Reviews

Love and rage

A review of 'We Want it All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics'

Image adapted from cover of ‘We Want It All.’

We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics is an essential addition to the growing canon of work arriving from Nightboat Books and serves as a kindred successor to Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, the trailblazing 2013 anthology edited by TC Tolbert and Trace Peterson. The collection reads like a top salon emceed by editors Andrea Abi-Karam and Kay Gabriel, whose ambitions for this groundbreaking anthology are laid bare from the start. 

We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics is an essential addition to the growing canon of work arriving from Nightboat Books and serves as a kindred successor to Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, the trailblazing 2013 anthology edited by TC Tolbert and Trace Peterson. The collection reads like a top salon emceed by editors Andrea Abi-Karam and Kay Gabriel, whose ambitions for this groundbreaking anthology are laid bare from the start.

Beasts of no nation

On the poetics of invasion and Marwa Helal

Image adapted from cover of ‘Invasive Species.’

When they adopted the term “invasive species,” midcentury ecologists imposed a lexicon of human violence onto the migration of organisms, suffusing natural phenomena with political flavor. Invasion is a versatile metaphor for all kinds of unwanted arrivals and threats to national borders; the term supercharges crusades against overly dominant flora and fauna with xenophobic emotion.

               who made this taxonomy?
unmake it
Marwa Helal, Invasive Species[1]

A review of 'Black Case Volume I and II'

Image courtesy of Blank Forms Editions and After : Still.

Across the decades, the recordings of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, as well as most announcements of their concerts, bore the slogan “Great Black Music: Ancient to the Future.” Some years ago, in the course of a panel on the Ensemble and their history at the University of Chicago that featured Joseph Jarman, Roscoe Mitchell, and George Lewis, the subject of that slogan and its origins was broached. Asked why that slogan, Jarman quipped, “nobody ever said it was great.” 

we sing looking to ALL the past future masters
to give us clear vision
healing music, GREAT BLACK MUSIC
where we start from finish start finish[1]

Paper cuts, or the costs of legibility

A review of Kimberly Alidio's 'why letter ellipses'

Photo of Kimberly Alidio by Stacy Szymaszek.

When we talk about literacy there cannot be / one without concessions. — Simone White

'Already free'

A review of 'F Letter: New Russian Feminist Poetry'

Cover of 'F Letter: New Russian Feminist Poetry'
Image adapted from front and back covers of ‘F Letter.’

Russia’s new feminist poetry has so fully arrived in the US as to be featured in Time magazine, but that interest from a mainstream publication does not mean that this remarkable work is anodyne or safe. This work can be fierce, hilarious, tender, and sexy. It stretches the boundaries of the poetic, not least when the poets ironically ask, as Stanislava Mogileva puts it in her “Song,” whether the poetry is sufficiently feminist, sufficiently activist, or too personal, too simple, too frivolous, too intense.