Books

Straight Jacket Elegies by Alan Kaufman — review by Ron Kolm

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Taking a Sledge Hammer to American Culture:

Straight Jacket Elegies

poems by Alan Kaufman

 

review by Ron Kolm

 
 
Straight Jacket ElegiesStraight Jacket Elegies
poems by Alan Kaufman (Author)
Last Word Books & Press (1 Nov 2015)
ISBN-10: 1944234004
ISBN-13: 978-1-944234-00-3
$14.00 USD pbk
Poetry

 
 

We live in tepid times — a kind of faux-fifties. There is a hysteria afoot; a fear of being different in any meaningful way. If you stopped to take a photo on Fifth Avenue and then compared the result with one from 1957, you’d be hard-pressed to notice a difference: the hairstyles are mostly similar; short hair for the males and long, straight hair for the women; the suits and dresses are reminiscent of that era, too.
This overlay holds true in the literary realm as well; the sun-bleached style of the Franzens amd Safran Foers is a throwback; it’s non-life-supportive. Flimsy plots and tons of description do not a meal make. Same for the music. Pop, with its generic lyrics and manifold falsettos, is nothing more than rehashed Beach Boys and Four Seasons. Some of the brothers I know are even dissing the taming of rap; that particular revolution has become predictable and meaningless.

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Triple Crown, Sonnets by Jeffrey Cyphers Wright — review by Ilka Scobie

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The Last Word In Modern Sonnets:

Triple Crown, Sonnets

by Jeffrey Cyphers Wright

 

review by Ilka Scobie

 
 
coverTriple Crown, Sonnets
by Jeffrey Cyphers Wright (Author)
Rene Ricard and JCW (Illustrator)
Spuyten Duyvil (March 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1881471233
ISBN-13: 978-1881471233
$15.00 US pbk | $18.68 CDN pbk | £9.29 UK pbk
112 pages, 6″ x 9″, Poetry

 
 
Jeff Wright’s lyrical liberties propel the traditional sonnet on a worldwide dash. Every poem is “Made in…” somewhere —beginning with China. In the second poem, “Made in Hong Kong,” the initial entreaty beckons with musical sophistication: anagrammatic words coupled in a double-beat rhyme scheme.
 

“Come to me now, unkind whirlwind
Come to me now and unwind, wunderkind.”

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Duke & Jill by Ron Kolm — review by George Spencer

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Low-Rent Couple

Living in a High-Priced World:

Duke & Jill,

a collection of short stories by Ron Kolm

 

review by George Spencer

 
 

"Duke & Jill" by Ron Kolm. Cover by Jeffrey Isaac.

“Duke & Jill” by Ron Kolm. Cover by Jeffrey Isaac.

Duke & Jill
by Ron Kolm (Author),
Jeffrey Isaac (Illustrator), Bud Smith (Preface)
Unknown Press (April 28, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0996352619
ISBN-13: 978-0996352611
$12.55 US pbk | $16.86 CDN pbk | £8.65 UK pbk
102 pages, 5″ x 8″, Fiction

 
“You probably knew Duke and Jill at some point. They might have lived down the hall from you back in the day. Maybe you didn’t like them, or maybe you did. Maybe they scored for you, or you for them. Poet and literary impresario Ron Kolm represents this classic East Village trouble couple with the deadpan élan of a bohemian raconteur looking back from the other side of nowheresville.”

—Carl Watson, author of Hotel of Irrevocable Acts and Backwards the Drowned Go Dreaming
 
Ron Kolm’s book of interconnected short stories, Duke & Jill (Unknown Press, 2015), begins with the short declarative sentence: “Duke and Jill do drugs.” The events in these stories are centered around that fact; they’re filled with descriptions of the direct and collateral damage drugs do to them, as lovers and partners-in-crime, and to those around them. This all happens in that time, the ‘70s/’80s, when the variously designated Lower East Side, East Village, Alphabet City was a war zone — it was also a cradle of artistic freedom with the resultant creativity that came from it, but that’s another story.
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A Superintendent’s Eyes by Steve Dalachinsky — review by Mark McCawley

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A Superintendent’s Eyes

by Steve Dalachinsky

 

review by Mark McCawley

 
 
A Superintendent's EyesA Superintendent’s Eyes
by Steve Dalachinsky (Author), Arthur Kaye (Illustrator)
Revised and Expanded Second Edition
Unbearable Books/Autonomedia (July 8, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1570272727
ISBN-13: 978-1570272721
$13.61 US pbk | $11.33 CDN pbk | £10.99 UK pbk
180 pages, 5″ x 7.25″, Poetry
photographs by Arthur Kaye

 
 
“you fine poets who live among universities
you glorious academicians
can you see civilization in your own backyards
in the ethnic eyes of the shopkeeper
buried in one neighborhood forever
dryly breathing
under a petrified cross?

the years have changed
but the times have not.”

~Steve Dalachinsky, A Superintendent’s Eyes #1, “from the basement of the academy”, p.13
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The Other 23 & a Half Hours by Catherine Owen — review by Mark McCawley

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The Other 23 & a Half Hours

by Catherine Owen

 

review by Mark McCawley

 
 
Other_23_CoverThe Other 23 & a Half Hours:
Or Everything You Wanted to Know
that Your M.F.A. Didn’t Teach You
by Catherine Owen
Wolsak and Wynn Publishers Ltd. (May 20 2015)
ISBN-10: 1928088007
ISBN-13: 978-1928088004
$13.54 US pbk | $20.00 CDN pbk | £12.82 UK pbk
200 pages, 5.75″ x 8.5″, Criticism

 
 
Catherine Owen’s The Other 23 & a Half Hours is not a “how-to” write book. It is not an instruction manual. It is not a teaching text. It makes no promises and proffers no guarantees. What it does do, though, is combine Owen’s own personal experiences as a poet with the experiences, practices, and expertise of fifty-eight Canadian poets (and a host of other American and international writers) interviewed over the course of several years.
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