Spring 2013

David Shields, William H. Gass, Ludmila Petrushevskaya, Derek Walcott, & more. . .


Flipping Into Wit: An Interview with David Shields
Interviewed by Eric Lorberer
David Shields sat down with Rain Taxi editor Eric Lorberer to discuss the provocative new book, the state of contemporary literature, and the status of Shields’s manifesto in the face of a changing cultural landscape.

Sentenced to Depth: An Interview with William H. Gass
Interviewed by John Madera

Download a PDF of John Madera's comprehensive (25,000 words!) interview with the author of the new novel Middle C, as well as classics like The Tunnel and Omensetter's Luck. There's so much great content we thought you'd like to read it in e-book form, but you can also view the file on your desktop. An excerpt of this interview appeared in our Spring 2013 print edition.


The New Midwestern
Essay by William Stobb
Native Midwestern poet William Stobb considers deep image traditions in two recently published works: Broken Gates by Ken McCullough (Red Dragonfly Press) and Confluence of Mysterious Origins by William Waltz (Factory Hollow Press)

The Poetry of Athena Kildegaard
Essay by James Naiden
Athena Kildegaard’s three volumes of poems—Rare Momentum, Bodies of Light, and Cloves & Honey—show how her unique voice and keen eye have made her a significant part of the poetic landscape.

In Praise of Sentences
Essay by Louis Phillips
Phillips glories in the magic, mystery, and excitement of the sentence!

Reviews: Poetry

Gone & Gone
Rodney Wittwer
Wittwer’s debut collection shows how our lives are enriched by contradictions, complications, and challenges. Reviewed by Ralph Pennel

Rough, and Savage
Sun Yung Shin
Shin draws from Dante’s Inferno, the Korean War, and the events of her own life to create a multi-layered redefinition of the epic poem. Reviewed by Laila Rode Simon

Public Figures
Jena Osman
Osman manages to combine poetry, lyric essay, and photojournalism as she envisions the city through the eyes of the statues that populate public space. Reviewed by Rachel Trousdale

Steam Laundry
Nicole Stellon O’Donnell
O’Donnell takes on the persona of Alaskan pioneer Sarah Ellen Gibson, bringing to light the difficult life she faced in mining camps during the late 1890s and early 1900s. Reviewed by Julie Swarstad Johnson

Kathleen Flenniken
This collection of quiet but damning poems on the history of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation bring to light the devastating and deadly consequences of plutonium manufacturing. Reviewed by John Bradley

Bruce Beasley
In Theophobia, Beasely explores the many manifestations of the divine, be it through mathematics or the parasites that reside in the feline digestive tract. Reviewed by Spencer Dew

An Individual History
Michael Collier
With elegant and emotional intensity, Collier’s restless poems depict chance encounters and intimate portraits that seek to inform a larger picture. Reviewed by Barrett Warner

Further Adventures in Monochrome
John Yau
Further Adventures in Monochrome is a new achievement from a long-established poet, yet again challenging the boundaries between language as meaning, sound, symbol, and art. Reviewed by John James

Sending Christmas Cards to Huck & Hamlet
Joseph Mills
Mills fashions the language of story into highly original narrative poetry in this collection of mostly free verse. Reviewed by Anne Harding Woodworth

This Constellation Is a Name: Collected Poems, 1965-2010
Michael Heller
This collection provides an opportunity to survey Michael Heller’s distinguished career—one very much still in progress and which may prove among his generation’s finest. Reviewed by Robert Zaller

Reviews: Fiction

Safe as Houses
Marie-Helene Bertino
Drawing deeply on American pop culture, Bertino takes quotidian dramas and amplifies them with playful and fantastical conceits. Reviewed by Max Vanderhyden

The Evening Hour
Carter Sickels
Sickels explores ecological depletion, drug use, rural depopulation, and disillusioned youth among the inhabitants of a small mining town in West Virginia. Reviewed by Rebecca Kuensting

Thirteen Girls
Mikita Brottman
Brottman’s superb story cycle fictionalizes the last days of famous serial killers' female victims. Reviewed by John Pistelli

The Fourth of July
Kevin Dowd
Dowd’s flair for the ridiculous results in a breezy and buoyant comedic debut. Reviewed by Benjamin Woodard

There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister’s Husband, and He Hanged Himself
Ludmila Petrushevskaya
This collection by the blacklisted Russian author presents stories of love that are so stripped of artifice, they seem to transgress realism. Reviewed by Alta Ifland

Bronwen Hruska
Hruska's Accelerated combines a social satire with a literary thriller to explore how parents will go to any lengths to give their child a perceived advantage in a hyper-competitive world. Reviewed by T.K. Dalton

The Obituary
Gail Scott
The Obituary demonstrates Scott’s deftness with the prose form, as well as her willingness to explore internalized conflicts of class, family histories, and race. Reviewed by erica kaufman

Reviews: Plays

Park Songs: A Poem/Play
David Budbill
A collection of dialogues spoken by sixteen different characters, Park Songs opens up the intersections of poetry and performance, reminding us that “play” is a verb. Reviewed by Lynette Reini-Grindell

Derek Walcott
This lush, musical fable by the prolific, Nobel-decorated Caribbean poet and playwright may not be performed any time soon, so reading it may be the only way to experience Walcott's theatrical magic. Reviewed by Isaac Butler

Reviews: Nonfiction

Zoo Station: The Story of Christiane F.
Christiane F.
This stark memoir relates the downward spiral into addiction and prostitution of a young, intelligent woman growing up in late 1970s Berlin. Reviewed by Allie Curry

Derrida: A Biography
Benoît Peeters
For this detailed account of Derrida's life, Peeters leans heavily on material from the published record, along with Derrida’s archive and interviews with family, friends, and colleagues.
Reviewed by Brooke Horvath

On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson
William Souder
In this powerful biography, Souder demonstrates how the historical and cultural milieu in which Carson was immersed led her to write her groundbreaking book, Silent SpringReviewed by Eliza Murphy

Shopping for a Better Country
Josip Novakovich
The predominate sentiment expressed by this immigrant writer is a sense of loss for his disappeared homeland, Yugoslavia, and for the country he adopted. Reviewed by Ned Randolph

Will Oldham on Bonnie “Prince” Billy
Edited by Alan Licht
Musician Licht’s collection of interviews with the reticent Oldham is a rare investigation into the process of developing a larger-than-life lyric persona. Reviewed by Amy Wright

The Wildness Within: Remembering David Brower
Edited by Kenneth Brower
David Brower’s son brings together accounts and accolades of his late father’s colleagues, creating a dynamic and inspiring portrait of this environmentalist and Sierra Club executive. Reviewed by Ryder W. Miller

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
Paul Tough
Tough’s book documents compelling stories of innovative primary- and secondary-school teachers and administrators who focus on developing their students’ characters in addition to their minds. Reviewed by Shawn Patrick Doyle

Reviews: Comics

Fatale, Book One: Death Chases Me
Fatale, Book Two: The Devil’s Business
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, famous for their noir/crime comics, snake in and out of the Lovecraftian shadows at the edges of that same hardboiled world in their series Fatale. Reviewed by Spencer Dew

Rain Taxi Online Edition Spring 2013 | © Rain Taxi, Inc. 2013