Review: Dean Kostos’ “This is Not a Skyscraper”

This is Not a Skyscraper, Dean Kostos Red Hen Press, 2015. 978-1-59709-416-0 Dean Kostos’ latest collection, This is Not a Skyscraper, was selected by Mark Doty for Red Hen Press’s prestigious 2013 Benjamin Saltman Award. The cover, featuring a blurred photo of Midtown Manhattan’s Radiator Building, announces this as a New York book, and while… More

Review: David Tomas Martinez’ “Hustle”

Hustle, David Tomas Martinez Sarabande Books, 978-1-936767-77-1 Recently, while speaking with a close friend (who has very good literary taste) about what she was reading, she spoke enthusiastically about Hustle, a first book by David Tomas Martinez. Hustle deploys from the landscape of the low urban canyons of the West Coast: freeways, fences, “half-sanded cars… More

Claudia Emerson’s “Impossible Bottle”

Impossible Bottle, Claudia Emerson LSU Press, 2015. 978-0-807-16083-1 WORLD AS BEGINNING In the summer of 2014, Claudia Emerson was on faculty at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. I attended that year, having just received my MFA, ecstatic and honored that I would be taking part in her poetry workshop. Our group met twice weekly, and if… More

Martha Serpas’ “The Diener”

The Diener, Martha Serpas LSU Press, 2015, 978-0-0871-5922-4, $17.95 I was camping at Red Rock Canyon outside of Las Vegas when I read Martha Serpas’ new collection, The Diener. One day, while hiking beneath the sandstone walls at Willow Springs, I noticed through a thicket of desert willow and rabbitbrush a petroglyph staring back from… 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: 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

Review: Sally Ball

Scott Hightower reviews Sally Ball’s second collection of poems, “Wreck Me”. More

Scott Hightower, Review: Manoel de Barros’ “Birds for a Demolition”

Scott Hightower “Birds for a Demolition” Manoel de Barros; translated by Idra Novey Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2010, 978-0-88748-523-7, $16.95 Birds for a Demolition is a compilation of poems by the celebrated poet Manoel de Barros. Life on the rural Pantanal (the beautiful, tropical wetlands of Brazil, in the northeastern corner of the country, near… More

Review: Michael Montlack’s “Cool Limbo”

Scott Hightower “Cool Limbo” Michael Montlack NYQ Books, 978-1-935520-40-5, $15.95 One unique aspect of a gay sensibility is that of valuing things for their intrinsic presence or style rather than their assigned “socially invested” value; ie, if the pin sparkles and swirls, it may still be fabulous — even it appears to be gold and… More