An identity in relation

Anne Tardos on absence

Grief is the most deeply personal condition, and yet it is also the most universal, extending even beyond human experience to the animal kingdom. To write out of grief is equally to find a way out of it. In the curious case of Anne Tardos’s I Am You, it is also to affirm loss as foundational, or rather to affirm that there is no foundation, to affirm that the removal of the other by whom one’s life has been shaped and sustained reveals an emptiness at the very root of existence.

Registers of breath: On origins and concession

A review of 'The Concession Stand: Exaptation at the Margins'

Several pages into her new book The Concession Stand: Exaptation at the Margins, Arpine Konyalian Grenier refers to William Bronk’s Life Supports (1981) and Manifest; And Furthermore (1987). Given the flood of information with which she ceaselessly inundates the reader — dovetailing with her decidedly postmodern sensibility and concomitant narrative technique — it would be easy enough to take these allusions simply as further evidence of Grenier’s wide-ranging literary interests and remarkable erudition in general.

Contagious poetry

A review of 'Mommy Must Be a Fountain of Feathers'

The body implies mortality, vulnerability, agency: the skin and the flesh expose us to the gaze of others but also to touch and to violence. The body can be the agency and instrument of all these as well, or the site where “doing” and “being done to” become equivocal.

Exiting the sacred wood

A review of 'On Mount Vision: Forms of the Sacred in Contemporary American Poetry'

One of the abiding legacies of modernist poetry is the figure of the poet as rebellious intellectual, eager to dissolve pieties that typify the status quo. Another legacy, carried over from Romanticism, is that of the poet as force of counterenlightenment, vesting poetry with the task of binding and reenchanting communal life in the face of scientific materialism and economic liberalism. The manifestation of these tendencies spanned left to right on the political spectrum.

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.