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Afterletters by R. Kolewe

Afterletters by R. Kolewe

R. Kolewe’s Afterletters is a beautiful appropriative collection of poems. Working with the threads of letters and creative works from Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan, and inspired by their correspondence—which lasted over two decades, from the late 1940s into the 1960—Kolewe creates anew the hope that one encounters in hopelessness, the knowing which one maintains through unknowing, and all the erasable and dissolvable things of language and the world: snow, chalk, breath, words themselves.

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Air Carnation by Guadalupe Muro

Air Carnation by Guadalupe Muro

Argentina-born writer Guadalupe Muro’s naturalist approach to prose comes to light in Air Carnation. Playing with boundaries of non-fiction and fiction, Muro presents short pieces that weave family, friendship, love, and conflict. Muro’s ability to move between comedy and trauma, belonging and displacement, and the divine and the ordinary results in a series that explores the imperfections and convergences of such dichotomies. Air Carnation is a story of the actuality of her own life as a daughter, lover, friend, and artist. In a climate of overwhelming obsession with identity politics, Muro transcends what it means to occupy categories of difference. Her honesty regarding her upbringing is not self-serving, moving past tokenization or fetishization—this is a woman who seeks her own truth. She is a child of hippies, who were children of the 1960s; she does not romanticize or penalize, and her refusal to come to such simple conclusions is exactly what allows Air Carnation to be so inciting.

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Sophrosyne by Marianne Apostolides

Sophrosyne by Marianne Apostolides

Marianne Apostolides's most recent novel, Sophrosyne, is a downward tumble into the mind’s rabbit hole. Apostolides examines human nature, the connections and distinctions between intellect and feeling that affect the people around us, as well as our presence in, and outside of, any particular moment. Sophrosyne is powerful, stimulating, expressive, and introspective. I found myself reading and rereading several passages—pages, even—as I coursed through the book. I was able to lose myself while reading out loud in a crowded space, as if speaking to her characters and Marianne Apostolides herself. Sophrosyne is a haunting tale caught somewhere between that of Albert Camus’s The Fall and Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower—it is demanding of care and intention.

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Polyamorous Love Song by Jacob Wren

Polyamorous Love Song by Jacob Wren

It is difficult to start a review when you are confronted with a work that radically cuts through your prior expectations about it. At first, you believe it is going to be a love story, but it then becomes something else: a work of revolutionary struggle, which not only encompasses the field of love but emancipation itself—but emancipation of what? There is beauty inherent in being surrounded by the unknown—when your precipitations and insecurities permeate every aspect of what you had done. Polyamorous Love Song is a pop song, a cinematic work of fiction whose narrative takes you into a void where "up" and "down" disintegrate, where there is no longer space for moral ground to be taken into consideration, where everything seems to have gone topsy-turvy. 

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