One might accept or reject the notion of a word as the beginning of things, but one cannot omit the transformation in word and through word that takes place on the pages of Big Ray, a novel by Michael Kimball. With the death of his father, the novel’s main character, Daniel, re-enters his father’s life, and there is something unsettling in the way he tries to grasp and then understand something that is not immediately defined. For example, Daniel seems to be obsessed with the date of his father’s death, which is unknown, since Big Ray lived alone,
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Every Possible Blue by Matthew Thorburn CW Books P.O. Box 541106, Cincinnati, OH 45254-1106 ISBN# 9781936370726, 80 pages, $18.
Review by Susana H. Case
In a way, Every Possible Blue, picked up as part of this year’s AWP stack with its eye-catching composite of blue art, porcelain and tile cover, is a perfect collection of poems for me, with its allusions to art and New York City life. As a New York poet married to a painter, I was particularly interested in what Thorburn had to say and how he would say it. If some of this is ekphrastic
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Upstaged by Jacques Jouet Dalkey Archive Press, 2011 96 pages
Review by Gabino Iglesias
Dalkey Archive Press’ French Literature Series had somehow slipped under my radar until recently. Luckily, a burgeoning obsession with the Benoît Duteurtre’s work lead me to the series and to my first foray into it: Jacques Jouet’s Upstaged. Since Dalkey Archive has a pronounced academic slant and never fails to put out interesting literature, I was expecting an entertaining read punctuated by an essay or commentary. That’s exactly what the book delivered.
Going Out to the People, a play written and directed by Marcel
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Miss Plastique by Lynn Levin Ragged Sky Press (May 2013) Paperback; ISBN 978-1-933974-12-5
Review by Michelle Moore
“I want to say one word to you. Just one word . . . plastics”—this line from 1968’s iconic film The Graduate spoke to a growing awareness of “plastic” as a metaphor for the phoniness and materialism of postmodern American culture. This metaphor may be on the decline, but the concerns it represents are even more relevant today, and the poems in Lynn Levin’s Miss Plastique, her newest collection, explore this tension between the authentic and artificial that now more than ever complicates
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The Cost of Living by Rob Roberge Other Voices Books, April 13, 2013. $16 Paperback ISBN: 978-1938604294 290 Pages
Review by Art Edwards
I approached The Cost of Living, Rob Roberge’s third novel and first with Other Voices Books, with the hope I approach any novel with a substantial rock and roll backdrop. As a rock novelist three times over, I’m always looking for reasons to get excited about this underrepresented genre. Every time I see a writer my age focusing his energies on some futuristic alternate reality, or domestic milieu, or bloodsucking tale with nary a Stratocaster in sight,
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I read David Foster Wallace’s collection of essays, Consider the Lobster, after finishing his A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never do Again and being so inspired I wrote a 12,000-word essay about Van Halen using its title story as a model. I greatly looked forward to Lobster to continue my nonfiction trek with Wallace. I’d finished Infinite Jest a few months after learning of DFW’s suicide, a book that lack of time and jealousy and maybe a little good sense necessitated skipping until then. I wrote two separate reviews of Infinite Jest for its fifteenth anniversary in 2011, where I
» Continue reading David Foster Wallace was Wrong: Why John Updike Mattered and Always Will by Art Edwards…
Review by edward j rathke Every poem I write starts with fucking or dying.
Gregory Sherl’s Monogamy Songs is a memoir masquerading as novel masquerading as collection of prosepoems or perhaps it is none of those things or perhaps all of them but in reverse. Perhaps it is the first mixtape in his soon to be announced rap career or a mixtape he made from the collected scribblings of a lonely and broken heart meant for friends or new lovers about former lovers. It is a constantly surprising and confounding read, so distinct, even from itself, that there is really
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Review by edward j rathke
I am not a fan of serial killer fiction or even, really, transgressive literature. I find that they tend to be done more for shock and the grotesque than for any larger purpose, be it critical or satirical or academic. And so, though I was excited for Seidlinger’s new novel, I had serious reservations, reservations that he quickly shattered by subverting all expectations and invigorating a topic I thought best left to documentarians and forensic psychologists.
My Pet Serial Killer is a psychological thriller as pickup game as college days romance as media study
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Review by Edward J. Rathke
We begin in the dust of the valleys, in the long days and the sounds of your generations, digging and constructing and fighting, the hollow slapping of their fists against the meat if the men they beat into the dust. The stray dogs that lapped their spilled blood, while flies hummed and flickered along their mangy skins, their bulged ribs.
So begins The Alligators of Abraham, the debut novel by Robert Kloss and his second release from MudLuscious Press, which is surely the coolest press of its size and kind. My favorite, anyway, and this
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Review by Sara Habein
This may sound like a superficial thing, but I really like the cutout on Shift‘s cover. The staple-bound chapbook has a thick cardstock cover with one third of a circle removed to reveal part of the title page. Shift implies both a change in consciousness and the literal duration of one’s work. Change and effort — Alyse Bensel’s poems occupy the contemplative spaces of employment.
Bensel is a former Word Riot contributor, and four of the poems in Shift — “Make Do and Make Mend,” “Pin-Up Girls,” “Saturday Night Reunion,” and “Two Years Until I See
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