John Ashbery, Susan Howe, Evan Lavender-Smith, CSAs, and more...


Interstellar Overdrive: An Interview with Evan Lavender-Smith
Interviewed by Dylan Hicks
With two ambitious books and many short works scattered around literary journals, Evan Lavender-Smith has emerged as a writer about whom hype-abused words such as daring might legitimately apply. 

Not Just Text: An Interview with Steve Tomasula
Interviewed by Yuriy Tarnawsky
Last year, FC2 published Steve Tomasula’s “new-media novel” TOC, an assemblage of text, film, music, photography, the spoken word, animation, and painting that comes on a DVD for “reading” on a computer. 

The Illuminated Text: John Ashbery Discusses Translating Rimbaud
Interviewed by Claude Peck
This project makes so much sense that one wonders why someone didn’t think of it sooner.


Write Through This: The Poetry of Susan Howe
Essay by John Herbert Cunningham
The singular career of poet Susan Howe is explored through reviews of two critical books on her work and Howe’s latest volume of poems, That This.

Poems for the Heart and Mind: Leslie Adrienne Miller’s First Five Books
Essay by James Naiden
Throughout five poetry collections, Leslie Adrienne Miller displays a fountain of senses, images, and colors, inviting readers in as she explores her own rich history.

mnartists.org Presents: Appetite for Art
Essay by Betsy Altheimer
A new feature presenting the exceptional work of Minnesota artists.


Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout
Lauren Redniss
Radioactive is part biography, part history primer, all wrapped up in a lush and lavishly illustrated work. Reviewed by John Bradley

Kill Shakespeare, Vol. 1
Conor McCreery and Anthony Del Col
An entertaining mix of high-fantasy, Shakespearian pathos, comic book heroics, and postmodern literary tropes, Kill Shakespeare is among the most creative and interesting comic series being produced today. Reviewed by James R. Fleming


Falling In
Frances O'Roark Dowell
Falling In offers a strong female character who can stand alongside Alice of Wonderland and Dorothy of Oz as an adventurer who escapes her dull existence. Reviewed by Carrie Mercer


The Passion Artist
John Hawkes
Has there ever been a literary novel as saturated in sex and bodily fluids? Reviewed by Greg Gerke

Song of the Orange Moons
Lori Ann Stephens
An intensity behind each carefully chosen word makes this short yet sprawling story of three females a pleasure to read. Reviewed by Kristin Thiel

Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls
Alissa Nutting
Nutting’s bizarre stories inhabit the slipstream between literary fiction and science fiction, between fantasy and the fairy tale, all the while creating worlds where anything seems possible. Reviewed by Peter Grandbois

The Company of Heaven: Stories from Haiti
Marilène Phipps-Kettlewell
This fiction debut by a Haiti native and poet reminds readers of a country that struggled with fear and poverty long before its recent serial disasters of earthquake, flood, and cholera outbreak. Reviewed by Lauren E. Tyrrell

The Eden Hunter
Skip Horack
Horack’s first novel follows the life of a pygmy tribesman captured and sold into slavery. Reviewed by Billy Reynolds

The Sixty-Five Years of Washington
Juan José Saer
Argentinian novelist Saer’s unconventional novel follows an ambling conversation between two men discussing a party that neither of them attended. Reviewed by Scott Bryan Wilson

The Bradshaw Variations
Rachel Cusk
The seventh novel from Whitbread winner Cusk is in many ways the epitome of a minor work: it examines mediocre characters living mediocre lives. Reviewed by Joshua Willey

The Perfume River: An Anthology of Writing from Vietnam
Edited by Catherine Cole
This fat anthology of short stories, hybrid narratives, and poems offers an array of perspectives on contemporary Vietnamese experience—including experiences beyond and within Vietnam’s borders. Reviewed by Steve Street

Right of Way
Andrew Wingfield
Wingfield here offers a series of stories all taking place in the Washington, D.C. neighborhood of Cleave Springs. Reviewed by Zach Czaia

Imperial Bedrooms
Bret Easton Ellis
Ellis’s latest novel is a chilling send-up of Hollywood, chockablock with sinister characters and mysterious disappearances. Reviewed by Josepha Gutelius

Heaven and Hell
Jón Kalman Stefánsson
Stefansson writes poetically about the many dimensions of the Icelandic landscape, deftly revealing the lives of those who inhabit this space. Reviewed by Amy Henry


