Apr/May 2012

e c l e c t i c a   r e v i e w s  & 
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...

GRANTA 118: Exit Strategies
by John Freeman

I always thought that Douglas Adams's dolphins had the perfect exit line: "So long, and thanks for all the fish." But was that part of an exit strategy?

Waiting for Sunrise
by William Boyd

It is all quite entertaining, but I had a number of problems with this book. Perhaps most importantly, I did not warm to Lysander, who seemed to me to be a bit of a prat.

Nest: The Art of Birds
edited by Janine Burke

We humans are not, she suggests, the only animals to be artists.

Gilbert Wesley Purdy reviews...

Blank Verse: A Guide to its History and Use
by Robert B. Shaw

Some 30 years into the future, Pound would provide radio propaganda for the Axis powers in World War II, which, together with his virulent anti-Semitism, and racial bigotry, would make an inextricable mess out of his legacy. But during the early years of the century he was a wild-eyed thrift-shop London dandy replete with cape and cane and theories on how to write modern poetry. He had a reputation for being endlessly entertaining (inasmuch as one did not take him too seriously) and knowledgeable about the craft (inasmuch as one did).

Sky Burial
by Dana Levin

This and the next three poems (altogether the last four poems of the volume, that is to say) of the book, are stunning: among Levin’s best. Still fragmentary—and still frequently harsh, intrepid—her emotional presence makes the lines strangely lyrical.

Colleen Mondor reviews...

Writing the Garden and Queen Elizabeth in the Garden
by Elizabeth Barlow Rogers and Trea Martyn, respectively

The book manages to encompass aspects of love and deceit, joy and tragedy with a healthy dose of the expected court intrigue all while referencing letters and other historic documents that provide readers with intimate looks into how the two most celebrated gardens of their day were designed, maintained and altered.

Wild Unrest: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Making of "The Yellow Wall-Paper"
by Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz

From Walter's journal, we learn a doctor friend explained the near invalid status of his wife was apparently due to feelings that “her whole usefulness and real life was crushed out by her marriage and the care of the baby”. “Moral measures” were prescribed and while Dr. Knight sought gentle discussion, Walter feared that his wife’s misery was due to her female reproductive system, a “uterine irritation”. If only Charlotte could be cured of being a biological woman, then she would become a normal happy woman.

Elizabeth P. Glixman interviews...

Cheryl Strayed

I never write from an outline. Once I'm deeply into something, I often jot down notes about trajectory or what material I think I'd like to include, but I generally write more intuitively, following the story where it takes me. This isn't to say I write in one big stream-of-consciousness gush. I write, then revise, write and revise. Because of this my first drafts tend to be pretty polished, though there's still lots of work to be done. But I don't write in any structured way that involves advanced planning. One of the most important scenes in Wild came to me only after I'd written a couple hundred pages of the book.