A Cottonmouth with a Laptop: A review of Stay Gone Days by Steve Yarbrough

Some forty years ago, in Jackson, not far Loring, a similar bottle of Four Roses was opened. It’s a significant detail in this story of the Cole sisters, that ends where it began, that comes full circle, with many detours along the way. Individuals, with marked differences, both sisters are resilient, vulnerable, and passionate, characters so life-like a reader feels “the air making contact with their skin.”

A review of Earshot by Sam Morley

Sam Morley is a brilliant storyteller, the stories in the poems are written in a language that is dynamic and stylistic as well as entertaining. The work evokes emotions, coupled with strong tension, but not in a heavy way.

A review of Lady Director by Joyce Chopra

Only, how to break into the male-dominated world of film? Not that that was her explicit goal when she graduated, but one thing she did not want to do?  “There weren’t many jobs available for a young woman of twenty-one with a degree in comparative literature,” she writes, but she didn’t want to become a secretary. If she did that, “I would irrevocably land on the slippery slope to nowhere.”

Love of Language: an Affirmation: A Review of Tina Cane’s Year of the Murder Hornet

The title poem is a road map to the rest of the collection, both in content and in form.  The poem begins with a “cloud of pollen” that chases the ‘I’ and encompasses a myriad of recent occurrences:  being “overpowered” by magnolia petals, which the reader might consider positive, but which overwhelms the ‘I’; the “murder hornet” itself, that threatens on a literal level but also represents the consequences of human behavior, such as the increasing frequency of viruses like the coronavirus, weather and climate change, and the horrors in the daily news.  

A review of The Night Divers by Melanie McCabe

As you move through the poetry in this collection, it may seem as if the writer is resolved to experience her pain in its most primordial form, without barrier, defense, or comfort. Such sentiments break the surface in “Martyr”: “I permit myself neither opiate nor anodyne. I poke my finger straight into the socket—press my tongue hard to the ice-slick chain link.” The atonement of a survivor is operative here, but there is more.

A review of V8 by PS Cottier and Sandra Renew

A book about cars, motorbikes, etc? How strange I said to myself and wondered what poems about vehicles would look like.  With what enthusiasm would I be reviewing it if I have no attachment or love for any form of transport? I knew that both poets were excellent writers and award winners so that gave me hope. Anxiously, I opened the book and started to read…and was mesmerised from the first few poems.

An Interview with Xu Xi, author of Monkey in Residence and Other Speculations

Xu Xi is an Indonesian-Chinese novelist, fiction writer, and essayist from Hong Kong who became a U.S. citizen at the age of 33. Author of fifteen books, including, most recently, Monkey in Residence and Other Speculations (Signal 8 Press, UK, November 1, 2022), This Fish is Fowl: Essays of Being (Nebraska 2019), Dear Hong Kong: An Elegy for A City (Penguin 207), That Man in Our Lives (C&R 2016), she also co-authored The Art and Craft of Asian Stories (Bloomsbury, 2021). In this interview she talks about her latest book, her inspiration, her typical writer’s day, and more.