In her collection’s penultimate poem, “say my name,” Laurie Halse Anderson lists words, such as 'faults,' that rhyme with her maternal-familial name, to show how it’s pronounced, because despite her writing’s great importance for how she ‘spoke’ out on sexual violence against women, her name, Halse, continues to be 'mispoken,' testament to the lack of respect our culture affords women, which she images anew in these poems. ~ Reviewed by Ray Marsocci
In a departure from her hugely popular, annual Nantucket beach book, Elin Hilderbrand looks back at the summer she was born, 1969, and how an island family's three generations of women are affected by that decade's politically dynamic ending. With each chapter head citing rock music lyrics, Hildebrand highlights the Aquarian age's dawn, when while men team to land other men on the moon, send sons to play hero in other men's fight against Vietnam, and abandon the women they marry and impregnate, the women still suffer unwanted sexual advances, self-sacrifice, and the alibis needed when men live like a Kennedy at Chappaquiddick. ~ Reviewed by Ray Marsocci
Driving 1957's economic fairway, Mark Frost revisits Bing Crosby's golf course in Monterrey, California, where two millionaires made a wager, one claiming the two amateurs he helped sponsor could beat anybody, hole for hole, goading the second millionaire to hire for one day golf's two top money-winners. Frost profiles the ensuing match as a bet on ambition against business, leisure versus sport, looking at celebrity's growing influence on American values and its social ramifications, and then at the four players, who each aspire to better themselves on the links, and how the wager and "The Match" at once inspired onlookers' awe and altered the nature of how we play games. ~ Reviewed by Ray Marsocci
The poems in Carolyn Forché’s new collection keep coming to endings, in museums, cemeteries, and the body’s “briefly illumined” plots, each ending versed as "fields in bloom/but silent." Yet as with Forché's early work, "souls have their own world" in this work, ghosting a personal politic at those ends, and mapping an "unknown place as between languages” we all might understand. The poems read as if shaped of the "descendants of clouds" amid a "death darkening" world history, back across cities wherein their each speaker chronicles a history, the country of new beginnings.
In an era when even the United States president, himself named as a predator, helps maintain a "precarious culture of secrecy," Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Rowan Farrow unveils the fear-inducing lies which protect image-potent men from conviction, for the sexual violence they enact against women. Mostly written in an impartial, TV-passive voice, Catch and Kill lets the victims speak, openly reporting on their testimony and allowing its collective volume to resonate, while Farrow hounds and then exposes the ego and arrogance these predatory men use in debilitating their prey. ~ Reviewed by Ray Marsocci