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Notes & Reviews

Reviews - January 31, 2023

Adrienne Christian’s WORN

In her third book of poems, WORN, Adrienne Christian opens closets, trunks, drawers and minds, stitching together a narrative made from the costume of living— clothes. And it’s not only about the finest attire, but also housecoats, shoes with holes in the bottom, sports jerseys, hospital gowns, and boxer briefs. Occasionally, Christian takes delightful liberty with anatomy as well! …

Reviews - January 23, 2023

The Detransition, Baby Problem: Embracing the Everyday Failures of Womanhood

Torrey Peters’ Detransition, Baby came out in early 2021 and quickly became one of the buzziest novels of the year. The novel is big-hearted, with as many moments of crisp humor as there are moments of striking tenderness. It’s a novel that cares about the cis gaze without catering to it, which may be exactly why the novel transcended from more niche literary categorization into “women’s social …

Reviews - January 18, 2023

When Your Sky Runs Into Mine

Rooja Mohassessy’s stunning debut collection, When Your Sky Runs Into Mine, arrives as women-led protests in Iran continue in response to human rights violations and the denial of individual freedoms. The poems unfold as “memoir in verse” and begin with Mohassessy’s early memories of a post-revolutionary Iran, where the poet was born. Through these deeply genuine and fervent poems, we sense the …

Reviews - January 17, 2023

Leaving a Self that No Longer Breathes

In “Decision to Leave,” a story that mainly takes place in Busan, there are grisly murders and overworked detectives at the foreground. A hiker is found at the bottom of a cliff and his beautiful, young wife, Seo-Rae, is left behind. Based on the trailer, I was expecting a true crime thriller, where the woman seduces the detective, Hae-Jun, who succumbs to her charm. At the surface, this is not …

Reviews - January 8, 2023

Transcendent Memory in Larissa Lai’s The Lost Century

Larissa Lai’s The Lost Century opens in 1997, on the afternoon before Hong Kong is transferred from the British to the People’s Republic of China. Ophelia and her great-aunt Violet settle into a restaurant and begin a multi-course meal of typhoon-shelter-style crab, congee mixed with thousand-year-old egg, tapioca pudding, and many other delectables. While waiting for the food, Ophelia pleads for …

Notes - December 9, 2022

Barred Owl by the Bybee Bridge

I literally jumped in surprise when, crossing the Bybee Bridge, I felt a pair of beetle black eyes staring at me and what I had taken for a plastic bag snagged in the branches turned out to be a Barred Owl perched hardly five feet away and right at eye level. While we gazed at each other I tried to make sure I radiated nothing but wonder so as not to incite the talons that feature so grimly in …

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