:: Reviews archive ( click for articles pre-2006)

The Ugly-Pretty Lad: A review of Jolly Lad by John Doran published 06/07/2015

Jolly Lad

Jolly Lad is an addiction memoir, but one which deconstructs the macho bullshit, the self-pity and the outright lying that surrounds the literature of addiction. There are no platitudes here, no lost years, and although there is a struggle to be clean, Doran makes it clear that he enjoyed much of what he did. From kitchen-jousting tournaments as a student to remembering his first E at a DJ Shadow gig, a surprising number of his adventures are, though often borderline terrifying, highly amusing.

C.D. Rose reviews Jolly Lad by John Doran.

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The Scandal of Reality: A Response to On Wing by Róbert Gál published 15/06/2015

On Wing

Composed in encryptions, aphorisms, recollections, philosophical auspices, and esoteric—almost Delphic—fragments, Róbert Gál’s On Wing is a book of elaborate suffering, withdrawal and extreme impoverishment—an absence of life’s deceits. Gál’s art is both hysteria and euphoria; the world serving only as an instrument of pain, decorating each wound involuntarily resurfaced. For Gál the art, and act itself, of writing is an exercise in dismantling the world about us

Jared Daniel Fagen responds to On Wing by Róbert Gál, translated by Mark Kanak.

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In consideration of the head: A review of Severed by Frances Larson published 01/06/2015

Robley with mokomokai collection

Larson’s examination of the shrunken heads reveals a surprising underlying dynamic: many were created specifically to meet demand from Western traders in the nineteenth century. The Shuar in fact saw the head as rather insignificant compared to the power of the soul within. The head, once shrunken, is like an envelope after the letter has been taken out.

Thom Cuell reviews Severed by Frances Larson.

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Serie ospedaliera: A review of Hospital Series by Amelia Rosselli published 25/05/2015

Hospital Series

Rosselli desired to create stanzas that could be characterized by a new objectivity, what has been called a “collective orientation”, “where the I is the public, where the I is things, where the I is the things that happen.” This statement itself needs a moment or two to digest, a factor that a reader soon realizes is a commonplace when encountering Rosselli’s work.

Thea Hawlin reviews Hospital Series by Amelia Rosselli, translated by Deborah Woodard, Roberta Antognini and Guiseppe Leporace.

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Fragments, miracles, recurrences and likenesses: A review of F.M.R.L. by Daniela Cascella published 13/05/2015

F.M.R.L. by Daniela Cascella

Fifteen short chapters begin with a playful dialogue between sound and a writer, as Cascella seems to work out what she’s doing on the page before you, and then moving straight into the tangled yet lyrical description of that Scelsi quartet. As soon as you are oriented to that, Cascella moves again.

C.D. Rose reviews F.M.R.L. by Daniela Cascella.

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Léon Werth’s Flight from Paris published 12/05/2015

33 Daysnew 2

Léon Werth’s heroic examination of seemingly every event on this journey captures the existential drama of this long caravan. Yet it’s his search for an anchor in events that have estranged him from France that ensures the relevance of 33 Days.

Mark Tewfik on Léon Werth‘s 33 Days.

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how to pose for hustler published 08/05/2015


How to Pose for Hustler is memorable because it achieves a balance between emotions and sex, grit and poetry, depression and hilarity, minutiae and universal themes. The stories in this collection deal with the world each of us carries inside, the world outside ourselves, and the uncomfortable ways in which those two worlds constantly crash into each other.

Gabino Iglesias on Andrea Kneeland‘s How to Pose for Hustler.

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Yuri Herrera’s Apocalyptic Quest published 06/05/2015


Here, in the interplay of shifting language, is the new; we see how their world expands and contracts, erases the old, and makes the world afresh. As with any true change, it hurts, it’s clumsy, inestimable, disliked by those who believe in authenticity or tradition.

Jason DeYoung on Yuri Herrera‘s Signs Preceding the End of the World.

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from a state of insecurity to a community of care published 01/05/2015


Lorey’s solution is what she terms a “community of care,” that is a community in which one’s relationship to others is emphasized… Her solution is therefore not an abandonment of politics, but rather a striving towards forms of self-government and resistance to precarization within current political models.

Max Sipowicz reviews Isabell Lorey‘s State of Insecurity, translated by Aileen Derieg.

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Passed over to a broken machine published 20/04/2015

To experience Mental Furniture is to be thrown by language. Patterns and recognisable phantom figures do appear as though intentional – dirty rabbit, the mother, water – but their presence is dependent upon a complex chaos of shifting time, and they rely upon this undoing. They punctuate the text like talismans, offering resistance, temporary steadying, recognition even. Then there are sections of fervent articulacy, where anger and fear crystallise and deliver something vicious, something potent. But where does that leave us, the readers?

Emily Beber on Claire Potter‘s Mental Furniture.

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