RaveBarrelhouseJericho Brown’s third book, The Tradition, is his most powerful, and his most technically accomplished, yet ... [a] stunning collection ... Grittier, more nuanced, more self-aware, wearier of the racism and violence around him, more aware of mortality and illness ... These poems are bitter, mature, sometimes funny reflections on our culture. They feel important without being ponderous, personal without being petty ... Brown’s poems still hum with their trademark lyricism ... The reader cannot ignore the steady refrain of violence in this book, violence particularly against the bodies of people of color ... The Tradition is riveting and rewarding, and although I have been a fan of all of Jericho Brown’s books, this might be the most moving and the most stark ... Jericho Brown creates in The Tradition a new kind of song, a new kind of lament, for a country and a self.
RaveBarrelhouse... uses deafness and sign language as a powerful metaphor for the capability to stand up to brutal regimes, the refusal to cooperate with evil, and our shared reactions to the violence of the world. It’s a book about love, the power of communication, horrific evil, and the double edge of silence ... If Kaminsky’s Dancing in Odessa was a joyful yet unsparing narrative of a boy, and the history of the city he came from, Deaf Republic is something altogether different: more ambitious, more sprawling, more imaginative ... One of the most impressive aspects of Deaf Republic is the way disability—the plague of deafness that the soldiers vow to annihilate—is an expression of rebellion, an act of defiance against inhumanity ... The poetic forms in this book indicate a narrative ambition that’s rarely seen in poetry collections. The story that Kaminsky intends to tell could have been contained just as easily in a play or in traditional lyric fiction. But Kaminsky’s ability to juxtapose stark reminders of evil with little pleasures could only be contained within the small, dense spaces of poetry ... challenges us to think about listening, silence, and communication in a world that regards both violence and joy with dull indifference ... offers a way to consider how we challenge the evils we encounter every day, and how we value the small pleasures offered in the time \'between bombardments.\'
RaveThe Rumpus\"I’ve been following Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s career since her first book, and her latest, Oceanic (released this April from Copper Canyon Press), is her strongest, most confident writing yet ... I believe she channeled her energy during that time into this powerful volume packed with intimate details of the creatures of the earth, as well as the passions of the speaker’s (and presumably the writer’s) life ... Nezhukumatathil has always been a skilled observer of nature, celebrating the natural world for its wonders and unique characters ... While Nezhukumatathil engages with dark themes in this book, she isn’t afraid to spend time on small moments of beauty and humor ... From sea stars to elephant tigers, from her children and husband to the speaker’s own scars, Oceanic conveys a rare sense of awe and unsentimental passion for the earth, its creatures, and the universe.\