Winter 2011/2012

Christopher Bram, John Banville, Meng Tang, Tomas Tranströmer, & more . . .


Chasing Literary Outlaws: An Interview with Christopher Bram
Interviewed by Claude Peck
Christopher Bram discusses his new book, which charts the immense impact of gay writing on American literature and life through the last six decades.


That Particular Intense Gaze: An Appreciation of John Banville
Essay by Yahia Lababidi
The Irish writer John Banville is a novelist of ideas whose prose aspires to the condition of poetry. Presents: Living Dangerously
Essay by Stephanie Xenos
For Twin Cities based Chinese artist Meng Tang, the personal is political.

Tomas Tranströmer
Essay by Emil Siekkinen
The Nobel prize-winning poet's verse is spare, elegant, precise, and serene.

Reviews: Nonfiction

Cutting Across Media: Appropriation Art, Interventionist Collage, and Copyright Law
Kembrew McLeod and Rudolf Kuenzli
This collection of essays takes a stab at illuminating the increasing complexities of copyright law in art and digital media. Reviewed by Allie Curry

Gaming Matters: Art, Science, Magic, and the Computer Game Medium
Judd Ethan Ruggill and Ken S. McAllister
By exploring the coercive drudgery of video games, Ruggill and McAllister show how the best games expand our sense of self and world. Reviewed by Scott Newton

Why Trilling Matters
Adam Kirsch
Adam Kirsch argues Trilling’s legacy as a defender of the primacy of literature, the importance of criticism, and of the literary critic as heroic figure. Reviewed by Spencer Dew

Nothing: A Portrait of Insomnia
Blake Butler
Butler’s recursive, malleable syntax not only mirrors the blurry minds of the sleepless, his prose redefines that “sleeplike helpless state.” Reviewed by Nick Ripatrazone

Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight
James Attlee
In this collection of essays, Attlee challenges us to reexamine our relationship to the night sky for the sake of both our sense of mystery and our planet’s health. Reviewed by Paula Cisewski

All In: From Refugee Camp to Poker Champ
Jerry Yang
While this memoir focuses on Yang’s win at the 2007 World Series of Poker, the more interesting portion follows his journey to America as a Hmong refugee. Reviewed by Adam Stemple

If You Knew Then What I Know Now
Ryan Van Meter
This debut collection of essays explores the silence around homosexuality and the difficulty in defining yourself when all you know is that you’re “different.” Reviewed by Nasir Sakandar

Rose: Love in Violent Times
Inga Muscio
Muscio's new book continually affirms that a strong sense of self precipitates an expanded awareness of the surrounding world. Reviewed by Amy Wright

On the Road to Babadag: Travels in the Other Europe
Andrzej Stasiuk
In his latest travelogue, Andrzej Stasiuk continues his exploration of remote parts of Europe to find out what makes people there survive. Reviewed by Amy Henry

Karaoke Culture
Dubravka Ugresic
Croatian writer Dubravka Ugresic offers essays that range from academic argument to the kind of visceral epiphanies one might expect over the backyard fence. Reviewed by Steve Street

Digital Art and Meaning: Reading Kinetic Poetry, Text Machines, Mapping Art, and Interactive Installations
Roberto Simanowski
In Digital Art and Meaning, critic Roberto Simanowski rigorously scrutinizes how media and art are blended. Reviewed by Chris Funkhouser

The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg
Edited by Georg Adler, Peter Hudis, and Annelies Laschitza
This collection of letters offers a litany of new insights into Luxemburg's character and her quick evolution as thinker and political insurgent. Reviewed by Vladislav Davidzon

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
Erik Larson
Larson's bestselling book investigates Hitler’s Berlin through the eyes of the U.S. ambassador to Germany, William Dodd, and his family. Reviewed by Rebecca Morales

A Life in Motion
Florence Howe
Florence Howe writes a poignant memoir about coming of age as a feminist in mid-twentieth-century America. Reviewed by E. J. Levy

Reviews: Fiction

A Moment in the Sun
John Sayles
As election season begins to wax, this tome of literary historical fiction offers an encouraging reminder of the depth of American roots and the breadth of American identity. Reviewed by Joshua Willey

China Miéville
Embassytown is truly a novel of ideas, in which the final battle is waged not between warring space frigates but between competing theories about language and learning. Reviewed by Nathaniel Forsythe

A. D. Miller
Miller’s debut novel is a thriller concerning Nick Platt, a rootless Englishman up to his neck in lawless, modern-day Moscow. Reviewed by Malcolm Forbes

