Exploring Love and Desire: Identity and Acceptance in Jack Wang’s We
Poet Jaycee Billington speaks with Poetry Editor Mary Sutton in this episode of our PostScript Interview Series.
Jaycee's poem is featured in West Trade Review's Spring 2021 edition.
"Drawn to the water of places, those spaces
where things collect: river bottoms, swamps, lake shores.
The Oconee is cool and flowing and I like the sound it makes
when it runs over and under and through.
Lost things gather here, the obsession
of humanity sprawled and sunken and scribbled
by the river fall line that once stopped boats from going north." -excerpt from "Greenway"
Reviews of Recent and Forthcoming Titles
Reviews in Short
Mona at Sea by Elizabeth Gonzalez James
As the Great Recession moves solidly into history a decade-and-a-half on, the subject grows ripe for fiction. Alongside Lucy Corin’s strong The Swank Hotel comes a biting, luminous, and wickedly funny debut, Elizabeth Gonzalez James’ Mona At Sea.
Set in the heat and stagnation of Tucson, Mona At Sea is also a supremely comfortable addition to the recent rise of first person present tense fiction. James’ novel is a fast-paced and insightful one as it follows the story of a young woman attempting to find her way into adulthood during the 2008 financial crisis. Determined, idealistic, headstrong, and often times her own worst enemy, Mona is a smart, witty narrator well-suited to craft a emotionally resonant look at a society full of contradiction.
As we see her simultaneously reckon with the broken promises of twenty-first century America and the fractured marriage of her parents, Mona establishes herself as a memorable protagonist sure to inspire literary descendants. Mona At Sea is the prized debut that engenders immediate anticipation for the next book to come. -D.W. White, Fiction Editor
The Inland Sea by Madeline Watts
Madeleine Watt’s The Inland Sea is an ambitious, hungry debut, one that declines to limit itself to one or two neat storylines, instead taking on, much like the sprawling Australian landscape that rests so palpably as its foundation, a litany of narrative threads for consumption. Following the life of our narrator as she struggles through the heat of a Sydney summer and the uncertainties of a restless youth, The Inland Sea is unafraid in its portrayal of our modern world. Beset by a beleaguered climate, navigating the hazy world of undefined relationships in bars and bedrooms, and exposed to the raw underbelly of human nature while working at an emergency call center, Watts’ protagonist is at once brutally honest and sharply eloquent. Seeped in Australian history, both literary and colonial, The Inland Sea offers a refreshing perspective, and is a book ready-made for the heat of summer in a world reckoning with new definitions of normalcy. -D.W. White, Fiction Editor
I Am the Rage by Dr. Martina McGowan
“I am the Rage” is a poetry collection by Dr. Martina McGowan written entirely in 2020 in response to the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and far too many others. The titular poem "I am the Rage" sets the tone for the raw, unapologetic emotion throughout the collection, ranging from sadness to anger to defiance to the occasional glimmer of hope. In "We Are Alike, You and I," McGowan declares, "We will come for you / Not with clubs / Or tear gas / Or firebombs / But with words." This book offers a window into the black experience in today's America that is absolutely essential and valuable for readers of all races. -Paulina Friedman, Associate Poetry Editor
Pride, Acceptance, Forgiveness: A Father’s Experience in Yang Huang's My Good Son
Reviewed by Kelly A. Harrison
What Love Looks Like: Joanna Acevedo's Unsaid Things
Reviewed by Gianni Washington
The Messiness of Everyday Life: Melancholic Musings of Garielle Lutz's Worsted
Claiming Freedom: Exploitation and Self-Determination in Paul Mendez’s Rainbow Milk
Writer David Obuchowski speaks with Fiction Editor D.W. White in this episode of our PostScript Interview Series. David's story "Stings" is featured in the Spring 2021 print edition.
Poet KG Newman speaks with Poetry Editor Mary Sutton in this episode of our PostScript Interview Series. Newman's poems are forthcoming in the Summer 2021 and Spring 2022 edition. You can read his poem "Choosing You Again" here.
Interiority and Point of View in Selected Works of Rachel Cusk" by D.W. White
"A novel may be thought of as consisting of two parts, running concurrently with each other. The narrative function describes those aspects of a book which operate as, quite simply, the story. A character storming out of a room to confront a cheating spouse, a protagonist agonizing over what to wear in advance of seeing brunch with her mother-in-law, the detective going back to the crime scene after a flash of insight — these are all examples of narrative actions. Textual functions, on the other hand, are those that inform theme, character arc, tonality, or the like. Places, in other words, where the book acts ‘as a book’, where the design and craftsmanship come into play. The most effective writers often execute these functions simultaneously..." Read the entire piece here.
Writer B. Bell-Gurwitz speaks with Associate Fiction Editor Margaret Malone in this episode of our PostScript Interview Series. Her short story "Fourteen and Thirty-Four" is featured in West Trade Review’s Spring 2021 edition.
Excerpt from the story:
"Andrea did leave. She left without so much as a text message. But she does admit she did get something from therapy. What she got was a living thing. What she got was a fish. The therapist said, 'It would do you some good to take care of something living. To remind yourself that you are too.'”
Poet Despy Boutris speaks with Editor Ken Harmon in this episode of our PostScript Interview Series. Despy's poem "Moonless Pastoral" is featured in the Spring 2021 issue of West Trade Review.
Writer June Caldwell speaks with Fiction Editor D.W. White in this episode of our PostScript Interview Series. June's story "The Boy Gets Crushed at Home at Night" is featured in the Spring 2021 issue.
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Poet Nancy Lynée Woo speaks with Editor Ken Harmon in this episode of our PostScript Interview Series. Nancy's poem "Naysaying the Noise" is featured in the Spring 2021 issue of West Trade Review.
Poet Laura Ohlmann speaks with Editor Ken Harmon in this episode of our PostScript Interview Series. Laura's poem, "Arrhythmia" is featured in the Spring 2021 issue. You can read her poem "Mother Ode" here.