Summer 2022

Check back as we add more features and reviews in the next months!


Kenward Elmslie
Kenward Elmslie was a lyricist, librettist, poet, novelist, playwright, composer, performer, collage artist, and publisher. He left us more than forty books, chapbooks, and sheet music publications. He also left behind countless long-time readers, admirers, and friends—we at Rain Taxi among them. In this memorial essay, one of his stalwart publishers offers a personal history and this advice: Seek out his work. By W. C. Bamberger


The Poetics of Techno-Existentialism: An Interview with Steven D. Schroeder
Steven D. Schroeder discusses how his new poetry collection, Wikipedia Apocalyptica, investigates the complicated techno-existentialism of our contemporary Western life.  Interviewed by Kenneth J. Pruitt

Translation in Motion: A Conversation with Suzanne Jill Levine
Suzanne Jill Levine has had the vision and bravado to become a protagonist in the story of Latin American literature in English translation, and to change it in the process—not only publishing biographies and translations, but also creating a mashup of autobiography and scholarship that’s totally original. Interviewed by Erik Noonan

Fiction Reviews:

The Child
Kjersti A. Skomsvold 
In The Child, Kjersti A. Skomsvold exposes us to a luminous, impassioned chronicle in which the tragedies and ecstasies of motherhood will trample and simultaneously renew the heart of the reader with unbridled force. Reviewed by J. Ahana-Laba

My Days of Dark Green Euphoria
A.E. Copenhaver
With humor, a sharp voice, and a cutting empathy, A.E. Copenhaver’s Siskiyou Prize-winning novel follows an environmentalist as she comes to terms with being alive in an increasingly broken world. Reviewed by Garin Cycholl

Sean Thor Conroe
The unrelenting style of Sean Thor Conroe’s provocative debut novel, which relies heavily on slang, contemporary references, and a text- or tweet-like cadence, can be both tiring and refreshing—and introduces an ambiguity into the text, the very title of which seems to invite controversy. Reviewed by Bryan Counter

How to Order the Universe
María José Ferrada, trans. Elizabeth Bryer
María José Ferrada’s debut novel unfolds like a litany of palpable sonnets as it follows eight-year-old protagonist M and her father, D, who have teamed up as traveling salespeople in 1970s Chile. Reviewed by Bethany Catlin

Joy Williams
Joy Williams’s writing is famed for being electric on the sentence level, and language itself is often the object of focus in her new novel Harrow, the tale of a lost Lamb in a ravaged country. Reviewed by David Peak

Poetry Reviews:

Pamela Uschuk
The poems in Refugee, the latest book by Pamela Uschuk, render a world where individual action holds value and every life matters, with the stakes high on all fronts: “The mountains are burning and we cannot sleep.” Reviewed by Tara Ballard

Concrete Poetry: A 21st Century Anthology
Edited by Nancy Perloff

Concrete Poetry has been getting critical attention since the appearance of several anthologies some sixty years ago, but Nancy Perloff examines its stars more closely in her new anthology. Reviewed by Richard Kostelanetz 

The Year the City Emptied
Daisy Fried
Baudelaire’s poems call on Daisy Fried to bring them into her own tongue in The Year the City Emptied, a first-class practicum in poetic assimilation from one language and time into another. Reviewed by Patrick James Dunagan

I Hope This Finds You Well
Kate Baer

In response to ugly responses to her Instagram blog, Kate Baer turned them into poems, erasing the negativity until hope bloomed on the page.  Reviewed by Nancy Beauregard

Nonfiction Reviews:

The Bloomsbury Group Revisited
Frances Spalding; Wendy Hitchmough
Two recent books rejuvenate the legacy of the Bloomsbury Group men and women who, even though they did not consider themselves an official organization, ushered in new waves of artistic expression. Reviewed by Rasoul Sorkhabi

Refuse to Be Done
Matt Bell
All writers, whether first-time or experienced, will benefit from reading Matt Bell’s Refuse to Be Done, a novel-writing guide destined to join the upper echelons of the pantheon of craft books. Reviewed by Matthew Duffus

Witchcraft. The Library of Esoterica
Edited by Jessica Hundley and Pam Grossman
What makes a witch a witch, and what is witchcraft for? These are among the central questions explored in the lavishly illustrated Witchcraft, the latest release in Taschen’s Library of Esoterica series. Reviewed by Patrick James Dunagan

When Women Kill: Four Crimes Retold
Alia Trabucco Zerán
In propulsive prose impeccably translated by Sophie Hughes, Alia Trabucco Zerán focuses on four murderers from Chilean history and makes an unconventional argument: that “remembering ‘bad’ women is also a task of feminism.” Reviewed by Henry Hietala

Recollections of Tartar Steppes and Their Inhabitants
Lucy Atkinson
In the annals of travel and travel writing, few adventurers have been as intrepid as Lucy Atkinson—yet she has been largely forgotten. Thankfully, a new edition of her engaging and effervescent 1863 memoir provides a richly detailed account of her life and travels. Reviewed by Timothy Walsh

The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting
Evanna Lynch

The former “Harry Potter” actor tells her story on her own terms, and in describing her struggles with disordered eating, displays how one's inner voice can control both contempt and celebration of the body. Reviewed by Lindsey Jodts

A Constellation of Ghosts
Laraine Herring

Depicting a journey of mythical, shamanic proportions, Laraine Herring's A Constellation of Ghosts: A Speculative Memoir with Ravens poses a key question: How do we comprehend life when faced with death? Reviewed by Kelly Lydick

Young Adult Fiction Reviews:

How Do You Live?
Genzaburō Yoshino, trans. Bruno Navasky
Originally published in Japan in 1937, How Do You Live? was part of a conscious effort to steer children toward a more humanistic way of thinking and away from propaganda. One of the many students who read How Do You Live? was now-revered anime auteur Hayao Miyazaki, who has come out of retirement at age 81 to create a new film based on the book. Reviewed by John Colburn and Aki Shibata

Multi-Genre Reviews:

damn near might still be is what it is
marcus scott williams
Often reading like a gifted bohemian’s travel diary, the sparkling, near-poetic prose in this collection comes across as the result of happy accidents instead of deliberate intention. Reviewed by Steve Roberts

Her Read: A Graphic Poem
Jennifer Sperry Steinorth
In her book-length erasure of Herbert Read’s The Meaning of Art, Jennifer Sperry Steinorth tropes the very idea of “erasure” in reclaiming womxn’s representation and participation in art, clearing spaces for hope, joy, and the real work of living in and with pain. Reviewed by Joel Turnipseed