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Review: There Will Be No More Good Nights Without Good Nights by Laura van den Berg

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Review: There Will Be No More Good Nights Without Good Nights by Laura van den Berg (Bull City Press, 2017)

Reviewed by Rebecca Valley

I am a haphazard collector of fortunes. They live in my wallet and the corners of my coat pockets. Because I know that before long they’ll be lost to the washing machine or a damp grocery store aisle, I sometimes take their pictures. The other day I found one that had floated from a box in the closet and landed on the floor by my desk; it said “Within the month, as you tidy your room, you will find your lost item.” Continue reading “Review: There Will Be No More Good Nights Without Good Nights by Laura van den Berg”

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Recommended Reading: On Climate Change

by Rebecca Valley

In 2017, the U.S. spent more than ever before on natural disaster relief — an astonishing $306 billion. In September and October, as I sat through the first few weeks of my graduate writing program in a peaceful (though unseasonably warm) Massachusetts, three record-breaking hurricanes ravaged the Caribbean and Gulf Coast. Continue reading “Recommended Reading: On Climate Change”

Review: They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib

They-Can_t-Kill-Us-Until-They-Kill-Us_2048x2048They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib (Two Dollar Radio, 2017)

Reviewed by Carl Lavigne

I have heard it said that the best writers are the best listeners, and I believe it because of Hanif Abdurraqib. They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us is a collection of essays ostensibly about music, but Abdurraqib hears what lies beneath the singing and instrumentation. He writes lyrically, elegiacally, about Prince, My Chemical Romance, Migos, and many more, revealing truths no run-of-the-mill magazine music-critic could conjure up in an album review. The essays unearth deep personal connections and experiences that are intertwined with the music they analyze. There’s a soundtrack to every essay in this collection that often takes center stage, trading places at times with recurring themes of growing up, racism, and grief. Continue reading “Review: They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib”

Review: Whereas by Layli Long Soldier

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Review: Whereas by Layli Long Solider (Gray Wolf Press, 2017)

Reviewed by Michelle Mitchell-Foust

I was lost, looking for a wedding in the Valley of Fire, Red Rock, Nevada.  At every curve in the road, I thought the towering stone formations might reveal my friend’s white dress. When it was clear I wouldn’t find the party, I parked the car and wandered into the crevices between the rocks. I waded through the fine, pink sand to the place where I could see the petroglyphs carved into their faces. Around me were creatures who looked rabbit-human, goat-human, and spirals, and horned insecta. I walked deeper into the rock, looking for more of the 3000-year-old language, the setting sun making the world more red. Continue reading “Review: Whereas by Layli Long Soldier”

Review: Autumn by Ali Smith

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Autumn by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton, 2016)

Reviewed by Brenna McPeek

Ali Smith’s multi-faceted novel Autumn tries to do many things—things that, when listed out, seemingly couldn’t (and maybe shouldn’t) all fit into one novel. The novel, the first in a seasonally inspired series of four, takes on the perplexity of post-Brexit England, constructs a refreshing intellectual relationship between a young girl and her elderly neighbor, and poetically ponders the complexities of death, nature and memory. And those are just the major plot players. In Autumn, Smith embarks on a path that proves challenging—as paths dealing with today’s muddled political landscape unequivocally are—and her results are often staggering. But some choices she makes fall short, or maybe don’t go as far as they need to –they result in the reader wondering, for example, why we just spent fifteen or so pages on an infuriating trip to the Post Office for a passport. Smith gives us a lot to chew on, but while many aspects of the novel go down smoothly, others get stuck in your mental molars only to be found weeks later, just as bothersome as they were when you first tried to digest them. Continue reading “Review: Autumn by Ali Smith”

Review: Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

51CKN9MHYFL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado (Graywolf Press, 2017)

Reviewed by Rebecca Valley

I’ll begin by saying what I want: a world where we can all recognize that women are the true and most honorable proprietors of horror writing.

I’ll begin this way because I think Carmen Maria Machado proves it. In order for horror to be truly horrifying, it has to be earned. It has to dig into the sensitive skin under our fingernails, on our bellies, the places where we store our most reasonable and our most plausible fears. The ones that, when touched, send out a sharp alarm in our brains, and we realize we’ve been waiting for this moment to come. Continue reading “Review: Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado”

“Be more bold:” An Interview with Isabel Greenberg

It was our pleasure to interview award-winning graphic novelist Isabel Greenberg, a young British talent whose tales from the fictional world of Early Earth create spiritual, historical, and mythic space for women. We talked about new projects, the role that sisterhood plays in her work, and snagged a few book recommendations.

Continue reading ““Be more bold:” An Interview with Isabel Greenberg”