Books

Butterfly in Amber by Kenneth Radu — review by Mark McCawley

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Butterfly in Amber

by Kenneth Radu

 

a review by Mark McCawley

 
 
Butterfly in AmberButterfly in Amber
by Kenneth Radu
DC Books, April 2014
ISBN: 978-1-927599-24-2
$21.95 CDN | $20.11 US Paperback
5.5 x 8.5, Novel, 200 pp.

 

“The sole lingering on her tongue, followed by a sip of Sauterne, she let a wisp of doubt pass through her mind again. Without money, would Yves ever have made love to her? At least after the first time a few years ago when she was closer to fifty and perhaps layered with that mature redolent sensuality men claimed to see in women of a certain age?”

~ Kenneth Radu, Butterfly in Amber, p.20

 
Delia, an independent-minded Montreal woman of sixty and sexually experienced, is the heroine of Kenneth Radu’s novel from Quebec’s DC Books, Butterfly in Amber. The novel begins with Delia departing a liaison with her married lover, Yves, to go on a cruise along the Volga where she enters into a forbidden but lustful and satisfying liaison with Kostya, a twentysomething member of the ship’s crew. The trip along the Volga, itself, becomes an allegory for memory, identity, the inexorable passing of time, and the desire to be more in imagination than in actuality. Whether it be her liaison with Yves, or Kostya, Delia knows that sex and money are interchangeable as she is treated by both men as a sexual and financial ATM: “Delia had no intention of letting the body control her heart or mind. Gracious, a boy in bed was one thing, not that Yves was a boy despite puerile tendencies like fits of temper and sulking she had learned to soothe by dollars and talking dirty, but commitment to a man with his hands and other appendage out – sooner or later she paid – was quite another” (Butterfly in Amber, p. 25). Read more

A Passport to Elsewhere by Richard Jurgens

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A Passport to Elsewhere

by Richard Jurgens

 

Cover photo © 2013 by Surya Green

Cover photo © 2013 by Surya Green

Tennessee Williams in Bangkok
by Eddie Woods
Inkblot Publications, September 2013
Distributed by aftermathbooks.com
Providence, Rhode Island
ISBN-10: 0934301719
$15.00 US | $16.06 CDN | 12,11 EUR | Paperback
8×5 inches, 146pp

A couple of years ago I invited some hip young people to a literary evening at Café Brecht in Amsterdam. They were rather self-consciously cool: a lean former resident of Denver, Colorado, stone hash-pipe in hand; a secretive Irishman in a hoody; and a young Swedish woman with tattoos all over her shapely body and an eyebrow piercing.

When we got there, the American poet and writer Eddie Woods was already reading. It was him I’d brought them to hear. But a look of astonishment crossed the cool people’s faces when they tuned in. Soon they were nudging each other and giggling like schoolgirls in a porn shop. They couldn’t believe their ears. What? ‘Pussy’? Kali? Cunnilingus?
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Playing Chicken With Thanatos by Dire McCain — review by Mark McCawley

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Playing Chicken With Thanatos

by Dire McCain

 

review by Mark McCawley

 

Playing-Chicken-With-Thanatos-DireMcCain-664x1024Playing Chicken With Thanatos
by Dire McCain
Apophenia, 2013
ISBN 978-0615903156
US $14.40 | CDN $17.02 | Paperback
8.5×5.5 inches, 346pp

 

Playing Chicken With Thanatos is Dire McCain’s coming-of-age tale chronicling her adolescent descent into drug addiction and the Southern California drug world of the 1980s and 1990s populated by drug dealers, gang members, skinheads, rockers, yuppies, jocks, Ephebophiles (adult sexual preference for mid-to-late adolescent girls, generally 14–16 years old), Pedophiles (sexual interest in minors below the legal age of consent) and other predators.

Playing Chicken With Thanatos is aptly structured into three parts, named after rivers running through Hades — Acheron (woe), Phelegethon (fire) and Lethe (oblivion). Beginning with her own mother’s undiagnosed mental illness and subsequent suicide attempts, followed by her parent’s divorce, added to that the attempted molestation at age 12 by a best friend’s drunk father (along with Dire’s natural adolescent rebelliousness) sowed the seeds of her eventual fall into addiction.
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Shedding Sin: A Verse Novel by Teri Louise Kelly & Jenny Toune — review by Mark McCawley

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Shedding Sin: A Verse Novel

by Teri Louise Kelly & Jenny Toune

 

review by Mark McCawley

 

Shedding Sin: A Verse Novel
by Teri Louise Kelly & Jenny Toune
Lady Lazarus-Press, 2013
ISBN 978-1484853412
Kindle Edition|$4.53|Paperback|$18.90
8.5 x 5.5 inches, 140 pages

 

“My girl, my girl, don’t lie to me,
Tell me where did you sleep last night?”

—”Where Did You Sleep Last Night”, Nirvana’s 1994 cover of Huddie Ledbetter, a.k.a. Lead Belly’s 1944 reinterpretation. Original artist unknown.

 

“A novel in verse, a poetic story told by two strong female voices presented in short bursts of verse in a back and forth, call and response type style. The poems feed of each other’s imagery, running the gamut from the simple unadorned line to hallucinatory, dreamlike passages and back. The real and virtual become entwined in dreamlike states where fantasy and reality become indistinguishable. Violently erotic imagery born of raw emotion, sex and drugs, pain and ecstasy, addiction to chemicals both natural and manufactured. Vivid images of damnation and salvation, death and rebirth. At once intimate and angry, fantastic and visceral. A lush, sordid tale of lies and mindfucks, and somewhere, maybe love…”

(from ‘Introduction by William Taylor Jr’, Shedding Sin: A Verse Novel by Teri Louise Kelly & Jenny Toune, p.7)

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Weather’s Feather by Mitch Corber — review by Lehman Weichselbaum

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Weather’s Feather

 

by Mitch Corber

 

review by Lehman Weichselbaum

 

Weather’s Feather
by Mitch Corber
Fly By Night Press, 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0963740540
14.9 X 22.6 cm, 108 pps, $15

Mitch Corber is an overgrown boy, and language is his toy.

In Corber’s hands, language isn’t about what it says, but how it says it—and how it sounds. His structuralist focus has clear affinities with other poets at play in modernist fields—New York Schoolers, language poets, Armand Schwerner of “The Tablets” fame. Throw in palpable echoes of the Beats and Lewis Carroll, not to exclude Wallace Stevens, Dylan Thomas, Gerald Manley Hopkins and John Cage (a few of whom get dedications in poems).
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