A review of Baltimore Sons by Dean Bartoli Smith

For Baltimore has faded from its glory days, whenever those were. Some might say it was the nineteenth century, when Francis Scott Key and Edgar Allan Poe roamed the streets and major political parties held their nominating conventions in Baltimore. Smith’s nostalgia is for the sports heyday of the 1960’s when Unitas and the Colts ruled football and the Orioles were always in contention, and the NBA Bullets hadn’t yet left town for Washington. 

Paltry Arguments Lead to Ugly Consequences:A review of The Proud & the Dumb by Bob Freville

To sum it all up, The Proud and the Dumb is a fast-paced and funny political horror story that plays well with genre tropes while presenting its “monsters” with a opportunity for redemption. It is part dark comedy and part battle cry for reform. This short but sweet tale shines a light on the issues facing society today in a wholly entertaining yet less than fleshed out way. It seems to offer a brilliant but kind of stilted suggestion for how we might change course.

A review of Love Letter To Who Owns The Heavens by Corey Van Landingham

Van Landingham, fortunately, is in no danger of taking herself too seriously. The first page greets us with the dismembered hand of a statue thrusting its lone, attached finger to the heavens. The poems that serve as prologue and epilogue are separated from the first section of the book not by numerals or titles but with that image, which does its job and detaches us from any mood set by the lyrics. This image appears five times.

An interview with Joel Agee

Joel Agee, the author of The Stone World talks about his new book and the inspiration for it, the relationship between memory and fiction, his characters and themes, how he became interested in writing and translation, writing through quarantine, his favourite scene, and lots more.

A review of This Dark Country: Women Artists, Still Life and Intimacy in Early C20 by Rebecca Birrell

I adore this book, particularly as, growing up with a very creative single mother, I have intimate memories of spending one weekend where she, my brother and I  painted all the bath panels, doors and cupboards of one of our houses with mermaids, nudes and still-lifes, inspired by the Charleston Homestead. I was enthralled from a young age with the worlds these femme artists created, their dreaminess and boldness to go against the grain of strict class, sexuality and gender expectations.

A review of A Girl Should Be by Ruth Latta

The descriptive narrative sets the stage, allowing the reader to step into the story and feel a part of it. Dialogue is well constructed, paying particular attention to the topics of discussion and the vocabulary relevant to this era. The protagonist, Annie, is a fun-loving young woman with a passion to succeed, to make something of herself, and to follow her dreams. 

A review of Rain Violent by Ann Spiers

Spiers’ poems are haiku-like. In addition to what we may have learned about haiku in grade school—the tight syllable count, the reference to a season—haikus also juxtapose images and create a sudden sense of enlightenment. Instead of three lines, Spiers consistently makes these poems all four with syllables ranging from 7-10 a line, but they still retain a haiku’s compression, focus on imagery, and juxtaposition.

A review of Morning Will Come by Billy Lombardo

Billy Lombardo’s novel Morning Will Come captures a family in the unrelenting grip of grief. When Audrey and Alan Taylor’s teenage daughter Isabel goes missing, they and their two younger sons Dex and Sammy must contend with what remains, with the continuous presence of her absence. Lombardo both magnifies and expands this absence through language tight and unsparing.