Book Review

On Matthew Baker’s The Sentence

The Sentence by Matthew Baker. Ann Arbor, MI: Dzanc Books, 2023. 140 pages or 1 page, depending on your definition of a page. $31.95. (Accordion edition.) —. Berlin, GER: Round Not Square, 2023. 1 page. €170. (Scroll edition.) Matthew Baker’s The Sentence is a gripping graphic novel – if you put the emphasis on graph,...

Book Review: Unswerving

Unswerving by Barbara Ridley. Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2024. 227 pages. $19.95. Paperback. Barbara Ridley’s novel Unswerving is a journey through perseverance and the importance of community. Tave, a delightfully judgmental character, is introduced as a bitter young woman who recently broke her neck in a car accident, losing her ability to...

Book Review: Minor Prophets

Minor Prophets by Blair Hurley. Ig Publishing, 2023. 286 pages. $17.95, paperback.  Minor Prophets, the exciting second novel of accomplished author Blair Hurley, is one of the best books I’ve read all year.   The novel tells the story of Nora, the former child-mouthpiece of a Pentecostal, doomsday-prepping cult led by her father in Michigan’s Upper...

On Sara Moore Wagner’s Swan Wife

Swan Wife by Sara Moore Wagner. San Diego, CA: Cider Press Review, 2022. 88 pages. $18.95. Paper. A book of poetry that simultaneously frightens and beguiles is a rare treasure; and Swan Wife, by Sara Moore Wagner, does precisely that. These original poems are often startling in their fearlessness and beauty. Each piece resonates with the astounding...

Book Review: Magic for Martians: 49 Short Fictions

Magic for Martians: 49 Short Fictions by A. W. DeAnnuntis. Los Angeles, CA: Giant Claw, an imprint of What Books Press, 2022. 182 pages. $16.95, Paperback.  From the first sentences of Magic for Martians, a particularly satisfying combination of personality traits shine through; this collection is delightfully strange, fresh, and, somehow, each piece of fanciful...

On Renia White’s Casual Conversation

Casual Conversation by Renia White. Rochester, NY: BOA Editions, Ltd. 2022. 80 pages. $17.00. Paperback. Although I usually don’t have much patience for poetic metaphysics, the abstraction common in Casual Conversation didn’t keep me from effortlessly gliding from poem to poem. I can recall very few collections I’ve enjoyed that passed through the same zip code as...

On Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s Friday Black

Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. New York, NY. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 2018. 192 pages. $14.99. Paperback. Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s Friday Black contains no shortage of absurd realities, and yet not one of them feels distant from our own. The stories in this collection are ultra-violent. Their characters are either on the brink, in the commission,...

On Dustin Pearson’s A Season in Hell with Rimbaud

A Season in Hell with Rimbaud by Dustin Pearson. Rochester, NY. BOA Editions, Ltd. 2022. 96 pages. $17.00. Paperback. Dustin Pearson’s collection A Season in Hell with Rimbaud finds itself in conversation with Rimbaud and influenced by Dante as the speaker goes on a Dantean journey through Hell in search of his brother. Despite the influence of tradition...

Book Review: Our Wives Under The Sea

Our Wives Under The Sea by Julia Armfield. Flatiron Books, 2022. 240 pages. $16.73, paperback. Our Wives Under The Sea is the lesbian ocean horror book I didn’t know I needed. Julia Armfield’s brilliant debut novel centers around the relationship between Miri and her wife Leah, after Leah returns from a six month deep sea...

Review: Poetry Unbound: 50 Poems to Open Your World by Pádraig Ó’Tuama

Poetry Unbound: 50 Poem to Open Your World by Pádraig Ó’Tuama. W.W. Norton & Company. 384 pages. $22.99, hardcover. On Being Studio’s podcast Poetry Unbound, hosted by Pádraig Ó’Tuama and first broadcast early in 2020, sets a high bar for all poetry media. It is gently-voiced, ceaselessly generous in its readings, and effortlessly vulnerable. Ó’Tuama’s...

Poetry Review: The Pact by Jennifer Militello

The Pact by Jennifer Militello. North Adams, Massachusetts: Tupelo Press, 021. 80 pages. $19.95, print.  The Pact by Jennifer Militello is a fantastic collection of poems tackling provocative themes: complex relationships, places of vulnerability, love, and danger. The cliché of never judging a book by its cover does not apply here—a Venus flytrap on a black backdrop furthers this essence of hunger or longing in this collection but...

Poetry Review: Chopping Wood in the Moonlight by Ken Letko

Chopping Wood in the Moonlight by Ken Letko. Flowstone Press. 2021. 33 Pages. Paperback.  Chopping Wood in the Moonlight is Ken Letko’s tribute to nature and simple living. In these tightly crafted poems, the author utilizes his years of traveling and collected wisdom to celebrate a life lived authentically. In the title poem, Letko invokes the ancient Chinese...