Tag Archives: Winter 2021

On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint

Maggie Nelson Graywolf Press ($27) by Christina Schmid Maggie Nelson’s latest book, On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint, takes readers into the messy middle between liberation and obligation, where stories of damage and desire, complete with an ever-evolving cast of victims and villains, wrongdoers and the wronged, abound. Throughout, Nelson invites us to […]

The Predatory Animal Ball

Jennifer Fliss Okay Donkey Press ($15) by Nick Hilbourn Jennifer Fliss’s new collection, The Predatory Animal Ball, carries an eerie sentiment, like an abandoned location at midnight. Inanimate things take on the agency that people once held, concentrating space around them, and if humans enter they’re obliged to conform to the objects’ laws. In “Mise […]

Eclogues in a Mustard Seed Garden

Glenn Mott Turtle Point Press ($18.95) by Simon Schuchat Eclogue, originally from the Greek, is a short poem on a pastoral subject. The Mustard Seed Garden is a Chinese painting manual from the 17th Century, explaining with model drawings the correct way to paint bamboo, plum blossoms, people, insects, and so on. How could these […]

Hanging Loose and Staying Young:
An Interview with Dick Lourie, Mark Pawlak, and Caroline Hagood

by Marina Chen Founded in 1966 by Robert Hershon, Emmett Jarrett, Dick Lourie, and Ron Schreiber, Hanging Loose Press has put hundreds of books and magazines into the world, much of it focused on emerging writers—including high school writers, regularly included in Hanging Loose magazine. The independent press that first published Sherman Alexie, Cathy Park […]

Carnival Lights

Chris Stark Modern History Press ($25.95) by Shannon Gibney An impressive work about family, survival, and what one character calls the “spiral” of all stories, Chris Stark’s Carnival Lights is part novel, part Minnesota history, part spiritual tome, and part brutal account of white racial and sexual violence. Centering on several generations of one Ojibwe […]

Focal Point

Jenny Qi Steel Toe Books ($16) by Jessica Johnson The title of Jenny Qi’s Focal Point refers to a term in the lexicon of optics, the “point at which parallel waves converge and from which diverge.” Picture (with your phone or your mind) the diagram: straight lines traveling from a (convex) lens on the left […]

Reminded by the Instruments: David Tudor's Music

You Nakai Oxford University Press ($74) by Patrick James Dunagan While the piano and the organ may superficially appear similar (both do employ a keyboard), this is a misperception. The piano is a fundamentally percussion-based instrument, whereas in terms of sound functionality, the organ aligns with the family of wind instruments. There are no hammers […]

The Essential Muriel Rukeyser: Poems

Muriel Rukeyeser Selected by Natasha Trethewey Ecco ($16.99) By Warren Woessner In selecting 75 poems from Muriel Rukeyser’s prodigious body of work, former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey took on a daunting task. Rukeyser was born in 1913 and died in 1980, one year after her collected poems was published. She was an active journalist […]

The Last Twist of the Knife

João Almino Translated from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Lowe Dalkey Archive Press ($14.95) by Douglas Messerli In this 2017 novel, translated by Elizabeth Lowe into English as The Last Twist of the Knife, Brazilian writer João Almino establishes a series of difficult hurdles for himself, almost as if purposely creating nearly impossible, Oulipo-like challenges. The […]