Folks, there’s a new review of my chapbook, Box Cutters! This one’s by Elise Matthews, in American Microreviews and Interviews, and maybe I’m biased, but I think it’s a fascinating read. A lot of reviewers have paid a lot of attention to the “between the lines” stuff going on behind the stories, but Matthews goes the extra step and digs in deep between actual lines: she spends maybe half the review on just three sentences from the first story! I love close readings like that!
It gets dark and heavy so fast, from eating with his wife/girlfriend to accidentally-but-intentionally punching her. The narrator isn’t afraid of his failings, nor does he shy away from acknowledging responsibility for his actions.
This winds up being the gist of the whole review, focusing less on the bruises that most people find so interesting and more on the issues of shame and atonement:
The rest of the collection has similar pacing and depth, similar honesty from the characters. None of them seem ashamed of who they are—even when it feels like they maybe should be, like Lemuel in “Distance” or the narrator in “Dream With Enough Conviction.” These are characters who act a bit shamefully but don’t apologize for it.
I love reviews like this not because they’re so generous with my work (but they are so generous, and I’m so grateful!) but for their ability to show me my own work in new light. They show me new ways of seeing. It’s a gift, these reviews, and I can’t thank reviewers like Elise Matthews enough for them.
Ooh! And bonus review! Poet Michael Levan reviews the collection Leaving Clean from poet Natalie Giarratano! These are both grad school pals of mine, and I admire their poetry more than I can express, so it’s extra cool to see the one review the other, and even better to see that review alongside one of my book! Wins, all around!