This Week’s Reviews

Toxicon and Arachne
Joyelle McSweeney | Nightboat Books | 9781643620183 | April 2020
“I have always felt McSweeney’s lines, but never before have I outright wept at a poem—any poem—with such force, as if almost doubled-over with the poet’s own grief. ” —Poetry Foundation

Victoria Chang | Copper Canyon Press | 9781556595745 | April 2020
“A book of poems that arrive in waves of grief, tidal but truncated verse paragraphs.” —Los Angeles Review of Books

The Book of AnnaCarmen Boullosa, trans. Samantha Schnee | Coffee House Press | 9781566895774 | April 2020
“Readers of Tolstoy will recognize famous scenes from Anna Karenina, but Carmen Boullosa tips the notion of fiction on its head. Set on the eve of the Russian Revolution, The Book of Anna is told in a rich, unique style.” —Buzzfeed

Dance on Saturday
Elwin Cotman | Small Beer Press | 9781618731722 | June 2020
“Cotman wields biting wit, powerful emotion, and magic large and small throughout these six superlative stories. . . . Cotman’s bold and timely speculative fiction marks him as a writer to watch.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

Dispatches from the Republic of Letters
edit. Daniel Simon | Deep Vellum Publishing | 9781646050338 | October 2020
“A tribute and a testament to literature, and a reward for readers.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

Not Go Away Is My Name
Alberto Ríos | Copper Canyon Press | 9781556595875 | May 2020
“This work captures Ríos’s singular voice at its best.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

Who Will It Be
Paola Vitale, illus. Rossana Bossù | Blue Dot Kids Press | 9781733121200 | April 2020
“A good starting point for curious youngsters. . . . A beautifully illustrated introduction to the topic of evolution for elementary students.” —School Library Journal, starred review

Year of the Dog
Deborah Paredez | BOA Editions | 9781950774012 | April 2020
“Paredez has a gift for storytelling through form. This is an astonishing book.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

The Blue Absolute
Aaron Shurin | Nightboat Books | 9781643620169 | February 2020

The Blue Absolute has choreographic electricity that dances skin-to-skin and mingles senses in ways that would surely please Allen Ginsberg and other Beats who knew their Shakespeare, their Rabelais, and their Zen.” –The Rumpus

Luke Brown | And Other Stories | 9781911508588 | April 2020
“A caustically funny, scalpel-sharp satire about a young man trying to get ahead, and a foothold, in a rapidly changing London and a recently divided Britain. . . . Brown covers a lot of bases — property markets, sexual politics, youthful hedonism and the war of attrition that is Brexit — but at the heart of this bittersweet novel is a tender, perfectly realized human drama.” —Star Tribune

Tender Points
Amy Berkowitz | Nightboat Books | 9781643620282 | October 2019
“What Berkowitz offers us . . . is a radical tenderness: to be seen as we are, without the need of fixing, with full acknowledgment of the awfulness of it.”—Ecotheo Review

Bradley of Him
Connor Wilumsen | Koyama Press | 9781927668733 | November 2019
“Ultimately it’s not at all a book about Bradley Cooper. Cooper is a vessel that Willumsen uses to personify our perceptions of celebrity—how the identity of famous people exists in a shared space between reality, the audience and the media. In this way all the way through the book feels not like the central character’s experience, or an objective story of what happened to him as told through panels of story, but rather like the adrenaline rush of voyeurising a celebrity in real life.” –Broken Frontier

Eun-ju Kim, illus. Ji-won Lee, trans. Joungmin Lee Comfort | Scribe | 9781950354061 | April 2020
“Take a brightly colored look at plastic, starting with the story of bath toys set loose in the ocean. Even-handed and informative, the book details the many helpful uses of plastic, its damage to the environment, and the latest work in cleaning up, recycling, and reformulating plastics.” –Virginian-Pilot

Indecent Assembly : The North Carolina Legislature’s Blueprint for the War on Democracy and Equality
Gene R. Nichol | Blair | 9781949467277 | April 2020
Indecent Assembly is a true story of power, greed, and bigotry, and it might just make you sick to your stomach. Read it anyway. We all need to understand what we’re up against.” –BlueNC

Year of the Dog
Deborah Paredez | BOA Editions | 9781950774012 | April 2020
“Scattered across the collection are a series of idiom poems that reference parts of the body—the long arm of the law, mother tongue, about face, etc. ‘A Show of Hands’ emerges from this attempt to reveal the latent violence in our everyday language. My hope is that through the techniques of assemblage, recontextualization, litany and enjambment, the poem (along with others in the strewn series) perform a sense of dismemberment and reacquaint us with the physical and rhetorical consequences of unending war.”—Poetry Society

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