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Book Reviews by Title - W (81)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Jane Augustine
  • Date Published March 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-0979241659
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 118pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Deborah Diemont
The poems in Jane Augustine’s A Woman’s Guide to Mountain Climbing confront, rather than bypass pain, and their “golden and piercing” music is made from a rugged but precise lineation and a relentless eye for detail.
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by George Rabasa
  • Date Published May 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-932961-69-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 322pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by J.R. Angelella
In George Rabasa’s The Wonder Singer, traditional genre tropes break from convention and expectation, creating a lovely cliché-bending crime novel with the pacing and plot of Elmore Leonard and the heart and scope of Russell Banks. Rabasa opens his novel with the death of the wonder singer, the operatic diva Merce Casals. His simple-seeming characters wear their occupations as their identity in life, all stuck and starving for an unbridled happiness: the opera singer, the writer, the nurse, the wife, the agent – all searching for something greater.
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  • Book Type Collection
  • by Dan Beachy-Quick
  • Date Published April 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1571313270
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 352pp
  • Price $20.00
  • Review by Lydia Pyne
A collection is an interesting thing. Traditionally, we can expect to find a collection in some sort of museum setting—a set of archaeological artifacts or art objects that allows the audience to understand another culture. A collection of writing, however, is particularly interesting as it allows a reader to examine an author’s intellectual and aesthetic commitments. In a collection of writing, the reader has more than simply the Objekt to examine or look at; the surrounding context for the author’s intended themes is available to the reader as well. These themes, in turn, become the real collection on display to the reader. In Wonderful Investigations: Essays, Meditations, Tales, author Dan Beachy-Quick amasses quite a cabinet of written curiosities that serve as the basis for his Investigations—a collection that does not seem to argue for a specifically particular point or theme, but, rather, a collection that allows the reader to examine Beachy-Quick’s intellectual and aesthetic commitments to his own treasured authors.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Patti Smith
  • Date Published November 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0811219440
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $18.95
  • Review by Erik Fuhrer
Metaphysical, haunting and meditative, Woolgathering’s lyrical musings very much mimic Patti Smith’s song lyrics in that they are constantly in structural flux, seamlessly flitting from personal narratives to abstract wanderings to slim lines of poetry. The result is reminiscent of an intimate journal, scattered with childhood photographs, reaching for truth, beauty and transformation.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Noah Eli Gordon
  • Date Published April 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936767-38-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 158pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Benjamin Champagne
This is not a pipe. The word is not the thing. The Word Kingdom in the Word Kingdom shares this sentiment. Noah Eli Gordon presents a modern treason of symbol. His words take flight in the very airplanes he describes. The trajectory is set by meta ontology. As the poems move forward and take shape, there is the sense that a message was thought of before the descriptions, that the writing has an agenda. However, there is a playful sense of tumbling through, that the words are allowing each other to create the next one. The message of origins of language and the etymology of our very ideas are shrouded in mystery.
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  • Book Type Edited
  • by David Jauss
  • Date Published January 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1582975405
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 480pp
  • Price $16.99
  • Review by John Madera
Words Overflown by Stars is a mammoth-sized compendium of thirty-two essays on the craft of writing fiction and poetry. At their best, these essays, culled mainly from lectures, are transcriptions of teachers compassionately addressing their students, inviting them to dig beneath the surface of language, to sharpen all of their senses as they write and read, to cross boundaries, to challenge their comfort zones, to write and rewrite and rewrite again.
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  • Book Type Poetry/Prose
  • by Dan Beachy-Quick and Matthew Goulish
  • Date Published September 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-934103-30-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $19.00
  • Review by Patrick James Dunagan
I’ve never read the work of Marcel Proust. Although I’ve always understood Proust to be an author everybody should read, I simply haven’t gotten around to doing so myself. This gap in my reading is admittedly a mild embarrassment, especially as I often find myself the antagonistic provocateur busily berating friends and associates over authors and key texts which they absolutely must read. Much more generous than I, Dan Beachy-Quick’s and Matthew Goulish’s Work from Memory doesn’t berate the reader for any lack of familiarity with its source text. Even without firsthand awareness of Proust’s work, there’s plenty to chew on here concerning reading, memory, ideas of “the book,” and how conscious or not we as readers remain in relation to ongoing and past experience. My understanding is that Proust sought to set down in writing the details of everyday life in as exact, excruciating detail as possible—not the bustling activities with which our lives are ever busily preoccupied, but rather the minutiae of time’s passing, or as Goulish phrases it, “the book project of a life.” Or as Beachy-Quick describes Proust’s protagonist: “The writer dreams of the book as a life.” Work from Memory turns round and round these themes.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Jack Driscoll
  • Date Published February 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8143-3612-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 173pp
  • Price $18.95
  • Review by Olive Mullet
Jack Driscoll’s short story collection The World of a Few Minutes Ago reflects Michigan’s weather, concentrates on mostly blue-collar workers and trailer inhabitants, and offers a mostly masculine voice but also a beautiful lyrical style, describing the beauty of stars as well as perfectly capturing the lives of his characters and their personality clashes. His story structure is meticulous and convoluted as we twist from the characters’ sad hard lives toward a resolution of acceptance and sometimes release.
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  • Book Type Collection
  • by Michele Landsberg
  • Date Published September 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1897187999
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 304pp
  • Price $24.95
  • Review by Lydia Pyne
The idea of completely understanding the processes of any revolutionary change is daunting—to say nothing of making sense of its cultural and historical contexts. In the historic waves of North American feminist theory and practices, the respective paradigms of feminism shift, evolve, and ultimately normalize along lines of particular intellectual circles and politically historic movements. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the first convention for women’s rights and suffrage in 1848, for example, show a completely different, and seemingly unparalleled, cultural milieu than a feminist theorist like twenty-first century philosopher Judith Butler. Both women, however, illustrate a “revolutionary context” for understanding a broader feminist identity, however constructed—both show the powerful effects of change within particular societal circumstances. In Writing the Revolution: The Feminist History Project’s Collected Columns of Michele Landsberg, Canadian writer, social activist, and ardent feminist Michele Landsberg reminds us that beyond any of the historical feminist revolutions are the people of the revolutions—women and their narratives. From Landsberg’s columns, we get the sense that she finds feminism on the ground, in everyday life, to be the centering force that keeps the falcon of feminist theory from circling out in a wider and wider gyre of culture.
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  • Translated From Japanese
  • by Kenneth Rexroth
  • Date Published April 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0811218375
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $12.95
  • Review by Vince Corvaia
These ancient Japanese poems, translated by Rexroth and selected by Eliot Weinberger, are mostly about love, and one who has never loved would be well advised to avoid them. The heartache in many of them is palpable, both through imagery and direct statement. Several, though, are nature poems keenly observed, as in this one by Fujiwara No Sueyoshi (1152-1211):
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