Reviews

The title of poet Marcelo Hernandez Castillo’s memoir about intergenerational migration derives from mythical insects that are said to inhabit the mountains of Mexico, tiny creatures with incandescent bodies and the faces of children. In Castillo’s telling, los Niños de la Tierra crawl across the rocky terrain, always gazing skyward; if a human were to […]

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From the Summer 2020 Issue

Jay Wright’s new collection, The Prime Anniversary, begins with a wedding song for the lost. Borrowing from the Sapphic fragment ὦ καλή, ὦ χαρίεσσα (“o beautiful, o graceful”), its epigraph apostrophizes absence and begins a ceremony whose actors wait in the wings. Through the course of the work, the object of address becomes a variable […]

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From the Summer 2020 Issue

Andrew Zawacki’s latest poetry collection, Unsun, refracts recurring interests in sunlight and perception as a way of making visible our slow-going collective disaster. The nature of this disaster is manifold: the disaster of parenting in the midst of climate collapse; the disaster of human imagination—how our tools and machinery (both technical and philosophical) have exquisitely […]

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From the Summer 2020 Issue

Jeanette Winterson’s new novel, Frankissstein, is a lively homage to the biotechnological future first made thinkable in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It is one in a long series of remakes and commentaries that equate “Frankenstein” with biotechnological developments such as cloning, AI, GMO, and sex-change surgery, at times to marvel at human ingenuity, more often to […]

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From the Summer 2020 Issue

When characterizing the fiction of Ivan Turgenev in a review of Constance Garnett’s translation of The Two Friends and Other Stories for The Times Literary Supplement in December 1921, Virginia Woolf—as consummate a critic as she was a novelist—describes a scene in which people sit around “talking gently, sadly, charmingly,” but notes that Turgenev provides […]

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From the Summer 2020 Issue

Jesse Ball’s 2018 novel Census at first seems determined to use the title’s subject—an official count of the citizens throughout an unnamed land—as mere background. Ball’s nameless narrator works as a census taker, but feels little urgency about the task, approaching it half-heartedly, without the passion we might expect from the protagonist of a dystopian […]

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From the Spring 2020 Issue

Opposite the title page of Sarah Gambito’s third book, Loves You, is printed a black-and-white photo, circa 1985, I ’d guess. Eight people, mostly women, are perched on seats or stand around in a living room, balancing plates of food in hand. Those closest ones to the camera look straight down at their plates, eating and […]

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From the Spring 2020 Issue

Leslie Jamison has established herself as one of the most eloquent contemporary writers of the personal essay. Make It Scream, Make It Burn, her latest book, investigates the ethical difficulties of the relationship between writer and subject. While Jamison’s explicit reflections on these complexities remain within territory already mapped by essayists such as Joan Didion […]

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From the Spring 2020 Issue

In the Lateness of World, Carolyn Forché’s first poetry volume to appear in almost two decades, derives its title from line fourteen of Robert Duncan’s “Poetry, a Natural Thing.” Denise Levertov, some of whose finest poems vigorously protested U.S. intervention in Vietnam, said of Forché’s second collection, The Country Between Us (1981), “there is no […]

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From the Spring 2020 Issue

As an expression of local, state, and regional inequities, environmental racism is a feedback loop of enhanced health risks, restricted job opportunities, diminished educational success, and negative social relations for certain populations due to zoning policies, industrial interests, and business/governmental collaborations that calibrate profits and revenue streams in relation to potential legal and political complications. […]

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From the Spring 2020 Issue

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