Zoom Blog

Reviews

The Sun & the Moon by Kristina Marie Darling at The Lit Pub!

 

Intractable Ghosts or Kristina Marie Darling’s Personal and Imaginative World in The Sun & the Moon

03/24/15

Sometimes an extraordinary book lands on your doorstep and you’re grateful to be astonished again. Kristina Maria Darling’s The Sun & the Moon is a beauty to behold. A surprising, masterfully written long prose poem that reads like a novel, it weaves a story of a marriage deconstructed in a fantastical, surreal setting, whose strangeness is reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe: “I tore into the envelope & there was only winter inside, not even a card or a handwritten note.”

We’re invited into a mysterious, hypnotic, universe unfolding like a party: “You began as a small mark on the horizon. Then night & its endless train of ghosts. You led them in, one after the other. They took off their shoes, hung their coats & started looking through the drawers.” The reader can only fall in love with the ingenious writing as she/he falls under the spell of this haunted love story that reads like a long dream sequence.

 
Read more »

The Complete Dark Shadows (of My Childhood) by Tony Trigilio Reviewed at Rain Taxi

 

THE COMPLETE DARK SHADOWS (OF MY CHILDHOOD)

Tony Trigilio
BlazeVOX Books ($16)

complete dark shadowsThis is the first book in a projected multi-volume poem about the eponymous gothic soap opera, which author Tony Trigilio watched as a young child. The show “nurtured and sustained” the poet’s inner life before he could speak, and the “primal sensations” associated with these pre-lingual experiences make them ripe for poetic exploration. At its weakest, the poem dwells too much on the show’s stilted acting and unplanned calamities (which seem to define Dark Shadows as much as scripted events), lapsing into rote summary and striking a tone of ironic adult detachment that gets in the way of the book’s purported mission of “excavating childhood night terrors.” Thankfully, these moments are fairly few, and Trigilio skillfully incorporates his personal history into his exegesis of the series—a sort of autobiography by way of discussing the show. The reader empathizes with the poet’s childhood self as he discloses obsessions and family tragedies, uncovering nuggets of real horror and intense emotion in dozens of episodes of absurd storylines and histrionic dialogue. Overall, The Complete Dark Shadows (of My Childhood) feels meditative, organic, and weighty far beyond what one would anticipate from a poem about a blooper-ridden ’60s TV show.

2015 Really Short Review. Return to Really Short Reviews

Read more »

Michael Ruby interviewed in rob mclennan's blog

 

Friday, March 06, 2015

12 or 20 (second series) questions with Michael Ruby

Michael Ruby is the author of five full-length poetry books: At an Intersection (Alef, 2002), Window on the City (BlazeVOX, 2006), The Edge of the Underworld (BlazeVOX, 2010), Compulsive Words (BlazeVOX, 2010) and American Songbook (UDP, 2013). His trilogy, Memories, Dreams and Inner Voices (Station Hill, 2012), includes Fleeting Memories, a UDP web-book, and Inner Voices Heard Before Sleep, an Argotist Online ebook. He is also the author of three Dusie chapbooks, The Star-Spangled Banner (2011), Close Your Eyes (2013) and Foghorns (2014), and is co-editor of Bernadette Mayer’s forthcoming collected early books from Station Hill. He lives in Brooklyn and works as an editor of U.S. news and political articles at The Wall Street Journal.

1 - How did your first book change your life? How does your most recent work compare to your previous? How does it feel different?
My first book, At an Intersection (Alef Books, 2002), was published when I was relatively old, in my 40s.  Before that, I wrote many books’ worth of poetry, but I never thought about publishing a book. I didn't even start trying to publish a book until I was 38.  I was happy with what I had written, but I didn’t feel that it had to be published.  After my first book, I guess I became addicted to publishing and wanted to get my work out there (though most of that earlier poetry has never been published).

My recent books, American Songbook (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2013) and  Close Your Eyes (Dusie, 2013), feel very much of a piece with what I've been doing since the early 1990s.  Close Your Eyes is a sequel to Memories, Dreams and Inner Voices (Station Hill Press, 2012), which was written from 1991 to 2005.  American Songbook, which was written from 1999 to 2013, uses the same compositional procedure as most poems in Window on the City (BlazeVOX [books], 2007), written from 1995 to 1997, and Compulsive Words (BlazeVOX, 2010), written from 1999 to 2007.

2 - How did you come to poetry first, as opposed to, say, fiction or non-fiction?
When I started writing as a teenager, poems are what came out.  I wanted to be a novelist, but poems are what came out.

