Spring 2012

Ben Tanzer, Gerald Nicosia, Anne Waldman, Jim Harrison, & more . . .


Fathers and Sons: An Interview with Ben Tanzer
Interviewed by Paula Bomer
Having written about the death of his father in his recent novel, Tanzer discusses the difference between writing fiction and memoir when dealing with grief.

Beats Back Bigger Than Ever: An Interview with Gerald Nicosia
Interviewed by Jonah Raskin
Beat enthusiast and author Gerald Nicosia keeps vigilant about the upcoming Beat movie projects and what they say about current American culture.

Push, Push Against the Darkness: An Interview with Anne Waldman on The Iovis Trilogy
Interviewed by Jim Cohn
Waldman discusses her epic poem The Iovis Trilogy and how mythology, exploration of gender, and "dark trajectories forced the poem into being . . ."

Four Energetic Women Behind America's Literary Arts: Interviews with Lee Briccetti, Grace Cavalieri, Jane Ciabattari, and Noreen Tomassi
Interviewed by Daniela Gioseffi
Learn more about Lee Briccetti, Grace Cavalieri, Jane Ciabattari, and Noreen Tomassi, women who have devoted tireless hours to cultivating literary culture.


Jim Harrison's The Great Leader & Songs of Unreason
Reviewed by Mark Gustafson
When a writer writes equally well in more than one genre, it raises an interesting question: does the author’s sensibility predominate, or does the form?

mnartists.org Presents: Art on Ice
Essay by Andy Sturdevant, with photographs by Katie Czarniecki Hill
A mild winter didn't put a stop to this favorite winter art celebration.

Transmission: Technology, Spirit, and Embodied Self in Recent Visual Poetry
Reviewed by Jay Besemer
Verges & Vivisections by j/j hastain and Storage Case by John Martone combine text and pictures to create a spiritually charged manifestation of self, body, and technology.

Chapbook Corner

Dear Failures
Trey Sager
& Where We Expect to See You Soon
Michael Ford
Two recent chapbooks from Ugly Duckling Presse show diversity of form, yet both are shot through with a peripheral but palpable nostalgia and a subtle, driving generosity. Reviewed by E. Marie Bertram

Russian For Lovers
Marina Blitshteyn
Russian for Lovers is a lyric-romantic in a tremulously innocent Russian vein, and plain-spoken modernist in another. Reviewed by Vladislav Davidzon

Saint Monica
Mary Biddinger
Biddinger reimagines the patron saint of abuse victims, alcoholics, housewives, and mothers as a 20th-century Catholic girl with domestic troubles looming. Reviewed by Roxanne Halpine Ward

Reviews: Poetry

The Changing Room
Zhai Yongming
Zhai Yongming, China’s pre-eminent contemporary woman poet, combines the subject matter of indeterminacy, social change, and womanhood to create one relentless strong poetic expression. Reviewed by Lucas Klein

The Back Chamber
Donald Hall
In his sixteenth collection of poems, Donald Hall balances joy and sadness in his inimitable self-skewering style. Reviewed by James Naiden

Karen Rigby
The poems of Chinoiserie are ornate, filled with beautiful and uncommon words and imbued with influences from many different cultures and places. Reviewed by Rebecca Farivar

Threshold Songs
Peter Gizzi
Resonant with forebears as formidable as Hawthorne, Emerson, and Whitman, Peter Gizzi's latest poems linger at the threshold of "How to live. / What to do." Reviewed by M. D. Snediker

The Trouble Ball
Martín Espada
As a noted heir to Whitman, Martín Espada offers a poetry of the body, where national character and spiritual truth reside. Reviewed by J. D. Schraffenberger

Reviews: Art

Groundwaters: A Century of Art by Self-Taught and Outsider Artists
Charles Russell
Russell’s new book views outsider art as an evolving field whose very nonconformist ideals capture the individual spirit and drive of all great art. Reviewed by Eliza Murphy

A Thousand Several
Emily McVarish
In this remarkable artists book, McVarish explores the space of a book through its relations to cityscapes. Reviewed by Afton Wilky

Reviews: Graphic Novels

FreakAngels (Volumes 1-6)
Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield
An extended meditation on power, adolescence, and community, Ellis and Duffield’s FreakAngels is thick with melancholy and fear. Reviewed by Woody Evans

Reviews: Fiction

The Little Russian
Susan Sherman
Sherman’s debut historical novel charts a Russian girl’s journey from Moscow back to her provincial hometown. Reviewed by Malcolm Forbes

Omicron Ceti III
Thomas P. Balázs
Despite the sci-fi-sounding title, this collection of character-driven stories takes you into the final frontier of human behavior. Reviewed by Weston Cutter

The Fat Years
Chan Koonchung
This much-touted, recently translated Chinese thriller demonstrates how aesthetics struggle when put up against political righteousness. Reviewed by Lucas Klein

The Flame Alphabet
Ben Marcus
A story so strange we asked two reviewers to tackle it! Ben Marcus's The Flame Alphabet imagines a dystopia where language is toxic. Reviewed by Robert M. Detman and Laird Hunt

