Really, for zombie lit, this sets the high-water mark of how it can be done, and demonstrates that there CAN be a good zombie novel that is even betteReally, for zombie lit, this sets the high-water mark of how it can be done, and demonstrates that there CAN be a good zombie novel that is even better than an on-screen depiction. There's very little to criticize along the way.
One of the best things IS that this book can be read aloud, and I personally highly recommend it be taken in that way, to appreciate the excellence of Brooks' writing here. :)
It would have been all too easy to say 'oral history of the Zombie War' but write it in a way that doesn't sound at all like real people. But Brooks effectively creates multiple voices who effectively convey different experiences of the zombie war who seem believable and varied. Thoroughly entertaining....more
While the kaiju eiga genre of media may not be for everyone, this is a lovingly crafted book of notes and perspectives on the Big G. It is at once thoWhile the kaiju eiga genre of media may not be for everyone, this is a lovingly crafted book of notes and perspectives on the Big G. It is at once thorough and accessible for people of all ages and is an essential text for both beginners and experts interested in knowing more about Godzilla and his enduring popularity....more
For what it is, it's very good at what it does and is a refreshing counter-push to the current trend in comics to write so that it requires a double pFor what it is, it's very good at what it does and is a refreshing counter-push to the current trend in comics to write so that it requires a double phd in astrophysics and 22nd century theoretical geopolitics. Things blow up. Things get kicked. Sometimes things get kicked and blow up. And that's that. Zippy, breezy, it's not Proust, but hey, who says it had to be?...more
Adrienne Su is one of those poets in contemporary Asian America I think is sadly underrated and underappreciated. I regard her Middle Kingdom as my faAdrienne Su is one of those poets in contemporary Asian America I think is sadly underrated and underappreciated. I regard her Middle Kingdom as my favorite of her books, because I can see a lot of where she's come from and will go in future collections.
Middle Kingdom taught me a great deal of how I would write my poetry around the early 2000s. Some techniques I would use, others I would not. But some of her pieces I particular enjoy are "Savannah Crabs," "Miss Chang is Missing," and "PIRANEX" which in was a key influence on my poem 'A Hmong Goodbye'. Middle Kingdom influenced how I structured my first book, On the Other Side of the Eye.
Su's Middle Kingdom has poems that are very easy to get into but in most cases have a significant and rewarding number of layers and levels that should earn her a much stronger position in Asian American arts and letters. But I always look forward to her next collections ever since this book....more
Clocking in at a weighty 277 pages from Rabbit Fool Press, she covers some pretty heavy topics. Brandy Lien Worrall is telling a spell-binding story fClocking in at a weighty 277 pages from Rabbit Fool Press, she covers some pretty heavy topics. Brandy Lien Worrall is telling a spell-binding story from a unique perspective. As an avid admirer of Brandy Lien Worrall's poetry, it was interesting to see how her poetic voice carries through into her memoir. She brings forward a voice suffused with humor, urgency, and attitude. Her work is never melodramatic or maudlin. It's thoughtful and frank. This is a wonderful contribution to Southeast Asian American arts and letters from Rabbit Fool Press, and I'm looking forward to many many more works from them in the years ahead. A 2014 must-read....more
The Lao culture draws from over 600 years of history, and one of the most beloved tales passed on from generation to generation is that of Xieng MiengThe Lao culture draws from over 600 years of history, and one of the most beloved tales passed on from generation to generation is that of Xieng Mieng, a wise trickster figure who uses his wits to navigate the ins and outs of Lao society.
A Sticky Mess might be considered a prequel to the main origin story of this character. Nor Sanavongsay has been working on this tale for over 14 years and the results have paid off in a lavishly-illustrated book that leaves readers with more to look at each time. It's a great adaptation of the tale, and Sanavongsay adds some personal touches that set his version apart, including some new characters who will doubtless be appearing again in future books in the series.
A Sticky Mess sets a new standard for our expectations of Lao childrens books. It's been a wait, but it's worth it....more
Luminous Worlds covers a significant span of David C. Kopaska-Merkel's poetic output over the course of almost two decades in the space of almost 110Luminous Worlds covers a significant span of David C. Kopaska-Merkel's poetic output over the course of almost two decades in the space of almost 110 pages, and there are many ways to enter this book.
The author of 23 books, Kopaska-Merkel is a geologist by trade in Alabama with a literary career that stretches back into the 1970s. Many will be familiar with some of the more obvious influences on his work, such as Zelazny, Algernon Blackwood and H.P. Lovecraft, but that's really just the type of the iceberg in this collection.
