From De Quincey to Abramovic to the Beatles | Arts Previews, Oct. 2016, Pt. 3

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Abramovic, Marina. Walk Through Walls: Becoming Marina Abramovic. Crown Archetype. Oct. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9781101905043. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781101905050. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. ART/MEMOIR Preeminent performance artist Abramovic has been stripped, burned, and cut and has sat with a loaded gun to her head or simply sat for hours—all in the name of an art that […]

Literary Glitter from Kleeman, Livesey, Towles, & More | Fiction Previews, Sept. 2016, Pt. 3

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Altrad, Mohed. Badawi. Black Cat: Grove Atlantic. Sept. 2016. 256p. ISBN 9780802125798. pap. $16. LITERARY Drawing on his own life to craft this first novel, Syrian-born French billionaire Altrad relates the story of Maïouf, a Bedouin boy who resists familial pressure to become a shepherd after his mother dies, abandoned and repudiated. Instead, he sneaks […]

Spring 2016 Poetry: Top Picks

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From Frank Bidart’s contained drama and Rita Dove’s blazingly heartfelt exploration of self and history, to the engaging openness of Campbell McGrath and Maureen McLane, to the shape-shifting formal verve of Tyehimba Jess and Brenda Shaughnessy, to the sheer burning wit of Kim Addonizio and Bob Hicok, poetry today is so rich and varied that, […]

Reading the World | Fiction in Translation

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New fiction in translation from smaller presses includes literary titles, YA, and more.

Key Poets To Discover and Rediscover, Including Juan Felipe Herrera | Poetry Previews, Fall 2015

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Equi, Elaine. Sentences and Rain. Coffee House. Oct. 2015. 100p. ISBN 9781566894210. pap. $16.95. POETRY Sharp-eyed, witty, and ever able to nail the mood or idea in distilled language—“A slight implies/ if not an insult/ (real or imagined)/ at least something/ unpleasant—/a slight cold,/ a slight headache”—Equi here ranges across the contemporary landscape, from clones […]

Literary Reads from Ivan Doig, Alice LaPlante, Andreï Makine, & More | Fiction Previews, Aug. 2015, Pt. 2

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Doig, Ivan. Last Bus to Wisdom. Riverhead. Aug. 2015. NAp. ISBN 9781594633638. $27.95. LITERARY Raised in the mid-1950s by his beloved grandmother in Montana’s Two Medicine Country, known to anyone who has read Doig’s big-sky novels, orphaned Donal Kyle feels as if he’s been tossed into cold water when Gram, recovering from surgery, sends him […]

Six Essential Debuts, from Quan Barry to M.O. Walsh | Fiction Previews, Feb. 2015, Pt. 1

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Barry, Quan. She Weeps Each Time You’re Born. Pantheon. Feb. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780307911773. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780307911780. LITERARY Barry writes quietly fervent poetry that’s been honored with an AWP Donald Hall Poetry Prize, which bodes well for her first foray into fiction. Heroine Rabbit is born along the Song Ma River as the Vietnam […]

Best Poetry 2013, the Extended Version: We’ve Got 12 Top Titles for You

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Officially, Library Journal lists five Best Poetry titles in its December issue, along with all the other Bests of the year. But my colleague Annalisa Pesek and I couldn’t stop there. After several rounds of reading and discussion, we found that the following 12 titles sifted out naturally as the works that grabbed our attention […]

Goodbye 2012: Terrific Story Collections and Small-Press Bests

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So many eye-popping short story collections, so many revelatory small-press literary novels, and such little space on those end-of-the-year Best lists. Fortunately, I have a venue for featuring Best Indie Novels and Best Stories Collections of 2012, which you’ll find presented below. In addition, since I get far too much good material throughout the year […]

Nonfiction Previews, Jul. 2013, Pt. 1: Klosterman, Kurlansky, and Conversations with Orson Welles

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Biskind, Peter, ed. My Lunches with Orson: Conversations Between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles. Metropolitan: Holt. Jul. 2013. 240p. ISBN 9780805097252. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780805097269. CD: Macmillan Audio. AUTOBIOG/ENTERTAINMENT Back when, the inimitable Orson Welles recorded a series of private conversations while lunching with director Henry Jaglom, a good friend. In the recently rescued tapes, […]