Online Edition: SUMMER 2010

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INTERVIEWS

FEATURES

mnartists.org presents:
Isa Newby Gagarin

A new feature presenting the exceptional work of Minnesota artists.
essay by Susannah Schouweiler


Reviews

GRAPHIC NOVELS

Los Compas: El Chale Gallego Y’l Xorty
José Montoya

This reproduction of twenty-four napkin sketches tells the tale of El Chale Gallego and “el Xorty,” two dudes from the neighborhood. Reviewed by Ella Diaz

Scott Pilgrim: Volumes 1-5
Bryan Lee O’Malley

A love story, a soap opera, a slacker comedy, and an action-fantasy epic all at the same time, Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series has a lot going on. Reviewed by Morgan Myers

FICTION

Empty the Sun
Joseph Mattson

Accompanied by the haunting music of Six Organs of Admittance, Mattson’s Empty the Sun presents a frenetic, whiskey-fueled, gothic travelogue of the West and Midwest. Reviewed by Andy Stewart

The Black Minutes
Martin Solares

Solares puts together a solid crime thriller, set in Mexico in different decades and following parallel investigations by two different detectives. Reviewed by Scott Bryan Wilson

Cairns: A Novel of Tibet: The People & Splendid Place
Dan’l Taylor

In this second volume of The Lepers’ Trilogy, it is refreshing to find a captivating story of Tibet without magical spells or angry politics. Reviewed by Don Messerschmidt

Self-Portrait Abroad
Jean-Philippe Toussaint

Toussaint’s new novella showcases the notion that experiences outside one's home country’s borders really don’t feel so different than those within. Reviewed by Salvatore Ruggiero

Islanders
Ammiel Alcalay

In this starkly beautiful book, Alcalay subverts memory with story, until the act of telling the story becomes an act of remembering. Reviewed by Paula Koneazny

Journey into the Past
Stefan Zweig

Now available for the first time in English, Zweig’s nostalgic novella pines for a lost history of the old, civilized world. Reviewed by Jesse Freedman

Touch
Adania Shibli

This richly conceived novella brings us the fragmented worldview of a narrator at the cusp of understanding her world, the Palestinian territories of 1982. Reviewed by M. Lynx Qualey

Your Rightful Home
Alyssa Knickerbocker

The latest in a “New Novella” series, this slim book offers a moving and elegant exploration of the ways in which we slowly lose control, despite our best efforts. Reviewed by Peter Grandbois

Who Fears Death
Nnedi Okorafor

In Okorafor’s rich fantasy novel, archetypes and clichés jangle against each other to evoke enchanting new sounds. Reviewed by Matthew Cheney

Shadowplay
Norman Lock

Reworking the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, Lock’s provocative novel questions the nature of storytelling. Reviewed by Monica McFawn

Eat When You Feel Sad
Zachary German

There’s something more to the relentless monotone of this book’s protagonist, an aimless twenty-something. Reviewed by Morgan Myers

AUDIO

Force of Light
Dan Kaufman/Barbez

A song cycle of Celan poems, Force of Light broods in brutal, relentless rhythms and foregrounds the poet's deep resistance to language. Reviewed by Christine Hume

POETRY

The Gate of Horn
L. S. Asekoff

Asekoff employs a versatility of styles to translate the lyric abstraction of poetry into true human experience. Reviewed by Russell Brickey

Find the Girl
Lightsey Darst

The fetish of minute particulars of happenstance and human anatomy becomes the dominant metaphor of Darst’s debut collection of poetry, which is focused on the adolescent girl. Reviewed by Alyssa Pelish

Bang Ditto
Amber Tamblyn

Actress Tamblyn’s second volume of poetry combines elements of personal discovery and word play. Reviewed by George Held

Gurlesque: The New Grrly, Grotesque, Burlesque Poetics
edited by Lara Glenum and Arielle Greenberg

This forward and backward looking anthology revels in the literary expressions of the feminist fang. Reviewed by Morgan Myers

Collected Poems
Gustaf Sobin

Sobin’s lifework is celebrated in this mammoth book, revealing his close associations with late Objectivism along with his deep affiliation with the French poet René Char. Reviewed by Lucas Klein

Rumored Islands by Robert Farnsworth
and
Fancy Beasts by Alex Lemon

While Farnsworth projects shades of Romanticism, Lemon echoes the New York School brand of casual brilliance. Reviewed by Raphael Allison

Long Division
Andrea Cohen

In this collection of poetry, Cohen follows her range of subjects, letting her voice inhabit the words and make the calls. Reviewed by Warren Woessner

Drive By: Shards and Poems
John Bennett

Bennett’s poems gather momentum en masse, and the collection picks up speed as one becomes familiar with the paths and destinations of his aesthetic. Reviewed by Stephan Delbos