The Naive and the Sentimental Novelist
Orhan Pamuk
The 2009 Norton Lectures at Harvard, collected in this volume, are what the acclaimed Turkish author calls “the most important things I know and have learned about the novel.” Reviewed by Spencer Dew

Dear Sandy, Hello: Letters from Ted to Sandy Berrigan
Edited by Sandy Berrigan and Ron Padgett
These letters from 1962 capture not only the determined spirit of young lovers but the rebellious spirit of times. Reviewed by Cliff Fyman

Our Savage Art: Poetry and the Civil Tongue
William Logan
In spite of his learned references and closely reasoned arguments, reading critic William Logan is like watching an insult comic go from table to table—and hoping he doesn’t stop at yours. Reviewed by John-Ivan Palmer

Hemingway: So Far from Simple
Donald F. Bouchard
& Albert Camus: Elements of a Life
Robert Zaretksy
Two new books on past literary masters are up against a contemporary audience skeptical of their straight white male perspective. Reviewed by John Pistelli

The Preparation of the Novel: Lecture Courses and Seminars at the Collège de France (1978–1979 and 1979–1980)
Roland Barthes
A sense of what to Barthes must have been delicious postponement, edging around the event itself, characterizes this course. Reviewed by Spencer Dew

Animating Space: From Mickey to Wall-E
J. P. Telotte
Telotte enthusiastically attempts the impossible—discussing the importance of “space” in animation, from the physical to the philosophical, without the use of the visual platform on which animation rests. Reviewed by Emy Farley

Growing Up Psychic: From Skeptic to Believer
Michael Bodine
In this compulsively readable memoir, we learn about Bodine’s introduction to the shadowy world of the dead starting as a six-year-old in 1960s-1970s Minneapolis, Minnesota. Reviewed by Kelly Everding

The Box: Tales from the Darkroom
Günter Grass
Hinging on photography, Günter Grass’s most recent opus is a miniature epic, packing an amazing amount of material into a single afternoon’s read. Reviewed by Joshua Willey

Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation
Steven Johnson
In this book, innovation is rarely the product of a genius with an epiphany but rather of ecological factors that help an idea take root and flower. Reviewed by Kevin Smokler

The Canals of Mars
Gary Fincke
Fincke organizes his memoir into five parts which build on each other to create—and discover—a picture of an authentic self. Reviewed by Scott F. Parker

Stefan and Lotte Zweig’s South American Letters: New York, Argentina and Brazil, 1940-1942
Edited by Darién J. Davis and Oliver Marshall
This collection provides a detailed epistolary account of the life and times of one of Europe’s preeminent intellectuals. Reviewed by Jesse Freedman


Our Chrome Arms of Gymnasium
Crystal Curry
Open the cover of this book and enter an enthralling, mysterious cave of microcosmic reality waiting within. Reviewed by Greg Bem

Approaching Ice
Elizabeth Bradfield
In this mesmerizing poetic voyage to a land “more ice than earth,” Bradfield probes the lives of polar explorers, the people they left behind, and the desires that propelled them. Reviewed by Lucy Bryan Green

Beyond the Fire
Mary Leader
Leader’s third collection of poetry is the work of a restless and inquisitive mind that uses formal inquiry as its overarching structure. Reviewed by Kate Angus

Horse and Rider
Melissa Range
Range, a Walt McDonald First Book-award winner, bridges the poetic dichotomy between interiority and speaking to the world. Reviewed by Russ Brickey

The Esai Poems: Book 1, Breaking Bread with the Darkness
Jimmy Santiago Baca
The Esai Poems is the first in a proposed four-volume series that Baca plans to publish about life with his five children. Reviewed by Warren Woessner

Black Seeds on a White Dish
Shira Dentz
In Dentz’s first volume of poems, there’s a tension that sways back and forth between exposure, vulnerability, and abundance. Reviewed by Erin M. Bertram

Steve Roggenbuck
To paraphrase Jay-Z, Steve Roggenbuck isn’t a businessman, he’s a business, man. Reviewed by Morgan Myers


Birth and After Birth and Other Plays
Tina Howe
Award-winning playwright Tina Howe distinguishes the works collected here, which take on a more absurdist air while tackling contemporary feminism, as “the ones where I rip off my white gloves.” Reviewed by Alison Barker

Rain Taxi Online Edition, Spring 2011 | © Rain Taxi, Inc. 2011