RaveLibrary JournalZenith fastens a mysterious literary figure to history. His careful account does not exempt Pessoa from the bigotry of the early 20th century, but instead details how Pessoa’s firsthand observations of European imperialism, young democracy, and the Great War influenced his work. In this extensively researched biography, Zenith’s candid and questioning tone is refreshing and necessary to recognize moments of considerable uncertainty about Pessoa. Blending research with literary analysis, Zenith is quick to acknowledge when archives offer limited information ... Essential to academic collections, this biography is also accessible to general audiences interested in the potential of art that does not imitate life.
RaveLibrary JournalHerrera’s clear, piercing language both manifests and foils the allure of the society her mother calls \'Upper Bohemia.\' Herrera’s craft shines in her ability to write candidly about class and privilege in a memoir dedicated to childhood wonder.The book imparts a desire for belonging and parental affirmation; Herrera writes affectionate and at times scandalous portraits that preserve her younger self, her siblings, her parents, and her parents’ lovers, sometimes with images of their naked bodies. And yet, the romance she best preserves in this memoir is her relationship with Cape Cod, a pastoral setting of lost generational wealth and intense familiarity ... Herrera’s memoir engages in discussions of mental health, equality, and fulfillment without passing judgement on her subjects; a rare feat. A riveting story of necessary resilience.
PositiveThe Kenyon ReviewDonika Kelly’s The Renunciations is not content with the singular equivalencies of metaphor. Kelly’s second collection balances transformation and definition, constructing a space beyond naming. These lyric poems offer a resilient \'I,\' enlarged to hold the self and memory of the self (\'Now\' and \'Then\') which is to say, the range of human experience which we so often deem impossible for ourselves to carry (and yet we do). That is Kelly’s craft: to manifest two unlike things and say they do not negate one another ... Hers is the divination of the nonbeliever: to make a whole out of parts, or more aptly, to accept parts without a compulsion for completion. In doing so, Kelly engenders her speaker with her own authority of present feeling ... Kelly suggests we are no more than what we are, \'we are the small animals we’ve always been,\' and yet what we have been does not exclude a human potential for change—even change that is yet without language. In a collection which asserts the physical nature of the body, of bodies together—which is to say our humanity—Kelly engenders the intangible, an uncertainty which allows the body to be more than its negation. The body does not engage in linear logic but in becoming.