Reviews

The visions and worlds of Hagiwara Sakutaro

Photo of Hagiwara Sakutaro (right) from Wikimedia Commons.

You may smash a fly but the fly’s “thing in itself” will not die. You’d simply have smashed the phenomenon called the fly. — Schopenhauer

So says the epigraph to Hagiwara Sakutaro’s “roman in the style of a prose poem,” Cat Town (1935) — in the eponymous volume which also includes his collections Howling at the Moon (1917) and Blue Cat (1923), as well as a selection of other poems.

'silence isn't always a trick'

Thomas Devaney's 'Calamity Jane'

Photo of Thomas Devaney (right) by David Kelley.

Thomas Devaney’s dedication for Calamity Jane, “A Solo Opera for Jeanine Oleson,” situates Calamity Jane — famous as a gunslinger, sidekick of Wild Bill Hickok, and heroine of dozens of dime novels[1] — more overtly in the realm of dramatic performance than in the realm of Western myth.

Curiosity and rarity

A review of Cynthia Cruz's 'Wunderkammer'

Photo of Cynthia Cruz (right) by Steven Page.

In her latest collection of poetry, Wunderkammer, Cynthia Cruz sets the stage for her readers with the first poem, Nebenwelt. In German, this term translates literally to “world next to/beside.” Paul Celan is given credit for coining the adjective nebenweltlich in his writing, using it to describe “a level of experience beside that posited as ‘real,’ namely a world of metaphorical transformation, specifically that of poetic language.”

The brain, a kaleidoscopic disco[1]

In her latest collection of poetry, Wunderkammer, Cynthia Cruz sets the stage for her readers with the first poem, Nebenwelt. In German, this term translates literally to “world next to/beside.” Paul Celan is given credit for coining the adjective nebenweltlich in his writing, using it to describe “a level of experience beside that posited as ‘real,’ namely a world of metaphorical transformation, specifically that of poetic language.”[2] The title Nebenwelt appears five times throughout this collection, as if to remind us that these poems enact an otherworldly landscape and a kind of diving into the unknown. Through the multivalent forces of Cruz’s language and metaphor, these poems transcend reality.

Poet in profile

The scar lit district of Jenny Zhang

The Year of the Ram is the year to celebrate the Black Sheep. Jenny Zhang is the New Girl fed up with the Old World crap sheet.

A vital territory

'Idylliad' by Elizabeth Savage

Deborah Poe: In Lyric Postmodernisms, Nathanial Mackey evokes Zukofsky’s lower limit of speech (or “check,” as Mackey refers to it) and upper limit of music in consideration of the lyric. Mackey writes:

Our recent turn toward promoting check over enchantment wants to forget lyric’setymology, as though the art might arrive at a point where there were no strings attached. But strings are always attached, even in the most thoroughgoing doubt or disenchantment.[1]

In Idylliad, Savage engages but inverts the lyric and pastoral, disrupting our expectations of those traditional modes. In doing so, she more deeply engages doubt and (dis)enchantment relative to ideas of property and territory as articulated through poverty and war (the strings).