Behind My Eyes by Li-Young Lee

Li-Young Lee’s fifth book of poetry, Behind My Eyes, is a tender hymn to the hardships of his childhood, expertly combining the feelings of an adult who’s seen too much of the world with the innocence of a child who doesn’t understand the world’s injustice.

He opens with a poem entitled “In His Own Shadow,” and one gets the feeling he is talking about himself in the third person. The boy in the poem is affected by the line: “While all bodies share the same fate, all voices do not,” and it is this line that carries interest into the following poetry.

Seven Days In Rio by Francis Levy

In addition to holding a third-degree black belt, Francis Levy knows a thing or two about raising hell. Still, after glutting his first two novels with a blitz of psychosexual disorders and more bare-assed buggery than a stroke mag, should a stranger stop Levy on the subway and gush about being a huge, HUGE fan, the author’s first instinct would have to be an uh-oh backward step.

Creative Engagement with Roxane Gay’s Ayiti

As someone who rabidly composes and reads mixed-genre works it is often the case that I can only open a book of “prose” or “stories” and read a small portion of it before I begin to get distracted or frustrated. I admit that I am a stimulus junkie and the usual pace of more traditional prose or story-based works is hard for me to stay in.

Cut Through The Bone by Ethel Rohan

In Act I of Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman is growing increasingly upset at his lack of accomplishment. At sixty years old, he is working on commission, he can’t manage to pay his bills without borrowing money from his neighbor, and his son Biff is working odd jobs on ranches out West, directionless. Willy bemoans the current state of life to his wife, Linda. He has been working his entire life and it has all added up to nothing. Even when they finally pay off their house, there will be nobody to live in it, to which Linda replies, “Well, dear, life is a casting off.

Silent Music by Adam Wyeth

To ask an American poet about international verse is often a waiting game, wherein one counts how many ticks of the second hand it takes for the responder to sing Neruda’s praises, quizzically gaze out the window, and deftly change the subject after a dramatic pause like a Wes Anderson protagonist. With the proliferation of, and plurality within, our many aesthetic cliques, it is lamentable that so few of us (this reviewer included) break out and explore the many emerging voices in the grand chorus of English language poetry.

Hard To Say by Ethel Rohan

I began reading Ethel Rohan’s Hard to Say(PANK 2011), a slim volume of very short fiction, with very little exposure to her previous work. I’m not sure what I was expecting from those fifteen little stories, but it’s fair to say that I was unprepared for just how deeply I would be affected by them.

Tongue Party By Sarah Rose Etter

When I first received Sarah Rose Etter’s Tongue Party in the mail, I knew nothing about it other than it had won the 2010 Caketrain chapbook competition. In hindsight, I’m extremely glad I knew nothing about this collection, because watching each beautiful, terrifying, utterly bizarre story unfold is part of what makes reading this cohesive collection so enjoyable.

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