My American Unhappiness
Dean Bakopoulos
In his second novel, Dean Bakopoulos tries to appraise the psychological trauma caused by 9/11 and the ensuing years of ferocious politics. Reviewed by Will Wlizlo

New Finnish Grammar
Diego Marani
Italian novelist Diego Marani has set himself the difficult task of telling the story of a man who has no story. Reviewed by John Toren

The Hashish Waiter
Khairy Shalaby
In his seventieth book, the late Khairy Shalaby takes on the pervasive and illegal use of hashish among Egypt’s youth culture. Reviewed by Brooke Horvath

The Matter with Morris
David Bergen
Bergen brings the classic mid-life crisis story up to speed with the war-torn, plugged-in world in his recent Giller Prize-winning novel. Reviewed by Matthew Duffus

Neal Stephenson
Embrace your inner geek with Reamde, a fast-paced, video-game-like story that is—unlike most of Stephenson’s work—more action than analysis. Reviewed by Alice Dodge

TVA Baby
Terry Bisson
These thirteen science fiction tales by Hugo and Nebula Award winner Terry Bisson focus on what makes pop culture tick: voyeurism and violence. Reviewed by Jade Bové

House of the Fortunate Buddhas
João Ubaldo Ribeiro
Ribeiro’s novel, recently translated into English, revels in the bygone Olympia Press tradition of literary erotica. Reviewed by Shane Joaquin Jimenez

Zone One
Colson Whitehead
Whitehead's Zone One is a literary treatment of a popular theme, the zombie apocalypse. Reviewed by Victoria Blake

The Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern
A stage magician named Prospero takes his daughter as an apprentice in this wondrous world of magic and dueling wizards. Reviewed by Greg Baldino

Lightning Rods
Helen DeWitt
The timing of Helen DeWitt’s wicked new satire of corporate America probably could not have been better. Reviewed by Brent Cunningham

Reviews: Drama

Theater of the Avant-Garde, 1950–2000: A Critical Anthology
Edited by Robert Knopf and Julia Listengarten
This anthology offers a rare combination of breadth and depth, without becoming a brick-heavy tome of plays. Reviewed by Justin Maxwell

Reviews: Poetry

Duties of an English Foreign Secretary
Macgregor Card
Macgregor Card’s debut collection is challenging, but his poems make wonderful noises when you shake them. Reviewed by Alexander Dickow

The Oxford Anthology of Bhakti Literature
Edited by Andrew Schelling
This comprehensive and timely collection offers a rich and diversified picture of bhakti poetry in English translation. Reviewed by Graziano Krätli

Stranger in Town
Cedar Sigo
Sigo creates an intertextual collection that is as rich as the many sources of inspiration from which it draws. Reviewed by Bethany Prosseda

Bad Daughter
Sarah Gorham
Gorham's fourth collection of poetry is a varied and dynamic meditation on the many manifestations of family life. Reviewed by Nick DePascal

The South Wind
Adele Ne Jame
The Lebanese American poet Adele Ne Jame creates a rich cloth of colors and scents in this handsomely produced collection of poems. Reviewed by Zara Raab

Core Samples from the World
Forrest Gander
This latest work by poet and translator Forrest Gander combines poetry, photography, and haibun to explore the ever-shifting geologic and human structures of the world. Reviewed by Justin Wadland

Ciento: 100 100-Word Love Poems
Lorna Dee Cervantes
If the book's cover doesn’t tip you off, you’ll soon find out that Cervantes’ love poems manage to be witty, lyrical, and wise without a trace of sentimentality. Reviewed by Sharon Olinka

Body Sweats: The Uncensored Writings of Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven
Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven
Finally, after 101 years of languishing uncollected and unpublished, these uncensored poems by one of the most outrageous dada poets of them all are revealed for our revelry. Reviewed by Gary Sullivan

Utopia Minus
Susan Briante
Susan Briante’s poems playfully articulate the stagnancy of a population born and raised in the suburban sprawl. Reviewed by Abby Travis

English Fragments: A Brief History of the Soul
Martin Corless-Smith
Martin Corless-Smith’s fifth collection of poetry is a deeply companionable book, with powers of reflection, musicality, candor, and sympathetic magic. Reviewed by Daniel Tiffany

What Is Owed the Dead
R. H. W. Dillard
In this long-awaited seventh book, Dillard collects fifty-two poems, each a meditation upon a dead poet’s work and life. Reviewed by Greg Weiss

Rain Taxi Online Edition, Winter 2011/2012 | © Rain Taxi, Inc. 2011/2012