Online Edition: Winter 2008/2009

This is the complete Winter 2008/2009 online edition of Rain Taxi.
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INTERVIEWS

Reviving Jack Spicer:
an interview with Kevin Killian
Interviewed by Joseph Bradshaw

When in Rome:
an interview with John Domini
Interviewed by Emanuele Pettener

Reading ’til 3:00 am:
an interview with Anne Fadiman
Interviewed by Kevin Smokler

Language as Migration:
an interview with Mark McMorris
Interviewed by Grant Jenkins

FEATURES

Chapbook Corner Round-up 2008

This year-end edition of Chapbook Corner was so bursting at the seams that we couldn’t fit it in print. Reviewed, of course, by Noah Eli Gordon

Boxed Set Award

And the winner is... Reviewed by Justin Maxwell

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

In the afterglow of Barack Obama’s historic victory, it may be instructive to look back on James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, which collects two early 1960s works evaluating race relations in Harlem at the dawn of the civil rights movement. Reviewed by Alex Starace

The Fight: Considering David Foster Wallace Considering You

An overview of the underlying ethos in the late, great writer’s work.
Reviewed by Tim Jacobs

Sister Corita Kent

Two books and documentaries bring to life the visionary artist from the Sixties.
Reviewed by Greg Bachar

Reviews

FICTION

Posted in our First Installment

Portions from a Wine-Stained Notebook
Charles Bukowski

For Bukowski lovers, this posthumous collection will provide a nice fix of signature elements: sex, booze, gambling, and domestic violence. Reviewed by Christopher Luna

A Partisan’s Daughter
Louis de Bernières

This solid follow-up to Corelli’s Mandolin once again shows off his penchant for black comedy, with a few sunny spots thrown in. Reviewed by John K. Cox

Something To Tell You
Hanif Kureishi

Kureishi tells the tale of a successful middle-aged psychotherapist living and working in London with mixed results. Reviewed by Charlotte Kelly

Katherine’s Wish
Linda Lappin

In this reimagining of Katherine Mansfield’s life, Lappin has built on textual evidence from journals, letters, and diary entries in order to adhere to “an overall sense of truth” which she renders as her own mosaic. Reviewed by Joyce J. Townsend

The King’s Last Song
Geoff Ryman

Noted speculative fiction author Geoff Ryman weaves together ancient legend with a gritty view of modern Cambodian life, and the pattern that emerges is surprising. Reviewed by Margaret Shaklee

Two Marriages
Phillip Lopate

The novellas in Two Marriages show that the “inescapable ego” of the essayist makes eternal islands (i.e. bachelors) of us all. Reviewed by Joseph Jon Lanthier

posted in our Second installment

Final Silence by Ronald Flores
and
Senselessness by Horacio Castellanos Moya

Two Guatemalan novelists tackle the brutal topic of terrorism in their native land. Reviewed by Aaron Shulman

Nazi Literature in the Americas
Roberto Bolaño

Charting the lives of 33 invented writers from the Western Hemisphere, this satiric novel by the acclaimed Bolaño is one of his most innovative works yet.
Reviewed by by Luke Sykora

Vacation
Deb Olin Unferth

In this astonishing and unsettling first novel, Unferth explores the idea and intentions behind our getaway rituals. Reviewed by Stephanie Hlywak

My Father’s Wives
José Eduardo Agualusa

In this arresting novel, a missing father is used as a base from which to explore Angolan and personal identity. Reviewed by Jeff Bursey

Home
Marilynne Robinson

Robinson’s latest offers a challenging story played out in a Midwestern kitchen, involving heavy doses of theological discourse. Reviewed by Jill Stegman

Rumi: The Fire of Love
Nahal Tajaddod

A comprehensive and authoritative historical novel about the life and mind of the 13th-century Persian mystic. Reviewed by Rasoul Sorkhabi

Goldengrove
Francine Prose

Prose’s new work presents a young protagonist who confronts the death of her older sister and the ensuing grief that envelops the family. Reviewed by Joyce J. Townsend

Ghosts of Chicago
John McNally

This compelling collection of short stories finds universal themes in its portrayal of various dysfunctional Chicagoans. Reviewed by Leah Raven


POETRY

Posted in our First Installment

The Baltic Quintet
Poems from Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden
edited by Edita Page

This compilation discovers an intimate, self-conscious relationship with the natural world—and some sense of its elusive milieu. Reviewed by Amy Groshek

a gathering of matter a matter of gathering
Dawn Lundy Martin

Martin’s debut collection of poems is an artful scar winding over broken bonds of trust—trust in father and family, trust in men and mankind. Reviewed by Haines Eason

