Friday, November 1, 2013

November links

The November issue of the Volta has a forum on poetry criticism and reviews, with thoughts on the state of the art from Jordan Davis, Sina Queyras, Vanessa Place, Michael Robbins, Raymond McDaniel, Charles Bernstein and a number of other smartypantses, including me! Here's my answer to the last question:
What advice do you have for critics and poets new to review writing who’d like to get started writing book reviews? 
Mostly just read more – both more poetry and more criticism. Look for great, smart, articulate writers who love poetry and read what they write about it. Beware of any critic who seems more invested in asserting his opinion than describing the poetry. Read with a pencil, underline, make notes, dog-ear pages. One wrong way to write a review is to spend too little time with the book, to come to it with a closed mind or a preconceived idea of what it should be, and then write your review as a kind of rationalization of your kneejerk opinions. Another wrong way is to like it but have nothing interesting to say about it, thus filling your page with empty adjectives like “beautiful” or making weirdly aggressive statements like “I loved this book so much I wanted to tear off my own head and stuff the pages down the hole.” Don’t laugh, I see that a lot. Another way to put this is, only write about books that really make you think. If you’re not having thoughts, move on, or read it again and think more.
You can read the rest of my responses here.

The new issue of Split Lip Magazine includes three collaborative poems by Kathleen Rooney and me.

At Bois de Jasmin, I reviewed L'Eau Mixte (my favorite grapefruit scent) and talked about perfumes that feel like costumes (happy belated Halloween!).

I turn 34 tomorrow. But my dad says I'm not in my "mid thirties" until at least 36.


  1. The skill I wish I could develop, more than how to write reviews, is how to refute reviews that piss me off (though that's probably the same skill, I guess).

    1. That would be pretty similar. Also kind of interesting, if you only refuted other reviews but never wrote new ones.

  2. Thanks for sharing the link to the Volta review issue, Elisa. This is one of those memorable issues that I'll be reading over and over. Loved your responses.