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Book Reviews by Title - O (42)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Robert Fanning
  • Date Published February 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-910669-67-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 82pp
  • Price $12.00
  • Review by Natalie Tomlin

The word “museum” is usually associated with velvet ropes, alarms, roving guards. As Fanning introduces the word sudden into these carefully executed spaces filled with unfamiliar objects, he invites motion into a static world, redrawing the boundaries of artifact and observation. Though Our Sudden Museum is dedicated to the memory of his father, sister, and brother, and is filled with funny and painfully wrought elegies, unforeseen death reverberates his attention into new, unexpected places. Ultimately, with a broad range of forms and tones, Fanning ushers us into an elevated, enlightened space only reached through profound grief. Fanning's delivery is charged with urgency and grace, since at any moment, the mundane or cherished could be taken away, suspended under glass.

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  • Book Type Anthology Edited
  • by Jane Ormerod, Thomas Fucaloro, David Lawton, George Wallace, Aimee Herman, Mary McLaughlin Slechta
  • Date Published August 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9981440-2-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 167pp
  • Price $19.00
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

I figure most people who read book reviews are also writers. So let’s dig right into David Lawton’s interview with Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Harding, featured in a new anthology called The Other Side of Violet. Harding endured rejections with his first novel, Tinkers, but five years later it was published by a literary press. He was teaching at the time and happened to look online to see who won the Pulitzer. “Honestly, I sort of half fainted—‘swooned’ would not be inaccurate—onto the floor of the crummy grad student apartment I was staying in. Totally surreal,” he says.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by J. Hope Stein
  • Date Published February 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9982666-1-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 37pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Cheyanne Gustason

Picking up Occasionally, I Remove Your Brain Through Your Nose for the first time, I was immediately surprised. The title alone is enough to catch the eye and make you wonder: What does it mean? How serious can this be? How literal?

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Matthew Rohrer
  • Date Published May 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-940696-40-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 248pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Kimberly Ann Priest

If you happened to glance at the number of pages in this manuscript (listed above) you’ll have noticed that it is much longer than your typical book of poems. In fact, The Others is not really a book of poems; it is a thick 4 x 7 paperback that looks very much like a typical novel. Amazon calls it a “gripping, eerie, and hilarious novel-in-verse,” and that description seems about right.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Vi Khi Nao
  • Date Published May 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-937658-48-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Trena Machado

Vi Khi Nao, born in Long Khanh, Vietnam in 1979, came to the United States when she was seven years old. In her book, The Old Philosopher, she has given us poems in vigorous experimental language. Reading through the book the first time, there is a feeling of a balanced worldly eye, even as the pervasive indistinctness of mixed and matched images/metaphors leaves a sense of no orientation. By the third reading, the seemingly unmoored fragments begin to come into focus: the book feels like the interlacing of two cultures initiated by the wreckage of the Vietnam War.

  • Subtitle A Pathological Biography
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by John Sutherland
  • Date Published August 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-78023-648-3
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 264pp
  • Price $25.00
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

British academic and writer John Sutherland lost his sense of smell three years ago during hay fever season. George Orwell (nee Eric Arthur Blair) apparently suffered from an acute sensitivity to smells, called nasal hyperaesthesia. Pair the two conditions, and Sutherland seized a new way of thinking about Orwell. He cites a quote from Orwell’s book The Road to Wigan Pier, which “contains the four words that have hung like an albatross around Orwell’s neck: ‘The working classes smell.’” From this was born Orwell’s Nose: A Pathological Biography, to be released this year.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Michael Donhauser
  • Translated From the German
  • by Nick Hoff and Andrew Joron
  • Date Published 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936194-20-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 128pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Ryo Yamaguchi
Michael Donhauser is an accomplished Austrian poet, essayist, and critic whose books date back nearly thirty years, but he is not widely known to English readers. It makes him a great candidate for Dichten—Burning Deck’s translation series, which brings this rich and varied collection, Of Things (first published in German nearly twenty years ago), to a needed new audience. It’s a dizzyingly varied work, finely translated by Nick Hoff and Andrew Joron. It is philosophically poised but historically informed, personal, scientific, whimsical, and serious—showcasing a real rucksack of literary tools that Donhauser brings into the field with him to sketch, like the plein air painter, his subjects.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Rebecca Wolff
  • Date Published September 2015
  • ISBN-13 9781940696133
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 176pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Benjamin Champagne
Wolff’s One Morning— sat in my possession in a very raw state. The captivating parts of the poems were laid out and exposed. It was easy to see the mechanics and the utility of every phoneme and word. This is a highly refined piece of work from a woman very much in control of her craft. The level of Rebecca Wolff’s control shines through in the entire piece. There is juxtaposition in each sentence and stanza. “Traveller, / Your journey has been long // and sectional.” Those introductory lines in “Arcadia (et in . . . est)” bear the weight of repetition. They are full of heart and compassion, yet still quite cerebral. There are always dualities to be explored and explained. Wolff demonstrates the relation between the two as often as she can locate it: “By night everything seems impossible // By day, by extension, everything: possible.”
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Jeremy Pataky
  • Date Published March 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1602232532
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Dana Johnson
Overwinter, Jeremy Pataky’s debut poetry collection, examines the speaker’s isolation and solace in the vast, untamed nature of the Alaskan wilderness. Throughout the collection, the speaker spends his time between a developed city, with its electricity and human companionship, and the natural Alaskan landscape filled with its braided streams, unpredictable wildlife, and endless illusions of light and depth.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Santiago Vaquera-Vasquez
  • Date Published March 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8263-5573-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 136pp
  • Price $18.95
  • Review by Girija Sankar
The characters in Santiago Vaquera-Vasquez’s stories navigate many worlds, literally and figuratively traversing continents, global metropolises, national borders, and epistemic boundaries, all in a quest for that universal human need for belonging and connectedness. In a collection of fourteen stories, Vaquera-Vasquez, an assistant professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of New Mexico, draws the blinds into a sub-culture of Eses, hombres, border crossers, and all things Chicano.
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