phrase expresses what kind of happens to your brain during and after trauma. Chaos roots itself in memory. My chaos came when a Mexican man sexually assaulted me on a sidewalk in the afternoon sun.
    —from "Semester 1998”
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Terry Ann Thaxton
  • Date Published September 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-61248-216-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

Terry Ann Thaxton approaches her third book of poetry, Mud Song, with a native Floridian’s familiarity. We know about Florida oranges, alligators, and hurricanes, and she doesn’t ignore these attributes, but there’s a lot more of Florida in her book that won the 2017 T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Jenny Molberg
  • Date Published February 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936797-92-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 78pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by DM O'Connor

"Another endangered syntax descends." —from “Echolocations”

If ex-poet-laureate Billy Collins is correct in saying that poetry is “everyday moments caught in time,” then Jenny Molberg’s debut collection The Marvels of the Invisible, winner of 2014 Berkshire Prize, is exemplar. As if flipping through a family album, Molberg covers a personal history from birth to death, hospital and bible, family and landscape, hope and redemption.

  • Subtitle Notes From a Wounded Place
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Rilla Askew
  • Date Published June 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8061-5717-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 184pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Kimberly Ann Priest
“One thing we ought not forget in this America is how our impulse to forget is so strong.” Rilla Askew, Most American

From where I sit right in Shawnee, Oklahoma, I am 41 miles from Rilla Askew, a professor at the University of Oklahoma and author of Most American: Notes From a Wounded Place, a collection of essays on race, violence, history, and Oklahoma. Six months ago, I would not have expected this proximity and would have read this novel from a distance out of curiosity, but disconnected from the Oklahoma Askew memorializes in these pages and connects to the larger American drama.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Jacqueline Doyle
  • Date Published September 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-62557-983-6
  • Format Chapbook
  • Pages 32pp
  • Price $8.95
  • Review by Katy Haas

You soon may be the missing girl, you have taken the missing girl, you fantasize about the missing girl, you are the missing girl. In Jacqueline Doyle's aptly-named The Missing Girl, we briefly take on all the roles before shucking the skin we're in and donning a new one. Winner of the Black River Chapbook Competition through Black Lawrence Press, The Missing Girl draws us into the seedy darkness of everyday life in small bursts of haunting prose as Doyle forces us to consider being both the hunter and the hunted. Regardless of which position she leads us to, none is a comfortable role to be in.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Adam McOmber
  • Date Published September 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-942683-41-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 153pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by MacKenzie Hamilton

Adam McOmber drags each and every reader into a thick, mysterious fog in his latest collection, My House Gathers Desires. McOmber’s stories quite literally have a life of their own, and the subject matter is relevant and important. This collection takes sexual identity and gender and gives them life in the stories and fables of old, while ultimately showing that there is still a light at the end of the tunnel.

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