Book cover of 'Obit'


The Shadowless Gravedigger: On Victoria Chang’s “Obit”

BY Erin Redfern

The prose poems and tankas in Victoria Chang’s Obit are less traditional elegies than a series of verbal proofs through which Chang investigates those aspects of experience––grief, pain, love––that seem beyond our capacity to represent them. “Language fails us” more than once in this collection (it gets three obituaries of its own), and yet words are what the speaker of these poems must use both “to calculate my grief” and to convey it. These poems’ generous, meticulous record of grieving is inseparable from Chang’s retooling of poetic form and language.

Cover art for the The Seas, which depicts an illustration of a crying mermaid.


The Seas: An Experience in Madness

BY Shilo Niziolek

The continual undercurrent of her inability to see properly, the sense that she believes it is love that is clouding her vision, brings me to understand more clearly the dissonance of the narration, that I only see what she can see, and what she sees is distorted by her own mental unstableness and by the reality which I know: that love and grief cloud my vision, that when I am swimming and open my eyes, my sight is blurry. What I think I see may be altogether different than what actually exists.

Book cover of 'Marrying Kind'


“Elation and Hollowed-Out Sorrow”: On K.L. Cook’s Marrying Kind

BY Michelle Donahue

The collection’s novelistic complexity stems primarily from its constant depictions of events, characters, themes, and obsessions from multiple angles. We savor repeated glimpses of characters like Laura, a small-town girl from the Texas Panhandle, or Hartley, a history professor turned dean. We witness these characters’ promising beginnings and violent, unfinished ends: wedding days and honeymoons, heart attacks and domestic violence.