Albert Mobilio is a poet and critic whose poems exhibit a highly critical intelligence. On the other hand, as demonstrated in the following discussion, his critical acumen can be as aesthetically rewarding as his poems. Each role informs the other.
In Jarrars new book (a memoir), Trumps rise to power is an undercurrent as, in over more than 200 pages, across decades, time zones, and borders, Jarrar explores what it is to live as an American who is also Palestinian, a woman, and a woman of a certain size who also self-defines as queer. We can all learn a lot from Jarrar: about racism, privilege, oppression, fat-phobia, sexual violence, and the way this country (and others) treats women.
As a young reader wanting to expand and explore the perimeters of my own shape, I sought refuge in this world of terror and so I felt a familiar stride alongside Eleanor Zarrin, the seemingly normal (or at least human-ish) teen protagonist in Rose Szabos young adult debut, What Big Teeth, as she seeks refuge in a household of not always benign monsters.
In this equally exhausting and well-executed debut, Lauren Oyler turns her sharp critical eye on the world of social mediathe lies we tell online and the lies we tell ourselves. Already a respected critic, this is Oylers first foray into fiction.
Its rare, I would say, to read a book that is a pitch perfect projection of the personality of its author. There is usually a little mediation, a smoothing out of the edges, a tendency to perfect the self-portrait. Not so with Erica Buists This Partys Dead, which can perhaps be described as a rollicking, globe-trotting death adventure, albeit not of the victim tourism sort.
Im in awe of Hobsons vision, his ability to guide his readers beyond the constraints of realism with grace and authority. And thats perhaps what I love most about The Removed: the necessary reminder that the real and the extra-real are in fact the same thing; the distinctions we tend to make say more about ourselves than the world(s) in which we dwell.
In a culture that is built to support white male voices, the attempt to carve a space as a writer-outsider is incredibly difficult, a task, Salesses argues, made that much more difficult by the traditional workshop structure where the author is workshopped while sitting, completely silent, in a room full of other students discussing her work.
In What Are You Going Through, Sigrid Nunez shares the heartbreaking faults of human communication. She demonstrates languages shortcomings and the way it allows us to share experiences yet fails to connect us deeply enough to understand another living thing completely.
As I began to read Ghost Hour, taking pains to not over-identify with the poet on the page, who is and isnt Cronk, I was thwarted at every turn. The book turns out to be, in large part, about the pull of identification. In the two poems called Ancestry (the second of which is published below), and more obliquely in other poems, Cronk considers her multiple identities, and how they position her in the worldas a poet, a mother, a white woman.