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Jan/Feb 2012

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i n t e r v i e w s

Reviews & Interviews


(These are excerpts—click on the title to view the whole piece!)

 

Ann Skea reviews...

Private Journal of A Voyage to Australia
by James Bell
 
Somehow, at some time in the 150 years since then, that journal made its way back to England where it was found on a stall in a London street market, auctioned by Bonhams for A$22,000 to the State Library of South Australia, and returned to Adelaide. James Bell would have been amazed to know that what began for him as the fulfillment of a promise to a friend would end up being published, especially since he had stated plainly that "it must never be read by a third party."

Smut
by Alan Bennett
 
In this book, Bennett lets us look through the keyhole at a huge range of sexual antics, predilections, sexual fantasies and embarrassments. All of which happen to seemingly ordinary, upright (well, not always upright!), moral citizens. Whether readers find this prurient or not depends on their view of sex. Mostly, Bennett enjoys the contradictions between the way in which we humans present ourselves to the world and, often, to our partners, and the secret thrills, untapped desires and bizarre situations in which our sexual urges are likely (or unlikely) to embroil us.

GRANTA 117: Horror
edited by John Freeman
 
Sometimes, however, fact is weirder than fiction, like the crypto-gothic fight club in Los Angles which is visited by Daniel Alarcon—Cave Woman fights The Hammer, Arctic fights The Mad Monk, and rivers of fake blood flow across the floor so that your shoes stick to it.

 

Gilbert Wesley Purdy reviews...

Flies
by Michael Dickman
 
However much there can be differing opinions on the matter, it is difficult not to find in all of this an unusually attractive portrait. A decaying neighborhood produced wild-child poets, for once, instead of gang members or 24-hour store robbers. They were welcomed into a nuclear family of poets with warm and nurturing embraces, a ticket to a more sensitive world with extra virgin olive oil and friendly competitions to write poems with eight random words chosen by the mater familias.

 

Kimberly L. Becker reviews...

Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas
edited by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke
 
Sing is a timeless collection, where time is not linear but circular, joining elder and younger in unending song: "A thousand whiles.../ become part of the notion of forever" writes Simon Ortiz, while his daughter, Sara Marie Ortiz, invokes "the cord of memory."

 

Colleen Mondor reviews...

Unique and Intriguing Biographies
by various authors
 
Page by page, Krull travels around the world and through time, pointing out all sorts of oddities that have taken place on people's heads. There are wigs stiffened with beeswax in Egypt, a concoction including toasted mice to cure Julius Cesear's baldness (I'm thinking it didn't work), the invention of the "Marcel wave" in 1872 and Frida Kahlo's flower filled hair in Mexico (everything was an art form to Frida).

 

Zazen
by Vanessa Veselka
 
As the pages turn, she falls to pieces and because Veselka is so good at writing this collapse, because her not-quite Portland is a dead ringer for our own and her almost-America is dangerously similar as well, readers will not be able to look away.

 

Kimberly L. Becker interviews...

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke and Travis Hedge Coke
 
Home means a lot of things, none of which I give any thought to unless I'm made to. It doesn't really matter, does it? Either I'm in diaspora on a continent to which I am, at least in part, indigenous, or I belong everywhere and anywhere I roam because this is the Twenty-First Century and borders are as silly as comfort is paramount. Or, both of those options are BS.

 

Jonterri Gadson interviews...

Saeed Jones
 
I tend to think of my obsession before I actually find the right speaker for it. James Allen Hall said a while back to "write to your obsessions," and that's how so many poems happened. I walked around, mulling over uncomfortable but unavoidable ideas, and if I was lucky, I'd find a character in literature or nature that would be a great way for me to work that obsession out on the page.

 

Elizabeth P. Glixman interviews...

Paul Blezard
 
If we had a democratic global vote among all seven billion inhabitants of the planet for peace or war, surely the majority support for peace would be enormous. I certainly hope so. It is the inequality of lives that leads to conflict, rather than an absence of will for peace. And as for survival, it could and has been argued that peace is survival, that in any conflict someone pays a price, someone doesn't survive.

 

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