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Book Reviews by Title - S (147)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Lizzie Hutton
  • Date Published October 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936970-02-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 74pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Alyse Bensel
She’d Waited Millennia, Lizzie Hutton’s debut poetry collection of lyrical free verse, finds its emotional core by navigating through the rises and falls of motherhood. Poems ranging in stanzaic and linear form encompass the breadth of intimacies in relationships: from mother to child, lover to lover, and friend to friend. Each inextricably linked poem gathers strength through an accumulation of immediacy with images that build upon one another; the speaker’s examination of the world reveals a close and complicated relationship with description’s power.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Julia Kristeva
  • Translated From French
  • by Jody Gladding
  • Date Published December 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0-231-15720-9
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 176pp
  • Price $34.50
  • Review by Patricia Contino
I never forgot that photo. It was in a history of the Metropolitan Opera, and soprano Olive Fremstad was Salome holding the platter with John the Baptist’s head. Even by 1907 standards, her beaded costume and big hair were beyond camp, but to my teenaged self the waxy, dead head looked real enough. I was sufficiently creeped out to avoid Richard Strauss’ opera until adulthood, when I discovered Salome’s true horrors: placing unrealistic demands on its lead to perform a striptease to music that’s impossible to dance—let alone time the tearing off of seven veils—to, before singing a punishingly long monologue to the Baptist’s head prior to kissing it (gross . . . even if it should resemble Bryn Terfel, a recent Met Baptist). With the exception of Electra, Richard Strauss was never again so creatively daring.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Reginald Dwayne Betts
  • Date Published June 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-882295-81-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 66pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by James Mc Laughlin
Deconstruction of identity is a recurring motif in African-American literature. The exploration of the physical, emotional and spiritual devastation wrought by slavery continues to haunt its characters be it in literature, poetry or music. The most dangerous of slavery’s effects is its negative impact on the individual’s sense of self. Alienation underpins much of Black American writing. Slaves were told they were subhuman and were traded as commodities, whose worth could be expressed only in dollars. Consequently the much criticized “one theme” of African-American writing (slavery) cannot be escaped. In Toni Morrison’s Beloved, for example, Paul D – a typical exponent – describes his heart as a “tin tobacco box.” After his traumatizing experiences at Sweet Home and, especially, at the prison camp in Alfred, Georgia, he locks away his feelings and memories in this “box,” which has, by the time Paul D arrives at 124, “rusted” over completely. By alienating himself from his emotions, Paul D hopes to preserve himself from further psychological damage. In order to secure this protection, however, Paul D sacrifices much of his humanity by foregoing feeling and gives up much of his selfhood by repressing his memories. Although Paul D is convinced that nothing can pry the lid of his box open, his strange, dreamlike sexual encounter with Beloved – perhaps a symbol of an encounter with his past – causes the box to burst and his heart once again to glow red.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Leila Marouane
  • Translated From French
  • by Alison Anderson
  • Date Published June 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-933372-85-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 224pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Sara C. Rauch
Brace yourself for The Sexual Life of an Islamist in Paris by Leila Marouane. Not only is it hilarious and disturbing, it is also disorienting, cunning, and bizarre.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Camille Martin
  • Date Published February 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1848610705
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 108pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Carol Dorf
Can you pour new wine into old bottles? Well, if you are Camille Martin and the bottles are sonnets, the answer is an emphatic, "Yes." By her flexible use of the idea of the sonnet, Camille Martin has written a book that holds a pleasing balance of unity and variation. In the second sonnet, Martin seems to be speaking to the form as the beloved:
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Thomas Sayers Ellis
  • Date Published September 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1555975678
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 176pp
  • Price $23.00
  • Review by C.J. Opperthauser
Ellis’s collection of poems, Skin, Inc, is an aggressive book to say the least. It is a statement in itself. A statement that is different and powerful. The language coursing through the veins of this collection is raw, real, and full of earnest emotion. It is calm, yet aggressive. Strong, yet tamed. One poem that really sets the tone for the first portion of the book is “My Meter Is Percussive”:
  • Subtitle translations, variations and responses to the poetry of Xin Qiji
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Christopher Kelen and Qiji Xin
  • Translated From Chinese
  • by Agnes Vong
  • Date Published April 2007
  • ISBN-13 978-0977297498
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 161pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Roy Wang
The title of this collection ambitiously suggests that after the first part of translations, the following variations and responses should enlighten our skies and blow us away. And while it doesn’t deliver the promised symphony of fire, it does burn in a few impressions that will last after the words have faded.
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  • by Charles Jensen
  • Date Published November 2007
  • ISBN-13 978-1934832004
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 26pp
  • Price $8.00
  • Review by Matt Bell
Charles Jensen’s The Strange Case of Maribel Dixon is an ambitious book, highly entertaining yet formally daring. It incorporates a variety of prose and poetic forms to tell a love story that spans most of the twentieth-century and at least two dimensions, all within the space of a mere twenty-one pages. Comprised of diary entries, academic papers, and shredded documents full of supposed “automatic writing,” this slim volume weaves a mysterious love story with far greater gravity than its size on paper would suggest possible.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Nate Pritts
  • Date Published September 2007
  • ISBN-13 978-1934289068
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 108pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Cyan James
Nate Pritts lives in a sealed chamber. At least, I think he does, or wishes he did. Whether the voice in his poems is his own or an invented persona is unclear, but the question is soon overwhelmed by the noisy glass cubicle of his poetic consciousness – things don’t hesitate to boom, explode, and self-destruct. The place simply simmers with internal threat. After all, volcanoes are exploding here, dinosaurs are waiting, lighting strikes, the roller coaster won’t stop, the wind won’t stop, violent floods of emotion assail him, and the light is dangerously perfect. But you only know it because he tells you so. You can’t see it. You can’t break through those glass barriers – no one can. Not the woman Pritts longs after with potent intensity, and not the nameless friends he apparently lives amongst.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Dore Kiesselbach
  • Date Published November 2012
  • ISBN-13 9780822962175
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Theresé Samson Wenham
It is much easier to read mediocre prose than mediocre poetry. It’s too easy to believe that writing poetry is simply a matter of connecting with raw emotions and that whatever “truths” arrive are, in and of themselves, enough. This is perhaps why poorly written poetry is so uncomfortable to read; it forgets that poetry is about writing in a heightened language, not just about what is being said. An excellent poem cannot be paraphrased; it cannot be translated into prose. Yet, when we come across a poet who masters the measure of language, it appears almost transparent, effortless. Reading through Dore Kiesselbach’s Salt Pier for the first time was like that for me.
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