Reviews

Denial is political

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. On the one hand, it’s a collection of poems explicitly about a topic: the “feral-child” Genie, who was kept in isolation by her family until age thirteen and then submitted to years of experiments and study and exploitation by researchers looking for clues to language development.

A review in turns of Eleni Stecopoulos's 'Armies of Compassion'

Strophe

Elizabeth Williamson: Throughout Armies of Compassion, Eleni Stecopoulos dances with this premise: that our bodies can act in concert in ways that both attend to and reject a “national past” (69) and its re/production of nationalistic violence. Stecopoulos’s compromised but acutely aware body becomes our guide in tracing the threads of this violence, attuning us to the vibrations made by plucking taught, dried skin; vibrations that resonate across the gaps between us and our memory.

Navigating the ineffable

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.

Through and never through

Peter Cole’s writing exemplifies Charles Olson’s notion that the poet is a transfer station, and that the poem “is energy transferred from where the poet got it (he will have some several causations), by way of the poem itself to, all the way over to, the reader.”[1] Cole channels his own poems’ “several causations” through his experience as a journeyman translator of Hebrew and Arabic language poetries, modern and medieval.