RaveTupelo QuarterlyThere is something gritty that catches in your teeth when you read Akbar’s work, sharp-edged words that when linked together suddenly slip off your tongue. His poems are ordered streams of chaos; they try to contain innumerable ideas but are reined in by uniform lines and in-line rhyme ... Every time I read Calling a Wolf a Wolf it pulls me in deeper, demonstrating to me that humanity is by nature subject to vice, sin, recovery, relapse, etc. A book that seems so specific in scope broadens itself to the close reader, who might see in a self-portrait their own reflection ... If the confessional styles of modern poets Jericho Brown and Rachel Mennies are anathema to you, this book is unlikely to please you, but if you enjoy seeing yourself in the trials and tribulations of another, Akbar is likely to delight ... There are so many other dichotomies and queries that Akbar deconstructs ... To read the book all at once is to hold a sustained and purposefully painful conversation that is ultimately enlightening at its close.
RaveThe Brooklyn Rail... the stunning poems in this volume frequently end not with a final line, but instead with dictionary entries, translating spoken words into American Sign Language. In such a way, the poems transcend speech, just as Stonecipher’s prose paragraphs embrace elision and rupture if only for possibility to accumulate within their luminous architectures ... Within the world of these poems, silence becomes both a foreshadowing and an appeal, as these gaps leave room for the reader to participate in the poems’ revolutionary politics.
RaveTupelo Quarterly... a stunning interplay of poetic structures and voices ... The motifs of deafness and silence are seamlessly paired via their cause-and-effect relationship, as well as the motif of watching—the speakers’ desperate appeal for a witness and judgment. As different speakers issue prayers to God, the ultimate witness and judge, so does Deaf Republic call forth a witness—to listen ... Kaminsky wields an intelligent array of motifs in the body and its exposure, as well as the body’s symbiotic relationship with puppets ... ultimately links the ubiquity of ignorance with its destructive outcomes: in boys who desire to kill a man but have no idea how, in two nations for whom the speaker pleads forgiveness for doing nothing as America and the bodies of boys fall.
Craig Morgan Teicher
MixedThe New York Times Book Review\"Teicher perceptively identifies the philosophical undercurrents in much of 20th- and 21st-century poetry and highlights important patterns of poetic influence. Yet he tends to neglect another key part of any poet’s development: the awakening of his or her political sensibility ... By overlooking questions of social justice and the politics of language, Teicher offers us a portrait of these poets that, however well rendered, is nevertheless incomplete.\