Reviews

One foot in the real, one wing in the ether

A review of Julia Cohen's 'Collateral Light'

Photo © Paige Taggart

“I believe only in the evidence of what stirs my marrow,” Antonin Artaud writes in his “Manifesto in a Clear Language.” “I am visceral!” cries Julia Cohen in Collateral Light. There is evidence to believe it. To engage with this book is to be involved in the marrow-stirring process. To be plunged, arrow-like, into the breathing body and to pass clear through the bloody flank to the still, white bone.

Cutting through its own knife

On Brandon Downing's 'Mellow Actions'

Brandon Downing’s Mellow Actions is the latest installment in a body of work notable for its batsoid consistency across realms as diverse as film, collage, and verse. It’s the wish of this reviewer to induce in the reader a sort of psychical readiness to enjoy this book, much like Iannis Xenakis’s miniature zoom-crackle composition “Concret PH” was designed to gird the nerves of picnicking spectators in preparation for Edgard Varèse’s “Poème Électronique” at the 1958 Phillips Pavilion.

Denial is political

A review of Julie Carr's 'Rag'

I doubt “to be on the rag” existed as an expression or possibility before Eve and her husband trudged out of paradise into a world where the sky was lowered like a boom and the suburbs sodden with guilt and lust. The American King James Version lends God an especially cruel voice: “To the woman he said, I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in sorrow you shall bring forth children; and your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you.”[1] And along with that, I imagine, came menstrual cramps.

On Lawrence Giffin's 'Christian Name'

Lawrence Giffin’s Christian Name is a tricky book because it’s the kind of book that seems to do one thing and then actually does another.

Navigating the ineffable

A review of Prageeta Sharma's 'Undergloom'

What happens to the woman of color body as it endures the banal repression of the academy? And if it aches to be itself without pressure to conform and meet assumed burdens to produce, publish, and exhaust itself to ‘fit’ while concurrently losing itself? Undergloom by Prageeta Sharma explores the thingification of the woman scholar and the way her mind must adapt to a tepid environment.