Reviews

There is a war. There is a Neighbor.

A review of 'Neighbor'

In Rachel Levitsky’s Neighbor, there is a baby born and being born, there is an apartment, there is a fire escape, there is a creaking floor, there are levels, there is a nation. There is a war. There are lovers, and there is the neighbor, who is sometimes a lover, sometimes noisy, sometimes screaming, and always intimate.

'What kind of poem would you make out of that?'

A review of 'Coal Mountain Elementary'

“What do you think are some of the costs associated with mining coal?” This quote from the American Coal Foundation appears in Mark Nowak’s Coal Mountain Elementary, which I happened to read in the days following the Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010. Reading the book during the worst environmental disaster in US history, I couldn’t help but also ask: What are some of the costs associated with offshore oil drilling? For that matter, what are the costs associated with any industry?

A sense interfused

Refiguring the work of ecopoetics

Maybe it’s time for poets to come to terms with the fact that when it comes to the environment, poetry is part of the problem. Poetry may even be the root of the problem: it’s a Romantic rhetoric of the sublime that makes nature into something eternal, infinite, divine, and separate from humans. For a famous example — and I’ll come back to it later — a few lines from Wordsworth’s 1798 “Tintern Abbey”: