reviews

The Lost Novel by James Shea

The vulnerability of the speaker; the risk of putting himself out there emotionally for us, risking sentiment, risking something real, something funny, something heartbreaking and bold; the attempt to find something new (and in that attempt, the risk of failure); that is why you should read The Lost Novel, over and over, until you begin to hear the quintessence rising up from the white space of the page.—PATRICK WHITFILL

http://coloradoreview.colostate.edu/reviews/the-lost-novel/


My Not-My Soldier by Jennifer MacKenzie

My Not-My Soldier is gaping and demanding—a rigorous and essential lesson. After reading it, you may feel that you’ve been schooled—and touched—in the realest, most forgiving ways that poetry makes possible.—JEN FOSSENBELL

https://thevoltablog.wordpress.com/2015/08/06/review-my-not-my-soldier-by-jennifer-mackenzie/


My Not-My Soldier by Jennifer MacKenzie

Loosely based on the author’s time in Damascus during the recent violence, Mackenzie uses various registers of confusion, desperation and defiance to execute an extremely tight inquisition into the boundaries of body, law and the fiction of history. The writing is superior–open and with a unified semantic field that shows an extremely deft mind and pen. It is current, it is urgent–both journalistic and fantastical–and leaves you a distinctly emotional-plus-intellectual resonance like few other books.—CRYSTAL CURRY

http://coldfrontmag.com/top-40-poetry-books-of-2014-40-31/


McGlue by Ottessa Moshfegh

In a time when mostly no one seems to be writing about drunk death freaks on the ocean anymore, and for all its self-deceptions, its stop-start miseries, its sprawl, McGlue is as satisfying as anything you're likely to find appearing in your weird little hands this year.—BLAKE BUTLER

http://www.vice.com/read/three-short-savage-books-that-might-also-be-mazes-959


McGlue by Ottessa Moshfegh

McGlue isn’t so much a historical novel as it is realia for the primal self, a reminder of the destructive powers of language.—THE BELIEVER EDITORS

http://www.believermag.com/exclusives/?read=believer_book_award


McGlue by Ottessa Moshfegh

Rawly written yet superbly controlled, this accomplished debut is the inaugural winner of the Fence Modern Prize in Prose; it would have been no surprise to see it coming from a major literary house, so look there for Moshfegh’s next.—LIBRARY JOURNAL

http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/2014/10/books/fiction/top-indie-fiction-15-key-titles-beyond-the-best-sellers-list-for-fall-2014/


Cold Genius by Aaron Kunin

http://bostonreview.net/poetry/microreview-Aaron-Kunin-cold-genius


The Lost Novel by James Shea

Marked by nonchalant humor and surreal imagery, James Shea’s refreshing collection The Lost Novel taps into the unspoken desires and angst of the modern man. Intellectual and provocative, Shea’s writing teases the imagination and exposes the instability of meanings, encouraging the reader to discover the hidden poetry between the lines.—JENNIFER WONG

http://www.asianreviewofbooks.com/new/?ID=2192


McGlue by Ottessa Moshfegh

It’s a bold authorial choice to write a novella to begin with, let alone a novella about a pair of drunken 19th century sailors and their not-so-latent homoerotic friendship. Gay shipmen on the open seas? When does McGlue the Musical come out?—LELAND CHEUK

http://necessaryfiction.com/reviews/McGluebyOttessaMoshfegh


The Lost Novel by James Shea

Shea gets some of his best and most distinctive effects with like repetitions, which look like tautologies from one end, like Möbius strips from another, and which leave one with a certain defamiliarizing-the-familiar effect, a kind of ostranenie, by making you look at something right next to itself.—THEOBALD

http://loadsoflearnedlumber.blogspot.com/2015/03/james-shea-lost-novel.html


Your Invitation to a Modest Breakfast by Hannah Gamble

For those of us who enjoy poems that display technical mastery while remaining accessible, Gamble’s work is a revelation.—RYAN MCCARL

http://www.neworleansreview.org/remembering-the-reader-hannah-gambles-your-invitation-to-a-modest-breakfast-3/


The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind by Claudia Rankine

The scope of voices across this collection showcase a brilliant eclecticism of views on race and art with each artist possessing shared determination to (1) speak thoughtfully and honestly on race and the creative imagination (2) challenge harmful reproductions of racism, sexism, classism, and other institutional forms of violence in writing and consequently in our lived experiences (3) shift the conversation on how we talk about race and art away from a set of prescriptive tactics and more towards openness and possibility that does not preclude the responsibility with which we regard each other’s humanness.—MURIEL LEUNG

https://thebloodjet.wordpress.com/tag/claudia-rankine/


The Lost Novel by James Shea

James Shea takes us on a mysterious quest, by foot and by car, through rain and through fire, into our restless unknowing, where unreasonable questions that refer to a lost text of spiritual and material imperative—the missing bible of this spare universe—undermine and trouble our impossible pilgrim’s progress.—ZORAN ROSKO

http://zorosko.blogspot.com/2015/03/james-shea-takes-us-on-mysterious-quest.html


The Lost Novel by James Shea

If the poets of absence were on a sort of scale of formalistic experimentation, Wallace Stevens might be at one end and John Cage at the other. Strand and Lauterbach and Ashbery and Palmer would fall somewhere between them. And James Shea would have to be in that number, too. His brilliant new book, The Lost Novel, is haunted by absence in the way other collections are haunted by memory.—JAMES PATE

http://www.montevidayo.com/james-sheas-the-lost-novel/


The Meatgirl Whatever by Kristin Hatch

This book is so good that I’m afraid of writing an essay about it because essays are kind of this fake vehicle for the essayist to sound/feel clever about herself and how she noticed this or that pattern in whatever book and ignored passages x or y that really don’t fit with said pattern and maybe things are supposed to be messy and cryptic and unknowable and that’s the beauty of it all, whatever “it” is.—GERALDINE KIM

http://weird-sister.com/2015/03/02/why-you-should-read-the-meatgirl-whatever-by-kristin-hatch/#more-1627


my god is this a man by Laura Sims

Portraying a landscape that refuses interpretation, Sims explodes categories of doer-done to, subject and object. Like an earthworm, she leads the reader in and out of states of psychic fracture, confusion and horror, as well as curiosity, beauty, and even, sublimity. Here, everyone is implicated. Every word has been touched.—KATHLEEN DELMAR MILLER

http://poetryproject.org/wp-content/uploads/PPNL-DEC-JAN-14-Final.pdf


McGlue by Ottessa Moshfegh

Constant time lapses in the narrative parallel what is going on in McGlue’s damaged mind, which is unable to organize his memories into sequential, cogent thoughts. This intimate, disorienting glimpse into the mind of McGlue connects the reader with an otherwise unpardonable anti-hero.—DAVID CARDOSO

http://www.nomadicpress.org/reviews/mcglue


Cold Genius by Aaron Kunin

Intellectually (appropriately so), Cold Genius is a successful book. The poems evoke the right ideas. Your brain will hum with questions about the mechanisms of language and repetition, and about ingrained perceptions of love, sexuality, and labor.—PAUL FRENCH

http://www.americanmicroreviews.com/cold-genius-by-aaron-kunin


McGlue by Ottessa Moshfegh

The story takes place in the 1850s. Moshfegh creates a world of ships and ports, drinking and fighting that is vivid and steady. But it’s McGlue’s voice, in first person, that makes the story compelling and holds my interest. He is brutal and tender. He can talk about anything and I listen, even when I know he’s lying.—LUKE WIGET

http://fictionadvocate.com/2015/01/05/mcglue-by-ottessa-moshfegh/


McGlue by Ottessa Moshfegh

Ottessa Moshfegh is one of the brighter stars shining in the light-polluted sky of contemporary fiction, radiant enough to be seen even in the daylight hours. And with McGlue, her first but probably not even her best book, she has given us a story, a character, a McGlue that can be followed without the aid of a sextent.—BRENT LEGAULT

http://tweedsmag.org/tweeds-top-reads-of-2014/


McGlue by Ottessa Moshfegh

Fall in love with the utterly strange, completely, tragically human characters struggling through the luxury of the mundane.—NICOLE JONES

http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2014/12/best-books-2014


McGlue by Ottessa Moshfegh

What I couldn't have seen from the outside of McGlue is the humanity in a real-life, nineteenth century murder. Moshfegh shows, again and again, how tiny the human cage is. From Zanzibar to Salem, McGlue must contend with himself: a writhing, teeming brain in a chipped up skull. This is what great fiction offers us: the chance to extend past empathy and identify, the chance to pulverize our selves.—JOANNA NOVAK

http://thediagram.com/14_6/rev_moshfegh.html


In the Laurels, Caught by Lee Ann Brown

A lattice of narratives is interrupted, interwoven, as the French Broad River traces hills and coves between hills. A parallel text flows, miming cursive, in  crossweave at the bottom of each page. A coverlet is a product of sewing; swatches are tacked together to form a crazy quilt or a lacey afghan throw like my grandmother made, joining crotchet and sewing arts ...—DONALD WELLMAN

http://immanentoccasions.blogspot.com/2014/12/lee-ann-brown-in-laurels-caught.html


McGlue by Ottessa Moshfegh

Moshfegh's powerful sentences and peculiar syntax animate the sailor's plight and dissolve the distance when men like Melville and McGlue walked the deck. Those days have gone, but Moshfegh's debut heralds the arrival of an unforgettable new American voice.—JIM RULAND

http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-ca-jc-otessa-moshfegh-20141221-story.html


House of Deer by Sasha Steensen

Though Steensen’s method of composition may be very modern, she enters into dialogue with her influences and poetic-godparents. The effect is a complex, self-referential text that is as rewarding as it is difficult, which is to say very. Readers that enjoy layered poetic narrative will find a favorite author in Sasha Steensen.—TIMOTHY OTTE

http://www.hazelandwren.com/2014/what-were-reading-house-of-deer/


Colony Collapse Metaphor by Philip Jenks

When intensely felt historical experience intersects with language under extreme pressure, you might wind up with something like the poetry of Philip Jenks, which to my mind represents a kind of Appalachian écriture, the inscription of political, social, economic, and sexual difference onto and inside of the lyric.—JOSHUA COREY

http://www.joshua-corey.com/blog/2014/12/12/colony-collapse-metaphor-philip-jenks


The Meatgirl Whatever by Kristin Hatch

The Meatgirl Whatever shatters and shakes on the page.  These poems are wild animals and we are the startled readers, awakened into a world of subverted fairy tales and sinister satire.—HEATHER SWEENEY

http://galatearesurrection23.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-meatgirl-whatever-by-kristin-hatch.html


my god is this a man by Laura Sims

What is not written is just as critical as what is on the page in Laura Sims’s My god is this a man. This book is a mash-up, containing the poet’s voice but also intruding voices, some of which we can tell (as when she quotes various murderers, or the more obvious black text boxes that contain language from the surviving Boston Bomber juxtaposed with a relaxation tape) and some of which we can only surmise.—MOLLY SUTTON KIEFER

http://www.raintaxi.com/my-god-is-this-a-man/


my god is this a man by Laura Sims

Sims’s poems go to a dark place in their attempts to speak about the unspeakable. A perceptive philosophical meditation on guilt and ethical responsibility, My god is this a man offers us more than its fair share of dolesome propositions. Rather than defer to a set of over-determined details and media-driven sensationalisms, these poems give, in their withholding; and they do so with astonishing grace.—LARA MIMOSA MONTES

https://tarpaulinsky.com/2014/11/laura-sims-2/


my god is this a man by Laura Sims

http://www.jamesbelflower.com/blog/2014/9/1/250-words-on-laura-sims-my-god-is-this-a-man