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This is the latest edition of the definitive reference work on poetics. Anything you want to know about the technical aspects of poetry is contained herein (and exhaustively). Need a refresher on the difference between metaphor and simile or between metonymy and synecdoche? What about Arabic, Bengali, or Celtic prosody? What even is paranomasia? Zeugma? Included too are short(ish) definitive accounts and histories of Beat poetry, Zulu poetry and everything in between. All your poetic questions answered (at length) in one volume. Required nepotism disclosure: the contributor with the unpronounceable name who wrote the entry on “Sound” works here and wrote this biased review. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood
This absurdist novel is a sheer delight for fans of the more experimental side of world literature. It is the debut novel of a Polish author writing in Spanish just translated into English. It is the story of a Polish writer Czesław Przęśnicki who writes in the language of Antarctic. Local Antarctic novelists, rejecting the immigrant and enraged that he should write in their language, repeatedly beat him up on the publication of his first novel. Now, confined to a mental asylum he is undergoing therapy to cure him of his desire to write in a language other than his native tongue. His roommate, a priest haunted by the death of a canary, ceaselessly exercises on a stationary bike. He sneaks into the bathroom to write his second novel (also in Antarctic). The asylum, like the novel, is full of famous writers who wrote in their second languages—Beckett, Conrad, Nabokov, Ionesco. Throughout it all Przęśnicki is haunted by the memory of his former lover one Ernest Hemingway and dreams of being taken in the arms of a sexy veterinarian. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood
This is a captivating biblio-adventure across 1000 years from 500 to 1500. Everyone knows that the Renaissance was in many ways engendered by the re-discovery and careful reading of classical texts. But how were they preserved? What happened to them between the fall of Rome and through the Dark Ages? Moller selects three Greek scientific books—Euclid, Ptolemy, and Galen—and brilliantly charts their path from the Library of Alexandria back to Europe. She uncovers a history in large part erased—the Arabic humanist tradition which preserved, studied, and treasured these books as the intellectual environment of Europe atrophied. Moller focuses not simply on these three Greek texts, but structures her book around the vibrant intellectual centers of Alexandria, Baghdad, Cordoba, Toledo, Salerno, Palermo, and Venice with the triumph of the printing press. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood
This is one beautiful book—transcendent and painful with a poet’s prose. Vuong, as reviewers have said, creates a new kind of immigrant novel. Written as a letter to a mother who cannot read English, the autobiographical narrator Little Dog shares his family history—his grandmother who married a veteran of the Vietnam war, his mother working in a nail salon, and himself growing up in Connecticut. Gorgeously constructed with reoccurring leitmotifs, Little Dog takes us through his impoverished childhood, instances of xenophobia, discovering his sexuality, and his love for a tragic young boy. This is a book for our moment—it’s all here: our fraught political moment, immigration, the opioid epidemic, the difficult inheritance of Vietnam. Gorgeous, destroying, and unforgettable. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood
A beautiful book devoted to the revolutionary and still influential Bauhaus movement. The Bauhaus revolutionized interior design, typography, architecture, pedagogy and contributed to much that we today recognize as the modern style. This gorgeous book, updated and revised to mark the Bauhaus's centenary is full of style! Coffee pots, theatrical costumes, book design, houses, furniture, textiles not to mention paintings and photographs. Gropius, Moholy-Nagy, Albers, Klee, Kandinsky, Mies van der Rohe ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood