Amy Carlberg (Assistant Blog Editor) is reading Seven Notebooks by Campbell McGrath.
And it turns out to be exactly that. This collection of poetry reads like one imagines the actual notebooks of McGrath might. Fully formed poems span pages or mere lines, but ‘scribbled’ in between are pertinent quotations, dated entries like those of a diary, single words, and prose-like ruminations. Throughout the course of these notebooks, McGrath meditates on the history of poetry and language, drawing from and sometimes challenging influences like Neruda and Whitman, but also ancient Egypt, blueberries, and Schaefer beer. This leaves the reader feeling whatever McGrath is jotting down in these notebooks of his, these poems place him in the center of one of the world’s longest ongoing discussions, and one day will be admired and questioned in the same fashion.
Úrsula Fuentesberain (General Reader, Fiction) is reading See Through by Nelly Reifler.
“Snapdragons. I had seen a picture of them once in a book at school. I bent down and touched a
pod of petals. It was firm on the outside, and the petals were closed tight. I squeezed it between
two fingers. It snapped open and showed a tender red center. I put a finger in the flower. It was
soft now, slightly downy.” This is what the narrator says at the end of “Sugar,” a short story that feels like a modern fairytale – clever little girl, evil mother and scary creature in a box included. This is also what the stories in See Through are like: closed flowers that – when popped – talk about love, fear, desire, death and all those other things that make us break a sweat. Nelly Reifler’s first book is the perfect example of what Freud called das unheimlich, the uncanny: that sudden transformation of the familiar into the strange. In order to watch that happen, one must apply the exact amount of pressure and wait for the snap that might yield a dwarf, an existentialist baby or a squirrel with a PhD in Psychology.