Denton Loving’s “Crimes Against Birds”

Crimes Against Birds, Denton Loving Main Street Rag, 2014, 978-1-59948-499-0, $14.00 The pastoral imagination that illuminates Denton Loving’s Crimes Against Birds combines close observations of the natural landscape, plainspoken meditations, and a tone of simple and reverent sincerity. A poem like “Blessing of the Bees,” in which the speaker addresses his beehive, is characteristic of… More

Mark Wunderlich’s “The Earth Avails”

The Earth Avails, Mark Wunderlich Graywolf Press, 2014, 978-1-55597-666-8, $15 The Earth Avails is Mark Wunderlich’s third book. One approaches a new book by Wunderlich with a bit of heightened attention and expectation given that his first book, The Anchorage, won the Lambda Literary Award of its season and that Wunderlich is the recipient of… More

Jeffrey Harrison’s “Into Daylight”

Scott Hightower Into Daylight, Jeffrey Harrison Tupelo Press, 2014, 978-1-936797-43-1, $16.95 Into Daylight is divided into four sections. Harrison opens with a small pastoral poem and a tribute to John Clare, a poet known for dealing with elementalism, separation anxieties, and deep-seated disturbances. The poems in this opening section are based on casual conversations while… More

TJ Jarrett’s “Zion”

Paul Pickering Zion, TJ Jarrett Southern Illinois University Press, 2014, 978-0-8093-3356-1 TJ Jarrett’s newest collection, Zion, does not forget. Her poems do not turn away from painful realities toward nostalgic dreams. Instead, these poems countenance the hard past (and present) through the lens of the personal and the familial in order to prepare for a… More

Micah Towery’s “Whale of Desire”

Michael T. Young Whale of Desire, Micah Towery Redux Consortium: Cat in the Sun Press, 2013, 978-0991152315 Micah Towery is an adjunct professor at Indiana University South Bend. Whale of Desire is his debut poetry collection. It is also the debut collection of Cat in the Sun Press, and a quite good one at that.… More

Review: Peter Covino’s “The Right Place to Jump”

Scott Hightower The Right Place to Jump, Peter Covino New Issues, 2012, $15 The Right Place to Jump is the second book from Peter Covino. In Cut Off the Ears of Winter, his first, Covino staked out considerable space for themes connected to the anxiety of desire: mortality, class, language, the ineffable, decency, and fair… More

Review: Sam Lipsyte’s “The Fun Parts”

Michael McDermit Sam Lipsyte’s rascally prose is not without a hot-blooded, pumping core. That’s important; probably the most important factor to note of the author’s writing. Too often within today’s fiction (an age where sardonic wit and showbiz irony run unchecked) the idea of a piece is its focal point, while the individuals toiling within… More

Review: Matthew Olzmann’s “Mezzanines”

Scott Hightower Mezzanines, Matthew Olzmann Alice James Books, 2013, 978-1-882295-98-2, $15.95 Mezzanines by Matthew Olzmann is a first book and the winner of the 2011 Kundiman Poetry Prize, a prize dedicated to publishing work by Asian American poets. Part of the prize is the winning collection’s publication by Alice James Books. Olzmann is a product of… More

Review: “Fortino Sámano”

Scott Hightower Fortino Sámano (The Overflowing of the Poem), Virginie Lalucq and Jean-Luc Nancy Translated by Sylvain Gallais and Cynthia Hogue Omnidawn, 2012, 978-1-890650-67-4, $19.95. Half of Fortino Sámano (The Overflowing of the Poem) is a series of thirty-nine untitled poems by French poet Virginie Lalucq. The French original faces the English translation, a collaboration… More