Reviews

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
GR2 logo exclusive

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
GR2 logo exclusive

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

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