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Book Reviews by Title - P (83)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Nola Garrett
  • Date Published March 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936419-16-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 74pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Emily May Anderson
In Nola Garrett’s second collection, The Pastor’s Wife Considers Pinball, the speaker considers many things in addition to the classic game she imagines in the ten-part title poem. That long poem, organized into ten “games,” covers a lot of ground on its own: from the clear evocation of place early on in “Game 1” when Garrett writes “Here in the Rust Belt // our schools are all rules, our sons play air / guitar, // wait for the army recruiter”; to personal stories of grandfathers, friends, and neighbors; to contemplations of tragedy (“When an airplane crashes, / no one blames the sky” in “Game 2”) and God (described in “Game 5” as a “deist clockmaker”). Pinball, throughout the long poem, serves as both subject of the poem and metaphor for life:
  • Subtitle My Life as a White Anglo Saxon Jew
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Sue William Silverman
  • Date Published March 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8032-6485-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 232pp
  • Price $18.95
  • Review by Cheryl Wright-Watkins
This essay collection is by noted memoirist Sue William Silverman, who was one of my mentors at the Vermont College of Fine Arts low-residency MFA program. While normally such ties between reviewer and author are discouraged in NewPages’s reviews, the exception was made for two reasons, one being the import of the subject matter of the essays: Silverman explores her extended spiritual identity crisis from growing up Jewish in a Christian world and includes a continuation of focus from her two previous memoirs, Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You and Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey through Sexual Addiction, in which Silverman recounts being sexually abused by her father throughout her childhood and her resultant sexual addiction and recovery. While tremendously important social issues to be brought into the public dialogue, it’s much harder for such books to be given much, if any, review consideration. The second reason for the exception is precisely that my relationship to Silverman affords me the ability to comment on her craft, as she taught it, and assess her own ability to “walk her talk.”
  • Subtitle A Year Alone through Latin America
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Kate McCahill
  • Date Published May 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-939650542
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 350pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Kelly Sauvage Angel

The writing of a travel memoir is, from my perspective, very much akin to the unfolding of the journey described. In spite of copious amounts of preparation, forethought, and heartfelt intent, it is all too easy to stumble along the path, or even find oneself completely lost somewhere along the way. After all, how does one successfully navigate the terrain of readers’ expectations? Are they looking for landscapes captured through lush, photographic language or a dredging of the traveler’s inner landscape? How much anthropology, history, reflection or poetic license is enough? Perhaps too much? All the while remaining true to one’s own experience.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Rick Lott
  • Date Published 2010
  • Format Chapbook
  • Pages 33pp
  • Price $10.00
  • Review by Sima Rabinowitz
Lott’s chapbook of 16 poems, the majority of which appeared previously in a variety of journals (Texas Review, Mid-America Poetry Review, and Crazy Horse, among others), is the winner of The Ledge 2009 Chapbook Award. I happened to be reading Lott’s book while the debate over the “cleaning up”/“contemporizing” of Mark Twain’s language was being played out in the press (like most items in the “news,” any mention of it quickly disappeared), so I was particularly interested in the chapbook’s opening poem, “Passage,” with its description of a “Negro church”:
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  • Book Type Anthology edited
  • by Robert F. Lawson and Carol S. Lawson
  • Date Published March 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-0-87785-244-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 272pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Cheryl Wright-Watkins
The Swedenborg Foundation’s annual Chrysalis anthologies were first published in 1984, for the purpose of examining themes related to the universal quest for wisdom according to the teachings of scientist-turned-spiritual-visionary and writer Emanuel Swedenborg. This, the final volume of the series, contains essays, stories, poetry, and illustrations focused on the theme of patterns. It contains more than seventy pieces and numerous illustrations by poet laureates and prominent and award-winning authors, as well as some new voices, and is divided into five sections: “Breaking Patterns,” “Perpetuating a Pattern,” “Stuck in a Pattern,” “Patterns in Progress,” and Making New Patterns,” in addition to the preface and epilogue.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Emma Rathbone
  • Date Published August 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0316077507
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 206pp
  • Price $13.99
  • Review by Tessa Mellas
Emma Rathbone’s debut novel The Patterns of Paper Monsters is about Jacob Higgins, an angry kid incarcerated in a juvenile detention center. But like any great book, this one can’t be reduced to its plot. Its magic lies in the sarcasm that drools from its narrator’s voice and in the beauty of the way that voice strings together language. Listen, as Jacob describes the crime that landed him in the JDC:
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Andrea Lawlor
  • Date Published November 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0986086991
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 354pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Cody Lee

Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl is a delightful piece of “futureliterature” that spits in the face of gender, ignorance, and what it means to be “normal.” The protagonist, Paul (aka Polly), can change between male and female whenever he/she wants, and at first, I was a little confused by the pronouns when “he sat to pee with his exciting new vagina,” but then I realized that they never really mattered. Men, women, we’re all the same twisted people.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Eric Pankey
  • Date Published March 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-1931337397
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 274pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Jason Tandon
Spanning his entire career, Eric Pankey's The Pear as One Example includes selections from seven previous collections of poems, as well as a complete new collection, Deep River. Brand new to his work, I was immediately impressed by his linguistic virtuosity, especially his botanist-like knowledge of flora and fauna, and his poetic range, from vividly described narrative-lyrics to ontological meditations. Pankey is a poet-naturalist, and in the tradition of Emerson and Thoreau, whatever truths and visions emerge in his poetry he earns from precise observation.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Melissa Lozada-Olivia
  • Date Published September 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-1-943735-24-251400
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 43pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by DM O'Connor
Okay, ready? Would you rather be completely covered in fur, like, head-to-toe, monster type of shit or, stay with me, stay with me, be completely smoothie-smooth in all of the right places: thighs, crotch, armpit, upper lip, neck?
— from “We Play Would You Rather at the Galentine’s Day Party”
  • Subtitle A Granddaughter’s Search for Her Family’s Forbidden Nazi Past
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Julie Lindahl
  • Date Published October 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-5381-1193-2
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 256pp
  • Price $24.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

Imagine discovering that the grandparents you adored as a young child were Nazis, and your grandfather was responsible for untold cruelties. That’s exactly what happened to Julie Lindahl, a Brazilian-born American who now lives in Sweden. She spent years traveling abroad seeking the truth about her mother’s German father, whom she called Opa. The Pendulum: A Granddaughter’s Search for her Family’s Forbidden Nazi Past is Lindahl’s memoir of her findings and her search for understanding.

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