A review of Alterworld by Philip Salom

Woven throughout these poems is so much music, art, myth, magic, politics, and even the domestic, in such a silky and natural interplay, that it is possible to read them over and over, uncovering a little more each time. Though I think that each of the books is powerful in itself, having these three together creates a far grander picture, where each poem is informed by, changed, and strengthened by those around it. So we understand this imaginative work to be a multiverse, rich with hell and heaven together, and also our daily struggles – love, death, desire, and loss.

A review of I Let Go of the Stars in my Hand edited by Jane Ormerod, et al

According to the Introduction, I Let Go includes “some of the most experimental poems” that the editors have ever included in an anthology. In some, “the writers let go of more than just stars.” Poets Zev Torres “Jamnation” and Stephen Mead “Researching Plague” have created poems which do not lend themselves to being performed aloud; their cleverness is best appreciated on the printed page. Kit Kennedy’s “Fog Descends: I Walk into a Koan,” consisting of cryptic proverbs, and ending with “How many crows inhabit an imaginary tree?” provides food for meditation.

A review of The Yanks are Starving by Glen Craney

The “bonus” in “Bonus Army” or “Bonus Expeditionary Force” refers to the bonus for wartime service, a tradition in the U.S. ever since the War of Independence. A law passed in 1924 during the Coolidge administration stipulated that World War I veterans were to get a bonus in the form of a certificate redeemable twenty years later. In 1930 and 1931, when the impact of the economic downturn following the 1929 stock market crash was making itself felt, unemployed veterans demanded their bonus immediately.

An interview with Christopher Noxon

The author of Plus One talks about why he made the switch from journalism to fiction writing, about his foray into beads, about where the story for his first novel came from and how closely it aligns to his own story, how he came up with his illustrations, his creative process, what’s next for him and lots more.

A review of Wet by Toni Stern

There is definitely a welcomed playfulness in the poems of Wet. However, one needs to search for it. Any practitioner of mindfulness would tell you that everything is a teacher if we but pay attention. Fortunately, there are books like Wet that helps lead the way.

A review of The No Nonsense Guide to Degrowth and Sustainability by Wayne Ellwood

Ellwood packs a great deal of information into his 192 pages. He discusses ominous signs of strain on the earth, such as the depletion of major world fisheries, the melting of Arctic ice, and depletion of fossil fuel resources. Capitalism, he says, is to blame for the relentless pillaging of Earth’s resources. Though capitalism “wears different masks…adapts to different political configurations,” the common denominator is growth. Like a shark, it constantly moves forward, consuming. Profit, not production, is its over-riding preoccupation, as Karl Marx pointed out.

A review of White Lady by Jessica Bell

Though a strong plot is what drives the book forward, it is characterisation that makes White Lady an engaging read. Mia is particularly well drawn, and the most pervasive voice through the book – her bravado and insecurity as she tries to deal with her mother’s betrayal providing a psychological anchor to the more chaotic story of drug deals and blood lust.

A review of Rrose to the Occasion by John Cage and Thomas Wulffen

Cage wrote once that chance (the use of aleatory procedures in composition) liberated him ‘from what I had thought to be freedom and which actually was only the accretion of habits and tastes.’ He abhorred whatever was consistent and predictable, hence his difficulties with German (though not only German) organisers, alluded to here. His creative ambition was to always transcend himself, and clearly this was for Cage an existential (spiritual) aspiration too.

A review of Beware of Pity by Stefan Zweig

Stefan Zweig’s only novel was published in 1939, on the eve of the Second World War and some three years before his death, and its tale of a naive army officer in pre-World War One Austria seems to be set wholly apart from the terrible times he was living through. But it would be a mistake, in my view, to see it as an escape into ‘the world of yesterday’. Instead, I’d read the novel as an attempt to locate the low poisonous roots of Nazism, roots which later found expression in the despicable doctrine of Lebensunwertes Leben, in the world that Zweig was so familiar with.