Tag Archives: Fall 2020

The Marquis de Sade and the Avant-Garde

Alyce Mahon Princeton University Press ($45) by Penelope Rosemont The Marquis de Sade is “one of history’s most reviled men, branded a pervert, a pornographer, a corruptor of virtue, and a madman,” as sex expert L.T. Woodward, M.D., puts it in his 1964 introduction to the first U.S. publication of Sade’s 1791 novel Justine, or […]

A Little History of Poetry

John Carey Yale University Press ($25) by James P. Lenfestey John Carey, a retired Oxford don, tells this “Little History of Poetry” like your pipe-smoking uncle in an easy chair by the fire, with a wink of delighted eros. Or like a benevolent naturalist walking you through the woods pointing out all the plants and […]

The More Extravagant Feast

Leah Naomi Green Graywolf Press ($15.99) by Todd Davis How to speak of the self when the self, as Whitman proclaimed, contains multitudes? How to conceive of a self as part of another being, literally co-dependent, not able to exist without the other? The Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh explains that “interbeing” is the idea […]

Pandemic Reflections on
Houseboat on the Ganges
& A Room in Kathmandu

Letters from India & Nepal, 1966-1972 Marilyn Stablein Chin Music Press ($16.95) by Gregory Stephenson Many readers in quarantine mode may be yearning for books that offer armchair traveling. One such title is Marilyn Stablien’s 2019 Houseboat on the Ganges & A Room in Kathmandu: Letters from India & Nepal, 1966-1972. Hand-painted paper fans and […]

All The Useless Things Are Mine:
A Book of Seventeens

Thomas Walton Sagging Meniscus Press ($17) by Eric Vasquéz All the Useless Things are Mine is an odd little book by poet/prose writer Thomas Walton. It is a book of seventeen-word sentences that lean at times toward aphorism, and at others toward stand-up comedy. The book is sometimes strictly aphoristic: “The whole world, really, is […]


César Aira translated by Katherine Silver New Directions ($13.95) by Ethan Spangler Artforum, the newest work by César Aira to be published in the U.S., is one of the most fascinating experiences in modern literature. A novel that synthesizes surrealism, pseudo-memoir, philosophy, and theater into the compact space of eighty-two pages, it somehow still retains […]

Norma Jeane Baker of Troy

Anne Carson New Directions ($11.95) by S. T. Brant Norma Jeane Baker of Troy, the new poem-play by Anne Carson, is a formidable, defiant work. Those familiar with Carson’s work are accustomed to her accessible impenetrability—that sense that despite detecting some perfectly intelligible emotion, complete in itself, there’s always something lingering at the periphery. This […]

God’s Wife

Amanda Michalopoulou Translated by Patricia Felisa Barbeito Dalkey Archive Press ($16.95) by Maria Hadjipolycarpou Amanda Michalopoulou’s God’s Wife, originally published in Greek in 2014 and translated by Patricia Felisa Barbeito in 2019, masterfully weaves together overlapping narratives about divinity and humanity. The main character is on a journey of individuation and self-actualization, sharing her story […]