Reviews

Gelmaning on

A review of 'Oxen Rage (Cólera buey)'

Photo of Juan Gelman (right) courtesy of Gianluca Battista, 2011.

Remarkably few volumes of poetry by Juan Gelman have been translated into English. This is perhaps because of the unique challenges inherent in translating his work, known for its neologisms, playful and musical language, and political exploitation of ambiguity — Gelman once wrote to his translator, Lisa Rose Bradford, “To be sure is a sickness of our times.

Remarkably few volumes of poetry by Juan Gelman have been translated into English.

Nostos — returning home to the self

A review of erica lewis's 'daryl hall is my boyfriend'

After reading erica lewis’s latest poetry collection daryl hall is my boyfriend, a collaboration that later became the first book in a box set trilogy, I felt as if I’d returned an epic hero who found a way back home to selfhood/personhood via a sea of layered memories, triggered by songs that change “even in the remembering.”[1] Stirring up an accessible feeling of Odyssean nostos, or the journey home, lewis prefaces her collection with “this is an album about re-ordering the past”; anyone with room for nostalgia is invited to join the poet on memory’s dance floor.

On gossamer wings

A review of 'A Field Guide to Lost Things'

Are they of the past, by the past, and for the past? This might be a way of evaluating the later-than-life productions of Marcel Proust. Thus there may be something to say for Peter Jaeger’s A Field Guide to Lost Things even though it is not one of Proust’s best.

Living fire and flattered lyre

On Erica Mena and Robert Fernandez

In Featherbone and Pink Reef, poets Erica Mena and Robert Fernandez make an argument for poetry’s somatic effects. These two books are very different, but they share a spell-casting potency and embrace the power of language not just to denote the world, but to act, vividly and terribly, within it.

Labor of we

Layers and alliance in Kenji Liu's 'Map of an Onion'

Photo of Kenji Liu (right) by Margarita Corporan.

Kenji Liu’s debut poetry collection does not start quietly; rather, it breaks into the world, denouncing the United States’ attempted erasure of migrants through legalese that alienates non-English-speaking people. The collection begins with the birth of the speaker in Kyoto, Japan, and spends layer upon layer puzzling the violences that the colonial center wreaks against the periphery. Liu’s overarching metaphor for intersectionality and assemblage of identities is the onion without a full and “real” center.