Eilish is wry in the way of the enfant terrible but also scary, a bad seed with a beat box and an hermetical disposition that runs to chaos. At first, I thought she’d sprung fully angst-ed out of the head of some A&R woman. The maturity of her lyrics and the fierce, unwavering satire in her phrasing and in her tunes—all a clever ploy for pop stardom in the vein of a DJ Alanis Morrisette or a more whispery Bjork.
The Weekend is about so many things: preconceptions, societal norms, continuity and difference, about the self and about relationships, but most particularly about friendship and what it means to be both separate individuals in this world throughout life changes, and also the ways in which we are implicitly connected and collective.
Capista is a skilled poet. His verses command the satisfying circularity of those first two poems, the variety of free verse lines, lull of assonance and repetition, questioning of a philosopher’s observations, mesmerizing rhymes occasional or throughout a poem, and pages sprinkled with sonnets and villanelles.
A Superior Spectre is deftly constructed piece of literature. It sits shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the greats. Thematically it is a worthy companion-piece to Angela Carter’s The Passion of New Eve. Structurally it folds like the origami of Italio Calvino’s If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler, and Jennifer Egan’s The Keep. Stylistically it employs some of the fuzzy voice of China Mieville’s This Census Taker, where the who and when of the narrator becomes blended and circular.
Blackford’s prose is silky smooth and the book reads quickly, driven by its fantasy narrative and the way in which historical detail is covered. Though the story has paranormal overtones, shifting as it does between the two timeframes, and the shapeshifting villain and ghosts that move between the worlds, The Girl in the Mirror is relevant to a 21st century reader.
In Ivory, Goldstein has created a place that exists only on its own terms. There is no bridge or overlap; Ivy’s different lives exist side by side. She moves from one to the other with little effort because no effort is necessary. Ivy is able to deal with the chaos that comes with the talent attractive to a muse.
Sybil Baker’s latest novel is While You Were Gone (IPPY Silver Medal). In this interview with novelist Ketaki Datta, Baker talks about balancing the demands of writing and teaching, about living in Chattanooga, her students and their impact on her work, her plot and character development, on the integration between showing and telling, and lots more.
Loss and grief are rooted in a large part of the Haitian diaspora identity and manifests both overtly and covertly throughout these stories. Danticat is meticulous in her writing about Haiti and its people’s complex relationship with the U.S. In each character’s search for a better life, she magnifies the usually unexplored grief that comes with years of generational trauma and migration.
The author of The Blue Island and many other poetry collections talks about his work, the influence of being a resident of Washington, why he loves poetry, his awards, and more.
Like a scientist of existential torment, with a Ph.D. in Angst Studies, Francine Witte spells out the origins of regret, heartbreak and loss in this comprehensive, tender collection of poems.