Reviews

Bhanu Kapil has had a long career of exquisite failures. I mean this, of course, in the best way. Her 2015 book of poetry/prose Ban en Banlieue begins with “13 Errors” in the author’s attempt at a semi-autobiographical novel. Schizophrene (2011) is, according to its introduction, the afterlife of a partially destroyed epic she penned […]

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January 21, 2021
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The cover image of Blood Weather: Poems, Alice Friman’s newest collection of poetry, is Memory, a 1948 surrealistic painting by the Belgian artist René Magritte. The painting’s foreground features a dark rose with thorns, a bell (or a bell-shaped shell), and the bust of a woman with closed eyes and a splotch of blood on […]

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December 11, 2020
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We are all, in this pandemic, a living elegy; there are loves, possibilities, selves, ways of life that are dead, a mobile mortality poets have always known and used their art to reckon with, fool around with, and renovate: enter ghosts, memories, and Wordsworthian “spots of time.” Enter Joshua Rivkin’s abashedly self-conscious and evocative, capacious […]

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From the Winter 2020 Issue

Grace Elizabeth Hale, a historian at the University of Virginia, is the author of Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890–1940 (1995) and A Nation of Outsiders: How the White Middle Class Fell in Love with Rebellion in Postwar America (2010). Hale herself grew up a member of the white middle class […]

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From the Winter 2020 Issue

How does one either narrate or deconstruct the story, and the crafting, of the “self” when the premises of narrative and of the existence of (human) being eclipse Black people by a paradigm underwritten by gratuitous violence? Put differently, how does one articulate the story of one’s self as a constant mode of absence? Frank […]

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From the Winter 2020 Issue

Stephanie Danler is from California. And like much of one dominant image of the state, her words are wet-haired, sandy, and moody beyond even her own sense of belief. After a decade away, spent out East, she returned to California at thirty-one. She had strayed far, to Kenyon College and then on to New York […]

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October 13, 2020
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At first, I didn’t recognize the girl’s elongated arm. The photo is cropped at the shoulder, and there is no visible face. But when I read the poem on the opposing page, I realized this was the outstretched arm of Phan Thi Kim Phúc, the naked, screaming, Vietnamese girl from an iconic photo that in […]

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September 22, 2020
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Who should tell the stories of people suffering under repressive political regimes such as the United States today? This may be one of the most fiercely debated questions of twenty-first-century literature. Defacing the Monument, Susan Briante’s newest book, which is part lyric essay, part criticism, part poetry—and, most surprisingly, part workbook—thinks through possible answers to […]

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From the Fall 2020 Issue

In her ground-breaking, best-selling book Writing a Woman’s Life (1988), feminist Carolyn G. Heilbrun describes four ways to write a woman’s life: autobiography, fiction, biography, and an unnamed way in which “the woman may write her own life in advance of living it, unconsciously, and without recognizing or naming the process.” Bringing insights from feminist […]

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From the Fall 2020 Issue

Throughout his life’s work, John Koethe has elegized a romantic sense of meaning, that is, an illusory if highly desirous union with the larger universe. As we see throughout Walking Backwards, a collection spanning fifty years, his poems often alternate between a highly textured, near-nostalgic portrait of himself as a young man when he enjoyed […]

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From the Fall 2020 Issue

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