RaveThe Rumpus... has the same bracing humor and strong voice that we’ve come to expect from [Hannaham] ... the format of poems and microfictions allows Hannaham to achieve the seemingly disparate ends of both making bigger jokes and also engaging more directly with philosophical questions, which are hard to address in longer-form narrative without becoming tedious ... This prosaic quality, which recurs throughout the collection, may make us wonder why \'Dear White Woman\' is a poem instead of something longer, like an essay. That it’s one of the strongest pieces in the collection may make us wonder if Hannaham, by writing a poetry collection, is constraining himself for no good reason. But these prosaic moments—some of which are the funniest in the book, not just the most thoughtful—stand out in contrast to the rest of the collection, which moves quickly, its ideas zipping around with almost electric energy. And such moments stand out, too, from extra-textual elements like the Pessoa citations and the many photographs ... If, like me, you loved Delicious Foods and have been waiting for an encore, the mishmash of poems and photographs you find in your hands here might make you nervous, but by its end you’ll be glad that James Hannaham made the choices he did.
Grace Elizabeth Hale
PositiveThe Georgia Review... an insider’s perspective, but with the thorough research typical of her profession. The result is less a music or history book than a work of cultural anthropology in which Hale, rather than celebrate and catalog Athens music, contextualizes the music as the most visible product of a culture both experimental and insular, and of a community that nurtured its artists ... We see in the Athens of Cool Town the beginnings of the indie culture we may recognize today, and yet the book stops short of convincing us that Athens truly changed American culture, as the title suggests. Artists and musicians still struggle to reconcile ambition and craft, and most still operate in the margins of even as nurturing a city as Athens. Most still struggle to make inroads beyond the arts in the city, let alone in the rest of America. And yet there’s much to admire in a group of people who strove, and continue to strive, to live according to their own values.