Reviews

on Horizon by Barry Lopez

on Horizon by Barry Lopez

“It’s good to know where you come from, so that you do not live as though you’re lost,” Barry Lopez writes about halfway through Horizon, his first full-length work of nonfiction since he cast his careful gaze on the far north in Arctic Dreams thirty-three years ago. . . .

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on All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung

on All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung

Nicole Chung’s debut memoir, All You Can Ever Know, confronts the difficulties Chung encountered growing up as an adopted Korean daughter in a predominantly white southern Oregon town. The book also chronicles her search as an adult for her biological family. 

Chung resists the thought of the adoption story she grew up hearing being all she could ever know about her history. . . .

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They, Too, Sang America: Visual Artists’ Harlem Renaissance

They, Too, Sang America: Visual Artists’ Harlem Renaissance

In 2018, Ohio’s state capital hosted a citywide festival commemorating the Harlem Renaissance. Scholars and historians participated in forums on the movement’s impact. Spoken-word and mixed-media artists local to Ohio or from Harlem gave performances, and the Columbus Museum of Art mounted a centenary retrospective. I, Too, Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100 gave visual artists from the Harlem Renaissance as well as their immediate successors the kind of close reading the period’s literary artists had long enjoyed. . . .

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on Fossils in the Making by Kristin George Bagdanov

on Fossils in the Making by Kristin George Bagdanov

Kristin George Bagdanov’s debut collection ponders questions of ecology and the body, or what she calls the “world as it uncreates / itself: creature / of its own making.” Ontological quandaries of being, consuming, and having all appear alongside trash gyres, fossil fuels, and food chains; a contrapuntal poem and an internal acrostic accompany lyric poems about birth and toxic chemicals. . . .

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The Ways People Live

The Ways People Live

Long ago, I took a workshop with a moderately well-known American poet. When we met in the student union for the half-hour conference I ’d paid extra for, he was visibly annoyed because he couldn’t smoke. For several minutes he shuffled silently through my poems, which were mostly slightly arcane explorations of living in a small Midwestern town and raising children, . . .

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on A Carnival of Losses: Notes Nearing Ninety by Donald Hall

on A Carnival of Losses: Notes Nearing Ninety by Donald Hall

“Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.” These words, delightful in their oxymoronic truth, were reportedly spoken by the English actor Edmund Kean (1789–1833) on his deathbed. Though variously attributed to comedians and Hollywood actors over many years, this adage could easily have been spoken by Donald Hall. When he died on 23 June 2018, . . .

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on The Book of the Dead by Muriel Rukeyser

on The Book of the Dead by Muriel Rukeyser

Admirers of Muriel Rukeyser have been waiting for a reprint of The Book of the Dead, long out of print, and West Virginia University Press’s new edition does not disappoint. Of course, it’s exciting to have Rukeyser’s seminal hybrid poetic work of social justice in its own affordable softcover volume (with French flaps!), . . .

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on Brass by Xhenet Aliu

on Brass by Xhenet Aliu

When I described Xhenet Aliu’s Brass to a friend as a story about a teenage girl’s complicated relationship with her single mother, she said, “I’m not really a fan of mother-daughter stories.” We parted ways soon after, and I walked the three blocks to my apartment reflecting on my friend’s quick dismissal, . . .

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