A Taste of History: A review of A Place at the Nayarit by Dr. Natalia Molina

A talented oral historian, Molina describes how her grandmother, Doña Natalia Barraza, found a place in Echo Park, a diverse neighborhood located on the eastside of Los Angeles, to open her restaurant, The Nayarit. The Nayarit, of course, is also one of the states comprising the federated nation of Mexico and the regional cuisine local to the Nayarit was the driving force of the restaurant’s menu and eventual draw.

A review of Kepler’s Son by Geoff Nelder

His worlds are full of anomalies that draw on real-life quantum quirks, cosmic paradoxes and biological anomalies, and his aliens are both delightfully bizarre and yet somehow plausible. He is a writer who knows his sci-fi tropes well enough to twist them into a Möbius strip and take them to new places while still providing plenty of easter eggs to keen readers of the genre.  

A review of Magician Among the Spirits by Charles Rammelkamp

In any biography of a great and celebrated figure, we’re always carried along by the climb to the top of their field.  And it’s the same here.  We applaud as Houdini goes from triumph to triumph, accompanied by his darling wife Bess, and even more by his first great love, his Mama.  Inevitably, the crash occurs, if not the fall from grace, then at least the consequences of advancing years. 

A Review of The Sounds of Life by Karen Bakker

Between and around the book’s hard science, the author wraps accessible and warmly told human narratives such as the tale of the dying man who on his last sea trip first realized whales communicated with each other. Thus, The Sounds of Life is filled with a certain kind of wild, brilliant charm that makes it very readable for the scientific and the nonscientific minded alike.

“A poem is an object made of words”: A conversation with Flemish poet, novelist, and art critic, Willem M. Roggeman

In re-reading the interview now, it is clear that Gary Snyder was just an entry point for me to have a conversation with a true renaissance man of poetry. I’m reminded of the Pakistani proverb that says when you share the first cup of tea, you are a stranger. With the second cup, you are a friend, and with the third cup, you become family. Mr. Roggeman and I sipped coffee during our conversation, and it was clear that we quickly moved through the three cups from strangers to friends.

A review of Hello Nothingness by Eric Stiefel

The contradictory images reflect themes throughout Stiefel’s verse, which oscillates between nihilism and contentment – or at least resignation and a sensual appreciation of the ephemera of the world. As he writes in the opening poem, “Lest”: “I devour everything I can, the mind defaced, a tattered gown, strawberry leaf, a statue, half-submerged.”

A review of thresholds by Philip Radmall

This ability to make us, as readers, ‘opener and unfamiliar’ is one the poet exploits deftly, peeling away any preconceptions we may have until we, too, see and feel his world anew. In part, this is down to his style. A novelist as well as a poet, Radmall’s poetry has many prose-like traits, in particular a freedom from rhyme or metre, heavily enjambed lines, and the hovering arc of a narrative.