He opens with "The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd" which begins as a petite drama in a circus but progresses smoothly into something surprising with subtle cues until the big reveal at the heart of the poem. It unveils itself with an easy-going humor and diction that acknowledges the roots and the potentials of speculative poetry. It's a good first poem for the collection and serves as a guide to what we might expect in the remainder, without giving away too much.
The second poem, "Tsunami Child," provides a contrast, with a darker, condensed tale of tragedy that grounds the readers back in a certain timeless present, where we are brought to understand the limits and the need for the fantastic around the world.
If you like these first two poems, you will likely enjoy the rest.
There are a good many poets who excel at either long-form poems or short-form poets. Kopaska-Merkel has an excellent command of both, with the majority of his poems paced just right that it keeps the reader engaged without belaboring any particular points.
Among the poems I found particularly interesting to consider were his pieces "Flipbook Sonata," "Réanimation Medicale," "Cartography," "Clark the Ripper," and "Engagement Off Joulter’s." There are many instances, such as "Clark the Ripper" that delightfully reframe a familiar subject, remaining true while deftly suggesting what could have been.
In his poem "Golem," he has the fine lines: "My thoughts are flying up into an artificial sky The painted stars are no less real than I."
There are many such gems throughout, and by the time he closes with "The Valley of Years," you wonder where the time has gone and how could you have reached the end so quickly.
Kopaska-Merkel takes his readers around many worlds and many times, both inner and external. He capably shares a wide emotional breadth with his readers but is never maudlin or saccharine. I would recommend this collection as a fine introduction to his work and the work of contemporary speculative poets, and encourage readers to seek out other volumes of his as well....more
Of all the Romans, Marcus Aurelius echoes throughout the centuries to speak to us today because while he was a stoic, he was still a human being withOf all the Romans, Marcus Aurelius echoes throughout the centuries to speak to us today because while he was a stoic, he was still a human being with questions, dreams and yearnings, and what he wrote was written first not to instruct others, but himself, and in that personal approach, we can relate to that quest.
Some can draw ties to the mindset of the Samurai and Bushido, others to existentialism, zen and taoism, and even certain lines of thought within the monotheistic faiths.
I think it's a particularly interesting read next to Thich Nhat Hahn's Peace Is Every Step, but in any case, it's well worth revisiting throughout your life....more
This is one of those books that usually finds the right reader at the right time in their life- perhaps not for everyone, but there's writing at workThis is one of those books that usually finds the right reader at the right time in their life- perhaps not for everyone, but there's writing at work here that resonates across the ages and will hold up well more than many other books with bigger ambitions....more
John W. Sexton is probably my favorite Irish poet of the 21st century, and I was happy to have a chance to look at his fourth collection, Petit Mal.
SJohn W. Sexton is probably my favorite Irish poet of the 21st century, and I was happy to have a chance to look at his fourth collection, Petit Mal.
Stretched over 86 pages of poems, Sexton uses a variety of styles, primarily free verse to explore any number of topics with a clean, penetrating insight (and frequently a good dose of humor) that I've often found lacking in American poetics.
I think he should be welcome company among Lao poets for the depth and breadth of his work.
He opens his collection with "My Granda as Lama Tensing," a touching exploration of life, death, our elders and sparrows around the world. The poem is short enough that it's difficult to excerpt without giving away the marvels of the lines he presents, but I think if you enjoy it, you'll enjoy the good majority of the poems that follow.
I often evaluate a manuscript by its thematic coherence balanced with its ability to surprise.
With Petit Mal, I think he presents an interesting puzzle as to how everything is connected to the notion of the petit mal, while also remaining independent as poems in their own right. The term of course, is most often used in connection with the phenomenon of absence seizures, when people just stare off into space for a few moments then come back. I consider this a great manuscript because it effectively presents a body of poems that provide a great glimpse of where we or others might have gone in the middle of such a seizure. Few of the poems in here overstay their welcome. He's in great control of his poems most of the time, with many lines and images capable of lingering with you if you read it at the right moment.
For me, the poems I found myself personally pondering the most were "Lao Tzu Notices Infinity For The First Time," "The Drowned Sailor," "Tea With Akhmatova's Cat," "Sixfaces and the Woman of Nothing," and "The Final Years of King Canute." You may well find many other interesting poems. But in any case, he closes the collection with "silence," which masterfully brings the manuscript full circle if you've been paying attention.
It's $15.00 in the states, but I think it's worth it, and it will be hard for many to find a copy here, which I find a deep pity. It has my highest recommendations....more