Maureen Alsop’s Mantic (Augury Books, 2013) has recently been reviewed in the University of Salzburg’s biannual Poetry Salzburg Review, based in Austria. British-American poet Robert Peake calls Alsop’s collection a “bewitching book of divinations.” Though the magazine is only available in print, subscriptions and individual issues, including issue 26, are available for purchase over at PSR’s site.
We are excited to acknowledge the recent review of Frances Justine Post (BEAST, Augury Books, 2014) on Sabotage Review. The review, written by Cecelia Bennet, discusses the ‘multifaceted self,’ focusing on the sense of danger and power struggles within BEAST.
“These features are integral to the collection as a whole, and serve only to emphasise the wildly fragmented self that it portrays. In Beast, Frances Justine Post’s poems tell a story from every conceivable angle. To do this, she presents us with a series of surprising self-portraits: ‘Self-Portrait as a Witch’ exists alongside ‘Self-Portrait as Maelstorm’, ‘Self-Portrait in the Shadow of a Volcano’, ‘Self-Portrait in the Body of a Whale’, and even ‘Self-Portrait as the Crumbs You Dropped’. The face of the narrative changes constantly. Read together the poems create a sense of a wider story of torn hearts, conflicting reactions, bitter struggle. In this sense, the collection is very well put together: by encouraging us to fill in the gaps and interact with the book as a whole, Post draws her readers through an intensely intimate journey.”
We are excited to acknowledge that Pennsylvania-based journal Print-Oriented Bastards has recently interviewed Frances Justine Post (BEAST, Augury Books, 2014). The interview, conducted by Ines Pujos, POB’s senior editor, covers questions of process, environmental influence, and the overall aesthetics of BEAST.
Post: ‘Self-Portrait as Beast’ was the first self-portrait poem I’d ever written. Though it was new to me, there is a long tradition of self-portrait poems (Lucie Brock-Broido and John Ashbery come to mind). I found myself most drawn to writing ‘Self Portrait as…’ poems. Rather than writing straight-up self-portrait poems about my actual self, I started treating them as almost-persona poems. In these poems, I’m not really trying to speak in the voice of someone else. I am still the speaker; I just try on different skins for a little while.”
The whole of the interview, as well as the rest of issue 4, can be read online!
Frances Justine Post’s Beast (Augury Books, 2014) has received a micro-review in the latest edition of The Boston Review. Kay Cosgrove, poetry editor at Gulf Coast,
commented on Beast‘s aesthetic approach and thematic development:
Though the collection’s narrative arc is familiar… the phrasing Post uses to convey it is dazzling, dangerous, visceral, and new… The poems dismantle the binaries of you and me, then and now, self and other, and singular and plural as they investigate, almost obsessively, how experience uproots and shapes us.”
The September/October issue is now available on newsstands. Additionally, each article from the current issue will soon be available to read online. Check back at The Boston Review’s site for updates.
UPDATE: The review is now online here.
The latest issue of the Alabama-based quarterly Prick of the Spindle features a review of Maureen Alsop’s Mantic (Augury Books, 2013) by poet Christopher R. Vaughan, who speaks of the themes in Mantic and how they function:
‘Mantic’ means ‘of or relating to the faculty of divination: prophetic,’ according to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary. Alsop’s collection is indeed largely a tour of mantic poems whose helpful subtitles state the exact type of divination being attempted . . . . Mantic is a fascinating and consistently inventive exploration into the depths of experience. There is an ocean of feeling here, and the collection is at its most successful when the author brings a clear shape to the painful and dark currents running through the book.”
Read the full review here.
Rain Taxi Review of Books is a Minneapolis-based quarterly review of literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. We are excited to announce a rave review of Halina Duraj’s The Family Cannon, written by Benjamin Woodard, in their current issue for Spring. Woodard acknowledges the central emotional ties of the collection:
Spun through the eyes of Magda, the daughter of Polish immigrants, these linked narratives bob between the familiar—growing old, betrayal, angst—and those unique to Magda’s lineage—accounts of Holocaust survival, fear of Nazis, summers overseas—creating a slim volume that nevertheless provides strong emotional resonance.”
Halina Duraj’s THE FAMILY CANNON (Augury Books, 2014) was recently featured in the Salt Lake Tribune, along with four other new books with Utah-related storylines and themes. The Tribune writes of Duraj:
“While living in Utah, Duraj says her writing was influenced by the drama of the desert landscape and local landmarks, such as the Oquirrh Mountains, which for a time she thought were named for the color ochre. ‘All that subtly influenced the way I was writing, which became more spare,’ she says. Her stories are carefully observed, never overexplained, while the language is both playful and precise. The collection’s final story, ‘The Company She Keeps,’ is searingly honest and particularly heartbreaking.”
See the full article here.
Quarterly West is a literary journal put together by the PhD writing program at the University of Utah. The most recent issue houses a review of Halina Duraj’s The Family Cannon (Augury, 2014) by Shena McAuliffe, who has detailed time and possession of memory in Duraj’s book graphically (chronology pictured above). McAuliffe relishes the emotional weight that Duraj’s stories hold:
“At the end of each story, I had to take a break before moving on to the next—a break from the disappointed desires, the steadfast self-sacrificing mother, the madness and the ghosts, the struggle to remember, to say things just as they should be said. In the end, what is most striking about Duraj’s book is how it moved me; it exhausted me in the way that a good story should.”
I made the mistake I warned you about … the misstep of trying to understand before experiencing … [until] I stopped shoving the stuff through the rational processor and let it flow through the prism of my imagination as I should have done to begin with.”
Leary encourages Friedman’s readers to open themselves up to a similar experience:
I want to entangle your attention, leave you befuddled, get you to experience what David Joel Friedman is doing ….”
Read the whole review by Daniel Leary via the American Book Review here.
“As the ‘-mancy’ titles suggest, Mantic is as a much a lexical read (or listen—read aloud) as it is an exploration of reaction; Mantic is beautiful for its teaching verse and for its honesty: with poem after poem inspired by divining, Alsop points to the many ways humanity has attempted to shape the world in its favor, whether that favor comes from desire or fear. As a result, the poems shift from their theses and speak less of divining and prediction than what innately drives these practices and, ultimately, humanity.” —Matthew Girolami, Cleaver Magazine — Read the full review here