The Beauty of Constraints

Son Lux is the classically trained musician Ryan Lott.  Unlike his first album At War with Walls and Mazes, which took three years of tinkering to create an unclassifiable mix of hip-hop chamber pop with an indie sensibility,  We Are Rising was composed and recorded, as part of The RPM Challenge, in exactly four weeks.… More

Review: Cynthia Hogue’s “Or Consequence”

Scott Hightower “Or Consequence” Cynthia Hogue Red Hen, 2010, 978-1-59709-476-4, $18.95 Or Consequence is the sixth collection of poems from Cynthia Hogue. Hogue is informed not only by experience and history, but also by theory and academic discourse. Hogue is a poet drawn to the cerebral and the abstract. That is NOT to say that… More

Review: Christopher Patton’s “Curious Masonry”

Sam Selinger “Curious Masonry” Christopher Patton 2011, 9781554470938, $15.95 Christopher Patton’s third book, Curious Masonry, includes three translations of Anglo-Saxon poems from The Exeter Book, and “Hearth,” a work which he calls a “palimpsest,” mostly made up of erasures from his translation of “The Earthwalker,” using both the translation and the original text. The Exeter… More

A Ghost-making Expedition

And to be moved by the stars was to have one’s soul stirred by some divinely wrought swizzle   A thought does not have to be thought. In fact, a thought is not—as we thought, a product of the reasoning mind. The mind is a collection. Merely and as much. Infinite, given that even the… More

Book 2 of 100: Hannah Tinti’s The Good Thief

I received Hannah Tinti’s gem of a novel, The Good Thief, in the mail as a free gift from the literary journal One Story, along with an invitation to what sounded like a really awesome AWP Conference event. (If you aren’t a One Story subscriber, do it. They’re great, and every three weeks you’ll get… More

Review: Brendan Constantine’s “Letters to Guns”

Scott Hightower “Letters to Guns” Brendan Constantine Red Hen Press, 2009, 978-1-59709-138-1, $17.95 Letters to Guns is a first book. It is not uncommon for inaugural books to run high risks of ambition. But too often, those risks seem arch or manipulatively over-reaching. They are too often executed with high doses of self-indulgence; the taint… More

Take your Vile of Smile: Two Flash Reviews

Derivative. This is the easy response to Kurt Vile’s musical canon, including his latest, Smoke Ring for my Halo. Yes, he sounds like an earlier Jagger at his most jaded or a beleaguered Dylan, at times. But this is a bad thing? Talk to me about originality, to steal from Yeats, and I’ll turn on… More