Stephen King
If you’ve been waiting for a less-gory opportunity to enjoy one of the most prolific scribes of the last half-century, there’s never been a better time than now. Reviewed by G. A. Rozen

It: A 25th Anniversary Review
Stephen King
It’s been twenty-five years since the publication of Stephen King’s It, and this monster story isn’t any less terrifying. Reviewed by Tony Magistrale

The Mirage
Matt Ruff
Matt Ruff's new novel The Mirage is so topsy-turvy, we asked two separate reviewers to take it on. Read their perspectives on this imagined alternate history where Christian terrorists attack twin towers in Baghdad on 11/9/01. Reviewed by Nathaniel Forsythe and Marjorie Hakala

Reviews: Young Adult Fiction

Brian Selznick
In Wonderstruck, Selznick deftly pairs art and words in a complex and compelling tale of museums, silence, language, and family. Reviewed by Roxanne Halpine Ward

The Midnight Zoo
Sonya Hartnett
In The Midnight Zoo, three refugees from a brutal war seek shelter and understanding among the caged animals of an abandoned zoo. Reviewed by Kelly Everding

Reviews: Nonfiction

Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books
Edited by Leah Price
Here’s a great opportunity for the curious and the voyeuristic alike to inspect the libraries of some famous writers. Surprises abound . . . Reviewed by Jeff Bursey

Beat Atlas: A State-by-State Guide to the Beat Generation in America
Bill Morgan
Renowned Beatologist Bill Morgan’s latest contribution to Beat mania is this handsomely designed Atlas, which is meant to be a reference, not the be-all of Beat lore. Reviewed by Graziano Krätli

Faith No More: Why People Reject Religion
Phil Zuckerman
The Bodhisattva's Brain: Buddhism Naturalized
Owen Flanagan
Two books show how developing or locating a workable worldview for oneself is a fundamental human responsibility. Reviewed by Scott F. Parker

The Golden-Bristled Boar: Last Ferocious Beast of the Forest
Jeffrey Greene
Part nature study, cultural enquiry, and personal history, poet Jeffrey Greene’s The Golden-Bristled Boar sets out to explore the wild boars of Burgundy. Reviewed by Linda Lappin

How To Read The Qur'an: A New Guide, with Select Translations
Carl W. Ernst
Ernst approaches the Qur’an as a human work rooted in history, rather than as divine revelation. Reviewed by Spencer Dew

The Productive Writer: Tips & Tools to Help You Write More, Stress Less & Create Success
Sage Cohen
Cohen’s The Productive Writer is generous, comprehensive, pragmatic, and optimistic, coming from a writer’s life lived honestly and unromantically. Reviewed by Marj Hahne

Design and Truth
Robert Grudin
Grudin leads the reader on an intellectual romp, exploring and comparing vastly different aspects of design across centuries and cultures. Reviewed by Mason Riddle

Mike Leigh
Sean O'Sullivan
In the latest volume of the Contemporary Film Directors series, O’Sullivan articulately probes into the links between Leigh’s films. Reviewed by Scott Bryan Wilson

Wayne Koestenbaum
Koestenbaum provides an unequivocally valuable social, historical, and philosophical meditation on the pleasures and conundrums of disgrace. Reviewed by Jens Tamang

Searching for Guan Yin
Sarah E. Truman
In search for enlightenment on a journey through China, Truman lets the Bodhisattva of Compassion guide her on a path of self-discovery. Reviewed by Emily Walz

Hanging Quotes: Talking Book Arts, Typography, and Poetry
Alastair M. Johnston
Where You're At: Poetics and Visual Arts
Kevin Power
Two interview collections centered on book arts present a broadly engaging view of the American small press poetry scene from the 1950s onward. Reviewed by Patrick James Dunagan

The Poetry of Thought: From Hellenism to Celan
George Steiner
& Disenchantment: George Steiner and the Meaning of Western Civilization after Auschwitz
Catherine D. Chatterley
This review looks at Steiner’s new work on the interlocked nature of poetic language and philosophical thought, along with a new study on Steiner’s life and work. Reviewed by W. C. Bamberger

Keep This Quiet!: My Relationship with Hunter S. Thompson, Milton Klonsky, and Jan Mensaert
Margaret A. Harrell
Much like Hunter S. Thompson, Keep This Quiet! is noisy, sensual, and word-drunk. Reviewed by W. C. Bamberger

Bob Dylan: New York
June Skinner Sawyers
No decent Dylan-head should wander the streets of lower Manhattan without this bio-travel guide. Reviewed by Scott F. Parker

The Piano Player in the Brothel: The Future of Journalism
Juan Luis Cebrián
As one of the founders of Spain’s El Pais, Cebrián claims the future of newspapers is endangered by compromising truth for sales. Reviewed by John Toren

From Jim Crow to Jay-Z: Race, Rap, and the Performance of Masculinity
Miles White
White thinks we need to look farther back if we’re going understand the complex relationships between race and music in this country. Reviewed by Scott F. Parker

Rain Taxi Online Edition, Spring 2012 | © Rain Taxi, Inc. 2012