3 - How long does it take to start any particular writing project? Does your writing initially come quickly, or is it a slow process? Do first drafts appear looking close to their final shape, or does your work come out of copious notes?
For many of my poems, I create careful sketches and then compose the poems using the sketches.  I often spend far more time creating the sketch than composing the poem from the sketch.  Sometimes, I compose totally different poems from the same sketch and choose the one I like most.  The compositions usually are similar to the final poems, but shorter, because I cut anything I don’t like.

In general, I've always been in the habit of doing most of my new composition during the summer, preferably sitting outside at a park, or in farm country, or on a rocky coast.  For the past 15 years, I've also been in the habit of writing many books at the same time. In the first decade of the millennium, for example, I would break up the summer into parts and devote, say, three weeks to American Songbook, three weeks to its offshoot, The Star-Spangled Banner, three weeks to Compulsive Words, two weeks to the unpublished From the Mouth of the Bay, and whenever I was worn out but had mental energy, I would dictate into a recorder poems for Inner Voices Heard Before Sleep or Close Your Eyes or the unpublished Visions.

4 - Where does a poem usually begin for you? Are you an author of short pieces that end up combining into a larger project, or are you working on a "book" from the very beginning?
A poem begins for me in an infinite number of places.  As for books, I most often write a group of poems and then realize that they could become a book.  That’s what happened with The Edge of the UnderworldWindow on the CityCompulsive WordsThe Star-Spangled BannerAmerican Songbook; the unpublished From the Mouth of the Bay and Trance Position; and the unfinished Sounds of Summer in the Country and Dreams of the 2000s.  That’s one model.  Another model is writing a book without realizing it.  For years, I wrote down memories on worksheets at work and they became a book, Fleeting Memories.  I wrote down dreams in the morning and they became a book, Dreams of the 1990s.  With several other books, such as Inner Voices Heard Before Sleep and Close Your Eyes, I decided to write a book from the start, but about psychic phenomena that had interested me for a long time.
Read the whole interview here
Read more »

This Visit by Susan Lewis reviewed at BLOTTERATURE

 

BLOT LIT REVIEWS: HOW TO BE ANOTHER AND THIS VISIT BY SUSAN LEWIS

HowtobeAnother

 

This Visit

 

Review: How to be Another and This Visit by Susan Lewis
Červená Barva Press, Blaze VOX [books], 2014
Reviewed By Elizabeth Mobley

Susan Lewis’ full-length prose poetry collection, How to be Another and her full-length poetry collection, This Visit are highly abstract, punny, and rich in carefully planned out verbiage. Her soulful words seep into the mind to linger, resonate, and repeat resoundingly, always with a fresh understanding with every read.

In How to be Another, Lewis’ prose clenches in a visceral way, right from the beginning with

“Dig
is all you ever say, & I do, becoming even grimier & less enlightened” (3)

leaving an afterthought to ruminate upon:

“So far, I have unearthed no secret treasure; no new perspective; no offspring of any kind; not often the slightest touch of your hand still unsullied, impossibly smooth, irresistibly trembling hand” (3).

The overwhelmingly sarcastic tone makes these prose pieces though-provoking but easy to read again and again, like in “Say Something”:

Say the end is a beginning. Say this is a matter of life & death. Say America is just another bubble. Say a thing or two about milkweed or super-heroes, vibrations or delicious speculation. Say the proof is in the pudding. Say each moment has a life of its own. Say you never want to blink. Say you sweet-talked fear to burrow for this moment. Say you can imagine another scenario. Say you’ll pay attention. Say there’s help on the way. Say there isn’t. Say what you’d rather not. Say what you please. Just promise to listen. (21)

Read the whole review here

Check out This Visit here 

Read more »

Susan Lewis interviewed in Grab The Lapels

 

Meet the Writer: Susan Lewis

I want to thank Susan Lewis for answering my questions. She is the author of several books, including This Visit and How to Be Another.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I’ve always been a voracious reader. When I was seven years old, I read a collection of haiku by Basho. I was entranced, and became passionate about writing Japanese forms. I went on, as a child and adolescent, to write all kinds of poetry, as well as short stories and plays.

How have you developed creatively since then?

I still consider my writing identity a work in progress, and I suspect I always will! After high school, I didn’t write at all for a number of years. When I turned back to it, I wrote short fiction, which is what I worked on for my MFA. Later, I tried my hand at writing a novel. Only after that did I return to my first love, poetry. Over time my poetry has moved from more-or-less traditional free verse lyric to prose and lineated poems that are more fragmented and narratively unmoored. That said, I still write some prose poems that resemble surrealistic parables or fables.

Read the whole interview here

Read more »
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... »

Extra Pages

Photos on flickr