Michael du Plessis is the author of the novel The Memoirs of JonBenet by Kathy Acker (Les Figues, 2012) and the chapbook Songs Dead Soldiers Sing (Chicago: Transparent Tiger Press, 2007). His creative work has appeared in Narrativity, LitNet, and NatBrut, and with Janice Lee, in FANZINE and Plinth. With Lee he is collaborating on a project of poems about decapitations in film and television. He teaches in Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California.
By Art Beck
Despite being a 1977 Nobel Laureate, Vicente Aleixandre (1898-1984) remains relatively sparsely translated into English. There are several small selections translated by Willis Barnstone, Stephen Kessler, and others, published in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but these appear mostly out of print. Read More
By Art Beck
Pierre Michon, born 1945, won the Prix France Culture award in 1984 for his first book, a memoir of sorts, Vies Minuscules. In 2008, an English version, under the title Small Lives, was published by Archipelago Books with partial sponsorship of the French Ministry of Culture. Its translators, Jody Gladding and Elizabeth Deshays, were awarded the prestigious French American Foundation translation prize in 2009. Read More
By Mary Burger
Hank Forest’s Party is the latest volume of a collaborative project, part novel, part memoir, part philosophy, written by Sheila Ascher and Dennis Straus and published under the name Ascher/Straus. The ongoing project Monica’s Chronicle, begun in the 1970s, is a narrative of the process of narration. Narrator Monica records experiences of everyday life in a neighborhood in Rockaway Park, Queens, and weaves her notes through reflections and reinterpretations about the connections between experience, memory, and writing. Read More
Maureen Alsop (“Papery Bewick Swans/1956 Buick Super,” Issue 3) has new poetry forthcoming in the journals DIAGRAM, burnt district, Superstition Review, Glint, Thirteen Mynah Birds, and in the anthology Songs for a Passbook Torch. She has also reviewed Brian Teare’s Companion Grasses at Prick of the Spindle. Read More
Trances of the Blast’s title and its epigraph from the Book of Revelation conjure apocalypse, the blast from which we can hardly expect to recover. The book seldom deals with literal blasts, however, instead focusing on small everyday explosions of experience. The opening poem, titled “Saga,” begins with a statement of human connection: Read More
Short enough to be read in one sitting, Severina by Guatemalan master Rodrigo Rey Rosa lingers disproportionately long in the imagination. A seemingly straightforward tale of a bookseller’s obsession with an alluring book thief, Severina carries mysterious hints of the metaphysical as it makes sly jokes and asides about literary culture and bibliophilia.
An unnamed narrator encounters and falls in love with a woman, Severina, who repeatedly visits his bookstore and steals from him. He watches her and notes the titles she steals as if they are keys to her soul. He follows her. At one point she moves in with him. Yet however close he gets to her, she remains elusive. Why does she steal? Who is the older gentleman she travels with? What sort of life do they lead, these nomads who steer themselves by the currents of literature? Read More
By Ho Lin
“Suddenly the front door swung open, and in walked…” This incomplete sentence, which occurs a third of the way into Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s delightful Definitely Maybe, is a tease, a taunt, and a mission statement. We’ve come to expect a certain amount of knottiness in our so-called serious literature and understand puzzlement is part of the game, yet it’s still a shock to encounter it in genre fiction, where at its best plot, character, and theme are still delivered in neat, enjoyable bundles. Suffice to say we never learn who walks in through that door and what happens immediately afterwards. Yet it doesn’t matter. Definitely Maybe is that rarest of creatures, a science fiction novella that is also a book of questions without answers. Read More
The poems in Soul in Space, Noelle Kocot’s sixth collection, spark across its pages like synapses firing in the brain. Arranged in four sections with different formal conventions, the book doesn’t tell a coherent story, but, like the soul of the title, travels widely while retaining its own voice throughout.
In the Acknowledgments, Kocot credits her editor (Joshua Beckman at Wave Books) with arranging the book into its four numbered sections. The organization works, and it’s hard to imagine the sections being composed without that structure in mind, they flow so well. Read More