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Jul/Aug 2017

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Reviews & Interviews


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

Ann Skea reviews...
 

The Walworth Beauty
by Michele Roberts

Joseph, with his prurient imagination, gets involved with his subject, and his first meeting with Mrs. Dulcimer, who runs a house for fallen women, is full of misunderstandings on his and her side, and on the part of the reader. Only later in the book does this become clear, but until that time Joseph appears to be a rather unpleasant character full of the usual Victorian male-chauvinistic attitudes towards women.
 

The House of Names
by Colm Toibin

In the Ancient Greek myths about Orestes, family relationships are interwoven and complex, and the gods are heavily involved. In House of Names, Colm Toibin avoids these complexities by focusing only on Orestes' immediate family, which is probably a blessing for those unfamiliar with the ancient myths. And he dispenses with the gods almost completely.
 

The Essential Paradise Lost
by John Carey

As can be seen from this example, one of the delights of Carey's "Introduction," as well as of his footnotes, the summaries he offers for the parts of the poem he has chosen to omit, and of his discussion of the poem at the end of the book, is his wry sense of humor. He clearly loves and admires Milton's great work, but that does not stop him from occasionally mocking Milton's vision.
 

The Lost Pages
by Marija Pericic

Whether Franz Kafka and Max Brod were anything like their namesakes as depicted in The Lost Pages is impossible to tell, but Marija Pericic's extensive research suggests to her that Kafka was far less bleak a character than is usually supposed, and that Brod, who was born with a physical disability, may well have resented Kafka's success when it began to eclipse his own.
 

Jennifer Finstrom reviews...
 

Wings of Smoke
by Jim Pascual Agustin

Every reader, of course, brings different experiences to the words that they encounter, and when I saw the title of "Do Millipede's Bleed?" I shuddered a bit. Millipedes aren't my favorite arthropod, and I read the poem with a little trepidation.
 

Activities of Daily Living
by Larry O. Dean

"Sometimes your mind is your friend / and other times it's a mean, big sibling" ("Cancer"), "Someone who likes you may not / like the other people who like you" ("Taurus"), and "Confess your big wishes first—why / waste time on the little ones?" (Aries"). These are arguably helpful sound bites! And I may find myself reading my horoscope in the future with more of an eye toward how it would look as a poem.
 

Gilbert Wesley Purdy reviews...
 

Zero Visibility
by Grzegorz Wróblewski, translated by Piotr Gwiazda
 
Surely he also realizes that, for all he might wish to pass it off as merely the theme of his book, a thing that does not reflect his own emotional state, the mortality infuses every aspect of most of these poems including the craft. It comes up through the roots, as it were. Fundamentally, the persona and the person are one.
 

 

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