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Reviews

"Chocolat" Soldiering and the White Myth of Recovery

- By Michael Thurston

A Review of David Diop, At Night All Blood Is Black. Trans. Anna Moschovakis. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020.

Lyricism is, strangely, no stranger to the trenches of the First World War. Whether to contain or to inflame the horrors, writers like Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, David Jones and Erich Maria Remarque, Dalton Trumbo and Ford Madox Ford brought rhythm, repetition, and figurative language all to bear on the disquieting experience of the Western Front. Typically, the lyricism counters the horrors: poppies, butterflies, farm fields, or the camaraderie of brothers in arms bear ornament that sets them apart from and (unsuccessfully) shields them from the poisoned...


Reviews

Birdsong

- By Keith Taylor

Meg Kearney’s All Morning the Crows (The Word Works, 2021).

Shelley begins his famous, “To a Skylark”: “Hail to thee, blithe Spirit! Bird thou never wert. . .” Then for the next few stanzas he works hard to show the “birdiness” of the bird, until he finally gives up in a series of similes (“Like a Poet hidden/In the light of thought . . .”; “Like a high-born maiden/In a palace tower. . .” etc.). By the end of the poem Shelley wants to learn to sing with the bird’s “harmonious madness” so the “world should listen” to him as attentively as he listens to the bird. He’s yet...


Reviews

The Beers Before New Year's

- By By Marsha Bryant

‘Twas the midst of December: there came forth a cry
From us beer drinkers wond’ring which brews we shall buy
For festivities, feasting, for sitting by fires.
It’s the holidays! Taste all the good that transpires.
‘Tis the time to be stocking your holiday shelf
With the richly full-flavored beers. (Move over, elf!)

First Diwali and Hanukkah offered their light,
And soon Christmas and Kwanzaa make winter nights bright.
O what to my wandering tastebuds appears--
A bodacious selection of holiday beers!
Before dinner, or after, or for a night cap,
Here are beers that will warm you from all o’er the map.


From England, from Iceland in courses they came,
And I savored the labels and called...


Reviews

The Challenge of Book History

- By Tabish Khair

A Review of Simon Frost’s Reading, Wanting, and Broken Economics: A Twenty-First-Century Study of Readers and Bookshops in Southampton around 1900 (State University of New York Press, 2021).

Studies in the field of book history hold a perverse fascination for me. I can never approach them solely as an academic, for the novelist in me begins to chirp in too. This is inevitable. As M. M. Bakhtin stressed, the novel is essentially chirographic, and, despite the side alleys of serialisation, one can argue that the novel owes its current dominance inevitably to the coming of the mass-produced and mass-marketed book. On the other hand, as a...


Reviews

Märzen Madness and Florida Festbier

- By Marsha Bryant

Limericks for Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest beckons anew
With festivities, hullabaloo.
I’ll parse Märzens for you
So you’ll know what to do
At your bottle shop picking out brew.

If you can’t fly to Munich, don’t worry—
American brewers have scurried
To release in due season
The beer lover’s reason
For drinking outdoors before flurries.



When it’s Autumn and weather behaves,
Tis the malts that the beer lover craves.
Don’t put pumpkin in beer!
(That’s for baked goods, my dear.)
Märzen madness tastes good, not depraved.

I’ve a trio of them that I tried,
Independents that I verified—
Ranging sweeter to...


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