Publishers Weekly

Writer and translator Nathanaël’s (The Middle Notebooks) latest is a slim, obscure “scenario” in which philosophical musings on architecture, the photographic image, and epistemology are layered atop a bare-bones narrative foundation. History, this elliptical book seems to imply, is too violent, chaotic, and vast to perceive in all its complexity; rather, the historical record is like a photograph left “to macerate too long in the developer...

Publishers Weekly Review for Hell Figures by E. Tracy Grinnell

Joined by the specters of Helen of Troy, Sappho, and Cassandra, Grinnell (Portrait of a Lesser Subject) roams "the terroir, of amnesia," in her accomplished collection. In one sense, these prominent women of classical literature are the eponymous "figures," but they have been ventriloquized through patriarchal narratives, authors, scholars, and millennia of literary transmission, so figuration constitutes these characters while also stripping them of subjecthood.


At its worst, experimental poetry can be unartful and careless, obfuscating whatever meaning and pleasure that might dwell in the text. At its best, it can call into question language, form, power—anything it pleases, really, through the act of making what we know of poetry new. Vi Khi Nao’s The Old Philosopher comfortably belongs in the latter category. And her subject? Many—Vietnam, violence, sexuality, love, art. But perhaps the most prominent subject is god.

Publishers Weekly

Renowned Lebanese-American writer Adnan (To Look at the Sea Is to Become What One Is) maps consciousness in a book-length poem that explores night in all its permutations. Though she is more elliptical and fragmentary here—and less narrative-driven or referential—than in previous work, these poems engage in a daring, meditative exploration of perception and her own experiences. Adnan does this with a courageous interiority that becomes universal as the text unfolds.


Subscribe to Nightboat Books RSS