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Book Reviews by Title - S (147)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Camille T. Dungy
  • Date Published May 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0809330317
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Renee Emerson
Selected as the winner of the open competition award for the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry, Smith Blue is a compelling collection about love and loss. The poems are prefaced by two quotes on loss, one from Gwendolyn Brooks and another from C.D. Wright, then moves into the short poem “After Opening the New York Times I Wonder How to Write a Poem about Love.” The poem details how the speaker hopes to love—“like God can love, sometimes”—and invites the reader to “Turn the page. / Turn another page,” concluding that “this was meant to be / about love. Now there is nothing left but this.” The introductory quotes and poem prepare the reader for the themes of love and loss that follow.
  • Subtitle Memories of America’s Most Hated Vice - Unfiltered Stories
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  • Book Type Anthology Edited
  • by Lizzy Miles
  • Date Published January 2016
  • ISBN-13 9781937574086
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 160pp
  • Price $12.95
  • Review by David Breithaupt

Before we get started and you make suppositions from the title of this book, allow me to quote editor Lizzy Miles—founder of the Death Café of central Ohio where any participant is welcome to come and discuss issues of mortality—from the introduction: “Despite any appearances to the contrary, this is not a pro-smoking book; neither is it an anti-smoking book. This is not a commentary on smoking in society: this book captures our personal love/hate relationships with cigarettes and the habit of smoking.”

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by James Kimbrell
  • Date Published October 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-941411-09-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Trena Machado
The poems in Smote speak of loss and the wanting of more life, even if it is like this, a poignant neutrality that can leave us in shreds. The backdrop is Jackson, Mississippi. Deftly dealt with are the issues of class, interracial relationships, poverty, alcoholism, broken families, the lifeline of friendships, a black mother who loves and feeds a poor white boy not only dinner, but shows him how to live, “Ms. Anna, who loved me for no reason that I understood [ . . . ].” Under the chance and horror of daily life, we are shown a light that never goes out.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Eileen Myles
  • Date Published April 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-933517-58-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 224pp
  • Price $20.00
  • Review by Patrick James Dunagan
Eileen Myles hides the trout. She’s at it again. This new double collection of poems from Wave Books in Seattle has everything readers of Myles adore in her work. All the wit, charm, honesty, sexiness, and surprises are here for another go-round. Yes, Myles has gotten older:
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Gail Wronsky
  • Translated From Spanish
  • by Alicia Partnoy
  • Date Published October 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0984578207
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 163pp
  • Price $15.50
  • Review by Sima Rabinowitz
If some of us want, and many of us do, to read translations in English of work written in other languages, it stands to reason that readers of other languages—Spanish, for example—might want to read poems written originally in English. Wronsky has translated Argentine poet Partnoy’s poetry into English. With So Quick Bright Things / Tan Pronto las Cosas, it’s Partnoy’s turn, beginning with a title (thank you Shakespeare) that’s brilliantly and awfully hard to translate. I applaud Partnoy for her smart, vivid translations of work that is exceptionally difficult to render in another language.
  • 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 Fiction
  • by Brian Oliu
  • Date Published 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0983562504
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 56pp
  • Price $7.00
  • Review by Gina Myers
The twenty-two prose pieces collected together in Brian Oliu’s So You Know It’s Me were originally published on the “Missed Connections” section of Tuscaloosa’s Craigslist, and as such they follow the form established there—titled by the location where the missed connection occurred and the tag M4W (man-for-woman). Because Craigslist deletes posts after 45 days, the pieces, which were published every other day, began to disappear just after the final piece went up. The ephemeral nature of the project parallels the ephemeral nature of the moments where connections were missed, where they continue to be missed.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Libby Burton
  • Date Published March 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9980534-8-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by DM O'Connor
What other dangers will you step through tonight?
The hours baggy and gathering.
There is nothing mere about this.
I wanted like hot skin thumping around
the splinter caught within. That, and a tidy gold peace.
—from “Where God Was Not”

Libby Burton’s collection Soft Volcano is a delicate and sensuous meditation on the quotidian. By taking the smallest detail and transcending into the metaphysical, Burton is doing what the best writers do, asking questions that linger in the mind and heart.

  • Subtitle To Imagine, Witness, and Write
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Melissa Pritchard
  • Date Published May 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-934137-96-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 192pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Jason Hess
A Solemn Pleasure: To Imagine, Witness, and Write opens with “A Room in London,” a rumination on the physical space Melissa Pritchard occupied while temporarily living and writing in a borrowed London flat. This particularly brief piece (four pages) introduces the collection by touching on topics more thoroughly explored later in the book: Pritchard describes herself at work, presents her belief in writing as a spiritual—often religious—act, and embraces the essay’s ability to successfully grow around an ill-defined plot.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Aditi Machado
  • Date Published October 2017
  • ISBN-13 9-781937 658731
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by DM O'Connor
A thing is a cicada when it tends toward sexual disorientation
& I is an orient in the sense that all things wend toward me.

Aditi Machado’s debut collection, Some Beheadings, is a delicate meditation on the origin of thought. Somewhere between Wittgenstein and Rilke, with splatterings of Gertrude Stein, each page is a flower opening to reflect spring. “A wind blows, the desert unfolds.” “The desert melts, the sky’s glass.” Some Beheadings reads like bits of a shattered rainbow.


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