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Book Reviews by Title - S (147)

  • Subtitle New and Selected Poems: 1968-2012
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Andrei Codrescu
  • Date Published December 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-56689-300-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 352pp
  • Price $22.00
  • Review by Patrick James Dunagan
Andrei Codrescu is a grown-up punk kid who cherishes the pleasures of life. Reading his poems is to enter into the mind of a brilliant classroom prankster (and at least part-time sex junkie). There’s a lot going on, and he has a lot to say about all of it. Zany, off-the-wall goofiness finds its place alongside serious astute reflection. This New and Selected is all the more cherished for exhibiting the range of the poet’s self-transformation over the course of his lifetime. This remarkable range is significantly reflected by way of the mini-introductions Codrescu offers before each book selection presented here, ranging from bibliographic comments to personal memoir of the particular time and place of the original composition-specific poems. As a result, this volume comes to represent Codrescu’s shot at a tour-de-force performance.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Donna de la Perrière
  • Date Published December 2010
  • ISBN-13 1584980761
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 63pp
  • Price $13.95
  • Review by Kristin Abraham
Just one year after the publication of her first full-length book of poems (True Crime, Talisman House, 2009), Donna de la Perrière has presented us with another equally-stunning volume, precisely crafted and devastatingly haunting.
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Anastasia Hobbet
  • Date Published January 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-57962-191-9
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 344pp
  • Price $29.00
  • Review by Alex Myers
Ever wondered about those Americans who take jobs in treacherous foreign countries? Ever wanted to know what it is like to move to the Middle East and try to fit in to conservative Islamic culture? Anastasia Hobbet’s novel Small Kingdoms answers these questions through its carefully structured narrative. Set in Kuwait after the first Gulf War, Small Kingdoms takes place in a region familiar to us from TV news broadcasts; Hobbet portrays the decadence and the difficulty of this country masterfully. The story follows five main characters: two American expatriates, one native Kuwaiti woman and her Indian maid, and one a Bedooin or resident alien, a Palestinian woman living in Kuwait. Hobbet constructs her book in short chapters, each following a single character, as these five individuals’ fates are drawn closer and closer together.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Lee Upton
  • Date Published July 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1936797141
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 220pp
  • Price $24.95
  • Review by Courtney McDermott
“This is a book about ambition,” Lee Upton writes in the first section (aptly titled “Ambition”) of Swallowing the Sea. It would seem that Upton’s own ambition with this book is to discuss writing as a writer, and yet the book does so much more. For anyone in love with writing, Swallowing the Sea is an homage to the delicate, painful, and (for some) necessary impulse to write. Upton explores the process of writing, the hurdles and frustrations along the way, and the fervor of being an avid reader, while employing personal anecdotes, literary criticisms, and poetical metaphors to make sense of writing’s place in our culture.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Dirk Stratton
  • Date Published September 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9788407-7-8
  • Format Chapbook
  • Pages 40pp
  • Price $10.00
  • Review by Joseph P. Wood
Dirk Stratton’s new chapbook of poems, A Series/A Sequence, is a throwback of sorts. In an age where E-Books and particularly E-Chaps are abundant due to the explosion of the blogosphere and readily available publishing software, Stratton’s chap is handmade and released in a very limited run. The book is constructed “old-school”: side stapled, stock cover, paper one could find at a neighborhood Kinkos. Rather than seeming fly-by-night and hurried, however, A Series/A Sequence is lovingly made, with beautiful embossed imprints on each cover – notice I do not say the “front” and “back” of the book. A Series/A Sequence is actually two separate suites of poems that are thematically and aesthetically linked. Hold the book one way, one can read through “Capitulation Suite,” which constitutes the Series part of the chap. Flip the book over and one discovers another suite of lyrical, borderline-concrete poems entitled “Laiku,” which makes up the Sequence. In constructing the chap in this manner, NeO Pepper has joined a growing movement of grassroots to make poetry books that are pieces of art as opposed to mass-produced commodity. The pleasures of A Series/A Sequence rest in its construction as much its poetry, though one feels inextricable from the other.
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  • Translated From Chinese
  • by Kenneth Rexroth
  • Date Published April 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0811218368
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $12.95
  • Review by Vince Corvaia
This collection of Chinese poems, translated by Kenneth Rexroth and selected by Eliot Weinberger, is review-proof. These poems have endured centuries and still stand as models of economy and beauty. All a reviewer can do is offer excerpts from some of the most memorable of them.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Isabelle Baladine Howald
  • Translated From French
  • by Elena Rivera
  • Date Published October 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-1886224919
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 27pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Joseph P. Wood
In one of the early poems of Isabella Baladine Howald’s haunting new collection, Secret of Breath, the poet writes, “What I love is not seeing, but the effort of seeing.” This untitled poem’s opening line could easily serve as the book’s Ars Poetica: Howald relentlessly self-interrogates as she scrutinizes the philosophical meaning behind her lover’s/husband’s death (it’s never quite specified who exactly died) – and, by extension, life.
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