CHRIS CAMPANIONI is a first-generation American, the son of immigrants from Cuba and Poland, and the author of the Internet is for real (C&R Press) and Drift (King Shot Press). His “Billboards” poem, a response to Latino stereotypes and mutable—and often muted—identity in the fashion world, was awarded an Academy of American Poets College Prize in 2013, his novel Going Down was selected as Best First Book at the 2014 International Latino Book Awards, and his hybrid prose piece “This body’s long (& I’m still loading)” was adapted as an official selection of the Canadian International Film Festival in 2017. He edits PANK, At Large, and Tupelo Quarterly and teaches Latino literature and creative writing at Pace University and Baruch College.
MAY 2018 | Books
What is the line between distraction and concentration, and where does each converge?
SEPT 2018 | Books
If one purpose or promise of poetry is the reinvention of myth then we need to start by rethinking our own origin stories, the names we use and the ways we are represented and the ways in which we represent our community.
FEB 2017 | Books
“No one is too beautiful for the ugly journal,” Stacy Szymaszek writes sometime between January 17 and February 15, 2013, as collected in her Journal of Ugly Sites & Other Journals (Fence Books, 2016)
JUL-AUG 2017 | Books
The epiphany machine wants to know our secrets, the ones we show to everyone but ourselves. I know the conceit well, too: we keep making the same mistakes; the pattern is obvious to everyone except ourselves, because we are too busy performing our various social scripts to know anything about the performance, or whether we are still performing, or whether we are ever not performing.
DEC 17-JAN 18 | Books
The first time I read Question Like A Face I mistakenly omitted the “like” in its title.
JUL-AUG 2016 | Books
The experience of reading Among the Dead and Dreaming is not unlike watching a soap opera, or a slasher film, or a Greek tragedy, or even a car crash; a catastrophic collision on the interstate where bodies and objects evacuate and disperse and hang for a moment, or half a page, and ultimately fall, which is actually the novel’s entry point, the vehicle that sets this polyphonic operatic tragic romance or romantic tragedy in action.
SEPT 2016 | Books
Chris Hosea’s Double Zero (Prelude, 2016) eludes the conventions of language and generic markers and alludes to pop and personal experience with an intensity and a haste that makes repeated readings a requirement, not a suggestion. Pay attention, Hosea seems to be saying, as he ricochets words off one another with no regard to syntax or narrative construction. It’s going to be worth it.
NOV 2015 | Books
The history of Cuba is a history of exile, from the eradication of the indigenous neo-Taíno and Guanahatabey population in the 1500s to the forced departure of nonconformists by the Castro government in the second half of the 20th century. “To be Cuban,” José Lezama Lima once said, “is to already feel foreign.”
FEB 2012 | Books
In An Emergency in Slow Motion (Bloomsbury, 2011), William Todd Schultz performs a paradox. He eschews the typical biography and in doing so, illuminates his nebulous subject better than any biographer before him.
MAY 2012 | Books
Julie Choffel and Michelle Naka Pierce, both recipients of this years Poets Out Loud award, imbue their work with binaries of meaning, multi-perspective angles, a dissonance of language, and an inherent human longing that is akin to people talking separately at the same timeeach of us missing the texture.
DEC 11-JAN 12 | Books
If the Internet brought us to the Age of Information, social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace have ushered in a new era altogether, one that trades in data for documentation.
JUL-AUG 2018 | Books
Queering the archive means seeking alternate sources of evidence; it means focusing on undermining the heteronormative, racialized, cultural, and state processes that have only produced exclusion, under the auspices of forming a “national identity.” Queering the archive means to call into question all origin narratives, and all identity premised on nation–building. It means axing ownership; it means owning up to our failure to do without. In short, it means survival, particularly in the face of a culture and a history that has done its best to dis–member you.
OCT 2018 | Books
How far do we look back when we see how far we’ve come? How far is too far, or is it ever far enough? And how long must we continue to look, if only to look at ourselves the way we would wish to be looked by others? Julian Randall’s debut collection, Refuse (University of Pittsburgh Press), is both the abnegation and elegy of its title, but it is also an avowal: an unabashed testament to existence, to being alive, to survival in the face of a world that would wish to ignore you, reduce you, or stamp you out.
MAY 2017 | Books
“The film begins,” And Then (Black Sparrow, 2017) begins, but it doesn’t take readers long to forget we are reading a summarized account of actors acting; a transcription of a script in place of the opening pages of a novel, or a novel so concerned with the detritus of past love, death, and desire it can only be told through the lens of cinema. After all, memory and film both offer us the same fractured, shifting projection. Donald Breckenridge’s fourth novel weaves in and out of frames without ever lacking clarity—a roll of film replaced and inserted in quick, immediate accounts—it only makes sense that And Then begins on someone else’s story.
SEPT 2017 | Books
Je Suis L’Autre: I am the other,” a riff on Rimbaud’s perversion or poetic re-vision, Je est un autre, “I is some- one else,” which Lacan, in turn, took up to recognize
MAY 2016 | Books
Evanston-based international poetry journal RHINO turns forty this month, and co-founder Ralph Hamilton’s recent collection, Teaching a Man to Unstick His Tail (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015) is as much about endurance as it is about reconsidering the elegy. Hamilton’s version suggests that loss is not always tragic, and this intermeshing between possession and absence drives the work toward a question that curtails itself through its own arrangement: “what would we say if / we had something / to say? A storm.”
SEPT 2016 | Books
Kevin Carey is a storyteller. He tells stories, he organizes them in verse, sometimes in couplets, other times without stanza breaks, without rhyme or an attention to meter. The story—“something human”—is what takes precedence and in an age where being cool, detached, ironic, and, oddly enough, intentionally arcane is the mode de vie, Carey’s new collection, Jesus Was A Homeboy, comes off as refreshingly warm and insightful, revealing snapshots of the poet’s life and reveling in the photo album’s re-framing
JUL-AUG 2015 | Books
Larissa Shmailos #specialcharacters is both product and response to the Millenial generation, the effects of capitalism on the artist and individual, and our post-Internet culture. But Shmailos use of languagethe way each line of each poem and each word of each line and each syllable of each word opens doors to her collections other poems, and other lines, and other words with, yes, other syllableshas its roots in a movement much closer to the Cold War Kids, poets like Bruce Andrews and Charles Bernstein, who edited the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E publication from 1978 to 1981
NOV 2014 | Books
In the winter of 1912, when Ezra Pound, Hilda Doolittle, and Richard Aldington initiated their Imagist movement in Poetry Review, one of their chief objectives was to make every object equal. It was sensation via simplicity, direct treatment of the thingwhatever that thing might be.
APR 2012 | Books
I have never owned a camera and I never snap photos So goes the first line of Judith Kitchens quasi-photo collage, Half in Shade: one part memoir, one part speculative sketch, all parts autobiographical.
MAY 2012 | Books
Brian Evensons Windeye begins with the collections eponymous story, a tale that moves from the innocence of childhood imagination to the stark realities of a very adult mental illness.