Reviews

New South new North

A review of 'América Invertida: An Anthology of Emerging Uruguayan Poets'

Right: Joaquín Torres-García, Uruguayan artist whose work originated the term “America Invertida,” in 1903. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

It is common that, when speaking about Uruguay and its culture outside the country, the name of Joaquín Torres-García — Uruguay’s most notorious visual artist — pops up, and now, after MoMA’s 2015 retrospective consecration, perhaps even more so. Here, for instance, it is found in the title of the anthology.

Curnow's reach

Allen Curnow's 'Collected Poems' and Terry Sturm's 'Simply by Sailing in a New Direction'

Allen Curnow (1911­–2001) was a dominant force in New Zealand letters and became an internationally acclaimed poet, anthologist, and critic.[1] Together, the 2017 Auckland University Press poems and biography provide a substantial (1120-page!) recognition of his achievement. Let me offer what follows as a kind of searching tribute.

Unfurling futurity

A review of 'Further Problems with Pleasure'

Photo of Sandra Simonds (right) by Kira Derryberry.

Perhaps the highest praise I can say about Sandra Simonds’s Further Problems With Pleasure is that it gains deeper resonance on rereading in ways that can seduce me off of Facebook, get me off an ideological high horse (an occupational hazard), and make me want to respond in kind rather than trying to write a review that will inevitably water down the book’s intensities.

Against erasure

The silent citizen remembers in Alejandro Zambra's 'Multiple Choice'

Photo of Alejandro Zambra (right) by the Instituto Cervantes de Tokio, via Wikimedia Commons.

In Multiple Choice, Alejandro Zambra asks us to remember a lot of things: 

A)   A lost love

B)   A dead friend

C)   A sixty-five-year-old woman who lost a breast to cancer, and never forgot she was missing a breast

D)   A curfew imposed in Santiago, Chile, under Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship

Symptoms and sources

A review of Lauren Levin's 'Justice Piece // Transmission'

Lauren Levin’s second book, Justice Piece // Transmission, is comprised of two essayistic poems that continually untangle and reconstruct the web of contradictions that shape the speaker’s ever-complex, and always self-questioning, inner narrative. 

Lauren Levin’s second book, Justice Piece // Transmission, is comprised of two essayistic poems that continually untangle and reconstruct the web of contradictions that shape the speaker’s ever-complex, and always self-questioning, inner narrative. In both pieces, Levin traces anxiety back and forth from its source: the social, material fabric that challenges any “total” understanding of what it means to be a person — a queer person — and a queer gender-fluid person — in the world right now.