I love reading. I’d better. It’s sorta what I get paid to do. But with professional obligations to read and write, it’s sometimes difficult to remember to read and write for fun. But I’ve been making more of an effort lately, and I’ve made some headway through my substantial to-read list. Why not follow me on Goodreads to keep abreast of what’s going on with my bookshelf?
Here’s what I’ve finished lately, in no particular order.
1. Columbia Poetry Review #26
Always read the journals that have published your work, even if it takes you a year to do so. So many great writers in here, including bigger names like Rae Armantrout and Oliver de la Paz along with some great poets whom I’ve had the pleasure meeting and drinking with such as Nick Courtright, Abigail Zimmer, and Daniel Scott Parker. I dog-eared a lot of the pieces in this nearly 200-page journal, but other poets of mention that particularly got to me were Kimberley Grey, JA Tyler, Tony Trigilio, Justin Limoli, and Traci Brimhall. You can pick up your copy of issue 26 here, or just get a subscription while you’re at it.
2. The Invention of Monsters (iO Books, 2014)
by Summer Ellison & C Dylan Bassett
Such a great little chapbook. I’ve read it like five times over the past several weeks. Monsters, monsterism, and monster-related ideas always fascinate me, as do poetry collections set as as one-act plays. The language is intoxicating, and you find more connections with each read-through. I wanted to give you a link to buy this, but it might be all gone. Check out the other iO titles instead.
3. Oyez Review, vol. 41
Always read the journals that have published your work, pt. 2. I got through this collection rather quickly, which I always take as a good sign. Some really standout work by D. Dina Friedman, Jim Warner, and Cathy Warner. Get your copy here!
Obviously I’m going to read whatever my Diegesis collaborator is going to put out. And he puts out a lot. He’s kinda super prolific. There are certain themes you can always count on with my friend’s work: murder and religion. He never quite approaches these themes in the same way though, so it has been interesting to watch the way he unpacks these concepts through the course of his different collections. Here, like When the Wolves Quit, he uses the play-in-verse format to explore this world, where aliens have arrived to tell the humans about why they’re wrong about god. There’s this yearning in the collection, this feeling that opposing sides secretly want to comes together (“We drink from the same water”) but just can’t quite get there. You can buy it here.
5. Gigantic Sequins 5.1
When I was at AWP in Seattle this year, I came across the journal’s cover (see above) and pretty much had to buy it. Fortunately, it was as much a pleasure to read as it was to look at. Standout writers include Carolyn Williams-Noren, Rachael Katz, Matthew Fee, Chase Burke, and Pablo Pinero Stillmann. You can get your copy here.
6: So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel (Berkley Trade, 2012)
This book is fun-ish, but don’t mistake it for some high art. It’s a comedic book meant for small doses. And that’s why it works so well as toilet literature. There are so many books in my house that even my bathroom has a library. The authors rely a great deal on that kind of modern, self-aware humor that I myself am guilty of from time to time, but which now I realize grows pretty tiresome when spanning the entire length of the book. The concept of the book is fine, as is the execution. But I would have recommended the authors reconsider the structure during the planning stage. I’m not sure why they thought 320 pages of essentially one-liners would work.