We Don’t Know We Don’t Know
and
The Lightning that Strikes the Neighbors’ House

Nick Lantz

These two prize-winning debut books suggest a meaningful system through which to understand, apprehend, and appreciate the world. Reviewed by Weston Cutter

The Ravenous Audience
Kate Durbin

Durbin espouses a poetics of a Plath-influenced engagement with the “peanut-crunching crowd.” Reviewed by Johannes Göransson

I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl
Karyna McGlynn

This arresting collection shows remarkable talent, even if seen in the scrim of literary experiments performed long ago. Reviewed by John Jacob

NONFICTION

The Art of the Sonnet
Stephen Burt and David Mikics

Two English professors have created a most ambitious literary compendium, providing a brief history of this poetic form before launching into their main presentation: one hundred sonnets, each with an evaluative essay. Reviewed by James Naiden

Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?
Jean Baudrillard

In this brief book, completed just two months before his death in March 2007, noted theorist Baudrillard takes yet another look at a long-time theme: the disappearance of the real. Reviewed by W. C. Bamberger

Mythmakers and Lawbreakers: Anarchist Writers on Fiction
edited by Margaret Killjoy

In this collection of interviews with writers who give a sympathetic hearing to anarchist ideas, Killjoy has made a great contribution to the study of the artistic influence on and of anarchism. Reviewed by Niels Strandskov

A Decade of Negative Thinking:
Essays on Art, Politics, and Daily Life

Mira Schor

In our post 9/11 world, Schor provides an opposing analysis to the dominant consensus of what is important and what has become influential in art, seeking out the minor, the overlooked, the modest, and the in-between. Reviewed by Sheila Dickinson

War
Sebastian Junger

Junger offers a riveting close-up view of the war in Afghanistan through the experiences of a platoon from the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Reviewed by Bob Sommer

Last Looks, Last Books: Stevens, Plath, Lowell, Bishop, Merrill
Helen Vendler

Originally a lecture entitled “The Binocular Poetry of Death,” Vendler’s latest book focuses on several poets’ reactions to that final frontier. Reviewed by John Cunningham

Memory of Trees: A Daughter’s Story of a Family Farm
Gayla Marty

Marty relates the moving story of the life and death of her family's dairy farm. Reviewed by David Healy

Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature
Kathleen Dean Moore

In these essays, Moore reflects on nature through a prism of mourning and renewed meaning. Reviewed by Scott F. Parker

Tocqueville’s Discovery of America
Leo Damrosch

Damrosch brings the world of Jacksonian America alive through Tocqueville’s eyes. Reviewed by Spencer Dew

The Emancipated Spectator
Jacques Rancière

These five essays offer an accessible introduction to Rancière’s philosophical view of the spectator in politics and visual arts. Reviewed by Adrian Doerr

Memoir: A History
Ben Yagoda

A definitive study of the art of autobiography, Ben Yagoda’s Memoir takes an historical approach to the subject, delving into the idea of factual memory. Reviewed by Don Messerschmidt

Modernism After Wagner
Juliet Koss

Wagner affiliated his ideals with those of radical leftist thinkers, building his theory of an artwork that would unite poetry, music, and dance in a single and singular experience. Reviewed by John Pistelli

Passings: Death, Dying, and Unexplained Phenomena
Carole A. Travis-Henikoff

Passings is a personal look at grieving, providing a fascinating and metaphysical angle to the ever-popular discussion about death. Reviewed by Kelly Everding

The Portugal Journal
Mircea Eliade

Despite the “blank spaces” in this journal by the famed Romanian historian of religion, the work offers an intriguing portrait of a young thinker. Reviewed by Spencer Dew

Painting Below Zero: Notes on a Life in Art
James Rosenquist with David Dalton

In this autobiographical account, the artist’s transient musings of the past and current-day reflections reveal much about his work. Reviewed by Mason Riddle

My Father’s Love: Portrait of the Poet as a Young Girl
Sharon Doubiago

Doubiago infuses her memoir with a consciousness that requires the reader to consider the cause and effect of everything that follows. Reviewed by Dottie Payne

The Fall of Sleep
Jean-Luc Nancy

Nancy writes philosophy like a poet, one who has rejected metaphysics but not “the soul,” nature, dreams, or the rhapsody of language. Reviewed by Charisse Gendron

Naming Nature
The Clash Between Instinct and Science

Carol Kaesuk Yoon

Yoon tells a fascinating tale about the history of taxonomy, the field that seeks to give names to all living things on the planet. Reviewed by Ryder W. Miller

Studio Ghibli
The Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata

Colin Odell and Michelle Le Blanc

The anime works from this famed Japanese studio are discussed in this new reference work. Reviewed by Emy Farley

American Idle
A Journey Through Our Sedentary Culture

Mary Collins

Though the facts conveyed here may be predictable, the realities are staggeringly extreme. Reviewed by Scott F. Parker



 

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