“Make This Sol a Clear, High Note”: On Mars Travel and the Post-Apocalyptic Earth in Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers’s The Tilt Torn Away from the Seasons

Tracy Zeman

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Cincinnati, OH: Acre Books, 2020. 86 pages. $16.00. In The Tilt Torn Away from the Seasons, Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers’s second collection, we leave Earth, our once-home, a “flickering, lost blue pilot” and travel “within the ship’s sure body” to Mars, an empty hostile planet of “dune and dust,” “a world as red as that // inside our bodies.” On Mars, there are no green plants…

Carrion Items Must Be Stowed: On Take Me with You, Wherever You’re Going by Jessica Jacobs

Christian Wessels

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New York, NY: Four Way Books, 2019. 109 pages. $15.95. For Jessica Jacobs, the figurative values of poetry build a consciousness somewhere between the earth and what’s beyond the earth, feeling and what’s beyond feeling, the line and everything beyond these lines from the opening lyric: “from a distance, they are two points awaiting / the thread needed to bind a button to cloth, which…

“The Defiance of Plants”: On Kathryn Nuernberger’s Rue

Laura Donnelly

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Rochester, NY: BOA Editions, 2020. 104 pages. $17.00. Kathryn Nuernberger’s third book of poetry, Rue, finds the speaker mid-life, mid-marriage, in the middle of America with a restless energy at once animal and utterly human. “I was surprised by the teeth and meat-breath / of myself” writes Nuernberger in “The Petty Politics of the Thing,” hearing “the cat-rabbit in the back of my mind whisper,…

On Tracing the Horse by Diana Marie Delgado

Jose Hernandez Diaz

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Rochester, NY: BOA Editions, 2019. 112 pages. $17.00. Diana Marie Delgado’s poems in her debut full-length collection, Tracing the Horse, dwell in the real world: cousins kiss behind a dumpster, someone waits in line for free food and sees the popular kid in school also waiting, a father shouts an obscenity to an otherwise classy wedding party. With genius and grace, Delgado captures the layers…

On The Ends of the World by Peter Brannen

Elizabeth Bailey

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The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions. New York, NY: Ecco/HarperCollins, 2017. 336 pages. $27.99. In ancient Ohio, in the Age of Fishes, one fish ruled them all. Armored, guillotine-mouthed, and “the length of a Winnebago,” its double-hinged maw opened so powerfully that it inhaled prey before crashing down its bony blades. And then,…

On Animal by Dorothea Lasky

Nathaniel Rosenthalis

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Buy this book on Kenyon Review’s Bookshop page and support local bookstores! Seattle, WA: Wave Books, 2019. 136 pages. $20.00. Although Animal is a book of lectures about poetry and not a book of poems, Dorothea Lasky positions herself within it in a way that raises a question about genre. In the introduction, she writes that these lectures are united by the idea of what…

On Animul/Flame by Michelle Lewis

William Billiter

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Buy this book on Kenyon Review’s Bookshop page and support local bookstores! Saint Paul, MN: Conduit Books, 2019. 76 pages. $16.00. Selected by Bob Hicok as the inaugural winner of the Marystina Santiestevan First Book Prize, Michelle Lewis’s Animul/Flame is a self-assured, keenly wrought debut, bespattered with blood and wit and heartbreak. And although the poems intimate a poignant storyline, it is the cool, direct…

Where Differences Speak Together: On Reading Jeff Alessandrelli’s Fur Not Light

Cole Konopka

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Buy this book on Kenyon Review’s Bookshop page and support local bookstores! Portland, OR: Burnside Review Press, 2019. 80 pages. $14.00. Poet and essayist Jeff Alessandrelli’s second poetry collection, Fur Not Light, celebrates the simultaneous, multivocal experience of imagination and reality. This collection makes frequent transitions between an inexhaustible collective of themes. It is the kind of book that blends messages so thoroughly that any…

On The Book of X by Sarah Rose Etter

Amanda Silberling

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Buy this book on Kenyon Review’s Bookshop page and support local bookstores! Columbus, OH: Two Dollar Radio, 2019. 284 pages. $17.99. Let’s begin with how it ends: Cassie swallows a handful of her mother’s pills, lies beside her father’s grave, and waits for death to come. It’s a foreboding conclusion to a novel that so poignantly represents the ageless trials of womanhood. We can glean…

Groomed for Compliance: On Erin Williams’s Commute

Colleen Rothman

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Buy this book on Kenyon Review’s Bookshop page and support local bookstores! New York, NY: Abrams ComicArts, 2019. 304 pages. $24.99. A commute is, at once, near universal and hyper-specific. Anyone who works outside the home has one—the experience is so common, it’s banal. Yet each individual’s journey is entirely unique to where they work and live. Regardless of the path taken, in the placelessness…