Winter 2012/2013

Alexander Theroux, Camille Paglia, Edward Dorn, Elizabeth Hand, Peter Geye, Denis Johnson & more . . .


The Back of Beyond: An Interview with Alexander Theroux
Interviewed by Paul Maliszewski
Writer Alexander Theroux discusses his new book on Estonia, his love of language and politics, and just about everything else.


Reacher Said Nothing
Essay by Peter S. Scholtes
Lee Child’s tenacious Jack Reacher redefines what exactly is a hero.

The New Decay of Lying
Discussion by Ted Pelton and Davis Schneiderman
Two partisan provocateurs (and a surprise guest) debate the nature of gadfly Kent Johnson’s A Question Mark Under the Sun, a genre-defying book on the provenance of a poem.

Reviews: Nonfiction

Always in Trouble: An Oral History of ESP-Disk: The Most Outrageous Record Label in America
Jason Weiss
Weiss provides an entertaining oral history of the highly eclectic record label from the 1960s, ESP-Disk. Reviewed by W. C. Bamberger

Stranger to History: A Son’s Journey Through Islamic Lands
Aatish Taseer
In a new American edition of this memoir and travelogue, a son wrestles with his father’s absence and his own Muslim identity. Reviewed by Spencer Dew

Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
David Eagleman
Eagelman’s Incognito is a refreshing testament to the integrity of neuroscience. Reviewed by Scott Vickers

Going Too Far: Essays About America’s Nervous Breakdown
Ishmael Reed
Reed’s new offering of essays might not go far enough to stand as informed, reliable critique of the cultural catastrophe it purports to address. Reviewed by Spencer Dew

The Sacred Language of Trees
A.T. Mann
Mann’s new book is an anecdotal history of the myths, cults, and religions involving trees from earliest times to the present. Reviewed by Gerard Malanga

Revolution: A Reader
Edited by Lisa Robertson and Matthew Stadler
With Revolution: A Reader, editors Lisa Robertson and Matthew Stadler provide us with an antidote to end-times infantalization by giving us something to do. Reviewed by Elisabeth Workman

Reviews: Art

The Last Vispo Anthology: Visual Poetry 1998-2008
Edited by Crag Hill and Nico Vassilakis
This collection will certainly join the small pantheon of essential literary arts anthologies focusing on visual works. Reviewed by Chris Funkhouser

Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars
Camille Paglia
With this collection of essays on art, Paglia takes a stand against the religious right and the P.C. left, both of whom she persuasively accuses of disparaging beauty, fearing sexuality, oversimplifying spirituality, and using art only to promote their political agendas. Reviewed by John Pistelli

Reviews: Chapbooks

Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative
Edited by Ammiel Alcalay
Archival and obscure in nature, the Lost & Found series of chapbooks is one of those rare, eventful joys in publishing history. Reviewed by Patrick James Dunagan

Words & The World
Edited and translated by Gilbert C. F. Fong, Shelby K. Y. Chan, Lucas Klein, Amy Ho Kit Yin, and Bei Dao
The 2011 International Poetry Nights in Hong Kong resulted in this beautiful boxed collection of twenty chapbooks by poets from across the globe. Reviewed by Kevin Carollo

Reviews: Poetry

Poets’ Guide to America
John F. Buckley and Martin Ott
This collection of poems is a good book to take on a long trip, as you watch the signs, shopping malls, and burger joints of backlot America go by. Reviewed by Rachel Trousdale

Collected Poems of Lenore Kandel
Lenore Kandel
Kandel’s poems display her dedication to keeping her writing as honest and straightforward as the lifestyle she pursued. Reviewed by Patrick James Dunagan

Voices Writ in Sand
Jeffrey DeLotto
This collection of poems and dramatic monologues represents more than two decades of DeLotto’s writing. Reviewed by Anne Whitehouse

Collected Poems
Edward Dorn
This comprehensive gathering of Edward Dorn’s work to date allows us to see Dorn’s heartbreak in all its intensity, and the price of our vision is to feel with him a concomitant loss and pain. Reviewed by Charles Alexander

