Positive3:AM MagazineIn spite of his purported pursuit of revelations concerning quietude, mindful presence, and aloneness, in Big Cabin, Ron Padgett exposes the interconnectivity of past and present, the ways our conception of self is defined in relation to others, and how our inescapable sentience and use of language is what both connects and estranges us from the world around us ... Just as moods and opinions waver while the self maintains a fundamental cohesiveness, the essay and poems contained in Big Cabin shift rapidly, often from line-to-line, in perspective and tone, while thematically complimenting each other ... The reflective commentary that Padgett includes in his text centers his poetry in a place of immediacy—that elusive sensation that he seems to be chasing throughout the collection. Nonetheless, he is trailed by his past, by his youthhood which crops up as a voice of judgment or whimsy ... In his poem \'Sweeping Away,\' he resolves to not write poetry, yet in doing so he subjects the poem to a place of reflection upon the process of reflection. In another instance he uses fun, meaningless sound-words like \'glump glump\' to delight in the act of making sound—this may be the closest Padgett comes to being fully present in the collection, however, its function is to probe into the idea of language stripped of communication and therefore is again inextricably tied to the process of sentient reflection.
PositiveCommonplace Review\"Since When is a sentimental prayer to the great artists Berkson knew, not unlike a bittersweet and light-hearted speech delivered at a memorial service. The qualities of artistic work he describes are as anecdotal as a memorable encounter at a party ... Since When is a sentimental prayer to the great artists Berkson knew, not unlike a bittersweet and light-hearted speech delivered at a memorial service. The qualities of artistic work he describes are as anecdotal as a memorable encounter at a party ... In his own way, Berkson seems to address the issue of art vs. artist, that tried question regarding whether a work of art can be judged in isolation from the actions of the artist ... When art becomes involved in power structures, such an approach to the artist’s relationship to art as that may be drawn from Berkson’s final adieus quickly devolves into what may be perceived as doe-eyed optimism.\
Jean-Jacques Schuhe, Trans. by Jeffrey Zuckerman
PositiveCommonplace ReviewDusty Pink, a forthcoming release in English translation, is a cluttered, chaotic text which meets you only as far as you’re willing to meet it. It can be flipped through with as much attention as scrolling through an instagram feed, to which it will give confused and disjointed impressions which buzz above the cerebral cortex. Or it can be studied and meditated on, to which it will still give confused and disjointed impressions, but along with that, some contemporarily eternal thoughts on simulacra ... Schuhl’s approach is a kind of laissez-faire parenting, to let it happen, and consider the consequences from afar ... Though it is, to me, such a clumsy, careless thing to be undone by the doing. If simplicity is elegance, I concede--how simple and inevitable for us to have ended up here!
PositiveThe Commonplace ReviewA whirling text which instinctively launches itself down the streets of Buenos Aires ... a bleak portrait of how humans operate--that we are trapped in our own animalistic natures in a world where to live is to shun individual truth.
RaveThe Commonplace ReviewI was hooked on Moschovakis—after finishing Eleanor, or, the Rejection of the Progress of Love, I immediately ordered a previously published collection of her poetry, They and We Will Get into Trouble for This, and then began re-reading the book I had just completed, feeling that surreal sensation that a book had been written just for me. Given Moschovakis’s poetic background, her prose is marvelously rich with meaning, conceptually dense and precise in phrasing ... Although its prose is palatable, Eleanor is a fairly cerebral text, often in the vein of the anti-social autofiction of late, which primarily concerns the human relationship to self and thought rather than people. Moschovakis does not shy away from contemplating the age-old question of the extent to which fiction is colored by imagination, and to what extent it is autobiographical. It is, at the end of the day, a book which is concerned with process as it pertains to reading and writing, art and understanding ... It is...less important to the text that Moschovakis alludes to particular pieces [of art] than that she explores the act of self-discovery through art, that Eleanor embarks on a trip toward meaning, has her own personal relationship to art, and arrives at conclusions of meaning that are not necessarily dictated by the external, but curates her own collection of symbols that guide her, as if constellations guiding a ship’s nighttime path toward unknown lands.
Chico Buarque (trans. by) Alison Entrekin
PositiveCommon Place ReviewAutobiographical fiction which follows protagonist Ciccio de Hollander’s mission to track down a long-lost brother Sergio ... The story is woven in with the displacement of WWII, through leftist disappearances during Brazil’s military dictatorship, and into the modern age of social media ... My German Brother delivers a tragic account of a man who outsources his sense of self and uses literature as a social tool rather than as a form of human discovery. Yet if Buarque was aware of this estrangement, he does not directly condemn his protagonist in the text, rarely succumbing to self-criticism or self-reflection. The novel is matter-of-fact in its account of historical events, not batting an eye at the disappearances of the protagonist’s best friend and brother at the hands of the military dictatorship. From reflection on the text, whether or not it is Buarque’s intention, arises a question of what is lost in emotional dissociation.