Reviews

Labor of we

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.

Infrastructure writing

“[I]t is precisely a special way of writing that realism requires,” writes Lyn Hejinian in her essay, “Two Stein Talks.”[1] Site Cite City is a book of realism, in the sense Hejinian uses it: realism is the product of a method, of a “special way of writing.” The realism of

The urban interior-exterior ideal

A review of Donna Stonecipher's 'Model City'
Photo by Vadim Erent, 2011.

There is something easygoing about reading Donna Stonecipher’s Model City, which leads the reader through the pages as if on a walk. Lured inside this landscape, we are invited to see, to reflect, to ponder, to muse, to sense the spaces in these seventy-two “model cities,” but also outside of the pages in the world which surrounds us.

Poetry at the axis of nothing

Writing about nothing, a pursuit, nothing that connects and builds. Around that axis, meaning and association are relentless, relationships between positioned and counterpositioned nothingness construct a matrix of their own. Such a matrix of relationships are the basis for philosophically complex investigations of social interaction. The preeminent example of such arrangements is community. Community as an inevitable result of nothing, nothing as it is articulated and distilled for its craft and quality.

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how one might roam. how two might meander. (v)

Poetry as connection: historically, finding kindred spirits and laying claim to literary lineages, while maintaining a critical posture, as a necessary practice of writing under the sign(s) of self and community. The literary as the deeply personal.

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Attention paid

The forty-eight poems collected in this volume are the sum total completed by R. F. Langley during his seventy-two-year lifespan, but they contain an outsize vibrancy that intensifies on rereading. They are not well known on this side of the Atlantic, but hopefully this book will start to change that. Their range is not wide — indeed, it is consciously circumscribed (recurring subjects include insects and arachnids, Italian Renaissance art, the Suffolk countryside, church interiors, looking, and writing about looking) — but the attention and thinking they condense is considerable.