The Golden Boat
The Selected Poems of Srečko Kosovel

Kosovel is often called the Slovenian Rimbaud, and this comprehensive selection of poetry is the first available in English. Reviewed by Martin Balgach

Behind My Eyes
Li-Young Lee

Hieroglyphs collide head-on with parables, burning books, and “breath to fan the fire’s nest,” setting the stage for Lee’s latest collection. Reviewed by Kristina Marie Darling

French Symbolist Poetry translated by C.F. MacIntyre
and
The Yale Anthology of Twentieth-Century French Poetry edited by Mary Ann Caws

Two new volumes offer the history of French poetry from the period immediately preceding the twentieth century up to the present, amply demonstrating its range and vitality. Reviewed by by John Herbert Cunningham

posted in our Second installment

My Vocabulary Did This to Me
Jack Spicer

>This masterfully edited collection of Spicer’s poems allows readers to track the radical evolution of the poet’s style and come to a fuller understanding of Spicer’s significance in the American literary landscape. Reviewed by Stephan Delbos

The Golden Age of Paraphernalia
Kevin Davies

In this new collection, Davies’s poems literally leap across the page, and his taut constructions work to subvert the meaning of any given line. Reviewed by Steven Zultanski

Sources
Devin Johnston

Duncan scholar and poet Devin Johnston explores the conflation of the read and the lived in his aptly titled Sources. Reviewed by Joseph Bradshaw

A Message Back and Other Furors
Leonard Schwartz

In this furious study of language and form, Schwartz draws attention to the familiar and the foreign, often subverting their dichotomy. Reviewed by Craig Santos Perez


NONFICTION

Posted in our First Installment

Sheer Fiction: Volume IV
Paul West

The impressive four volumes of West’s literary essays comprise the equivalent of a master class in the appreciation of reading others and the hard-won joy in writing one’s own works. Reviewed by Jeff Bursey

Gertrude Bell
Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations
Georgina Howell

Bell, a British woman who became an archaeologist, spy, linguist, author, photographer, and mountaineer at the turn of the twentieth century, comes to life as a female Lawrence of Arabia in this portrait. Reviewed by Victoria Erhart

Loneliness as a Way of Life
Thomas Dumm

Dumm engages loneliness as it manifests in literature, film, essay—those textual friends who keep loneliness at bay and help make sense of the world in all its seeming emptiness. Reviewed by Spencer Dew

The Angel of Grozny
Orphans of a Forgotten War
Åsne Seierstad

Author of the international bestseller The Bookseller of Kabul turns her sights on the victims of Russia’s war with and dominance over Chechnya. Reviewed by Ellen Frazel

posted in our Second installment

Correspondence
Georges Bataille and Michel Leiris

A newly translated volume of correspondence between Bataille and one of his most intimate friends, the writer and ethnographer Michel Leiris, exposes the creativity behind their aesthetic and personal oppositions. Reviewed by Jeremy Biles

The Liberal Imagination
Lionel Trilling

A reprint of Trilling’s essays, originally collected in 1950, gives us a keen perspective of literary criticism in its heyday. Reviewed by Alison Liss

Reborn
Journals & Notebooks 1947-1963
Susan Sontag

Sontag’s early journals follow her life from the age of fourteen until the age of thirty, revealing a “besotted aesthete” in the making. Reviewed by Megan Doll

A Scholar’s Tale
Geoffrey Hartman

This slim memoir by a leading figure in literary criticism has the pleasant feel of an after dinner monologue delivered by a brilliant man with a storied past. Reviewed by Spencer Dew

The Year of Henry James
The Story of a Novel
David Lodge

In these collected essays, Lodge discusses literary self-consciousness as well as how his famed novel Author, Author ran afoul of the Man Booker prize. Reviewed by Jerome Klinkowitz


GRAPHIC NOVELS

Wet Moon Volumes 1-4
Ross Campbell

The gender- and genre-bending images of Wet Moon engage the reader in a delirious regress of identification and objectification. Reviewed by John Pistelli

Too Cool To Be Forgotten by Alex Robinson
Skyscrapers of the Midwest by Joshua W. Cotter
Bottomless Belly Button by Dash Shaw

Three recent graphic novels take different approaches to the coming of age narrative but all succeed in sketching in some intriguing details about the genre. Reviewed by Eric Lorberer



 

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