The Visible
Bruce Bond
In this eighth collection of verse, Bond’s beautiful imagery summons the work of his ancestors: Stevens, Ashbery, and Merwin. Reviewed by James Naiden

Injecting Dreams into Cows
Jessy Randall
In her new collection, Randall shows the emotional punch of minimalist verse, tempered with a generous dash of humor. Reviewed by CL Bledsoe

Sky Above, Great Wind: The Life and Poetry of Zen Master Ryokan
Kazuaki Tanahashi
This new translation and overview of the life and work of Ryokan shows this man of Zen is radically engaged and deeply compassionate. Reviewed by Justin Wadland

When All the World is Old
John Rybicki
In elegant verse and imaginative prose, Rybicki articulates his moving toward hope and healing after his wife’s death. Reviewed by Steve Dudas

Some Math
Bill Luoma
Reading Bill Luoma’s Some Math is like facing a linguistic hurricane. Reviewed by Lightsey Darst

In the Futurity Lounge: Asylum for Indeterminacy
Marjorie Welish
What distinguishes Marjorie Welish’s new book of poems is its ability to engage readers in the process of construction that creates a text in time. Reviewed by Terence Diggory

Every Possible Blue
Matthew Thorburn
Thorburn’s poems are filled with blues—but they are the blues of blue skies, blue birds, and most emphatically, blue pigment. Reviewed by Warren D. Woessner

What It Is Like: New and Selected Poems
Charles North
What It Is Like surveys four decades of work by one of America’s most engaging experimental poets. Reviewed by Terence Diggory

As I Said
Lev Loseff
A rare collaboration between poet and translator brings life and personality to these translations from Russian poet Loseff. Reviewed by Amy Henry

Reviews: Fiction

Breakfast at Midnight
Louis Armand
A darkly radiant ode to the underbelly of Prague, this novel is a pinball fever dream, sopping with sweat, booze, and sex. Reviewed by Benjamin Woodard

Laurent Binet
HHhH, a novel about the assassination attempt of high-ranking Nazi officer Reinhard Heydrich, is written with a postmodern self-consciousness that’s uncertain of its own authenticity. Reviewed by Christopher Urban

J. R. Moehringer
Prize-winning journalist J. R. Moehringer turns novelist with his fictional take on the life of Willie Sutton, folkloric bank predator of the American mid-century. Reviewed by John Cussen

Lavie Tidhar
Winner of a 2012 World Fantasy Award, Osama is a mix of crime fiction, pulp noir, science fiction, and history. Reviewed by Kris Lawson

Errantry: Strange Stories
Elizabeth Hand
The enigmatic stories in Elizabeth Hand’s new collection arouse the vertiginous feeling of being confronted with the incomprehensible. Reviewed by Will Wlizlo

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories
Edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
The Weird is the ultimate companion for readers who relish strange, luminous, decadent tales of the “other.” Reviewed by Kris Lawson

Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City
Dung Kai-cheung
Dung joins the ranks of Calvino, Borges, and Eco in re-imagining a fictionalized city from the perspective of future archeologists. Reviewed by Lucas Klein

Outside the Bones
Lyn Di Iorio
The high octane, hilarious, sexy, and strikingly original voice in Lyn Di Iorio’s Outside the Bones will take you for a ride you will not soon forget. Reviewed by Peter Grandbois

The Lighthouse Road
Peter Geye
Geye’s second novel follows the difficult lives of mother-and-son Norwegian immigrants in early 20th century America. Reviewed by Amy Henry

Reviews: Drama

Soul of a Whore and Purvis
Denis Johnson
Johnson’s latest foray into playwriting involves a return to his first love, poetry. Reviewed by Robert Martin

Reviews: Comics

True Swamp: Choose Your Poison
Jon Lewis
True Swamp follows the adventures of Lenny the Frog, a good-hearted but prickly slacker of a type familiar from many ’90s pop-culture products. Reviewed by John Pistelli

Birdseye Bristoe
Dan Zettwoch
Zettwoch’s graphic storytelling lies in his affection for his bizarre characters. Reviewed by David Kennedy-Logan

Rain Taxi Online Edition, Winter 2012/2013 | © Rain Taxi, Inc. 2012/2013