How refreshing to encounter a memoir so full of nuance and self-awareness that the writer emerges as a compelling protagonist in his own narrative. With an emotional setting triangulated among Iowa City, New York City, and Venice, Marc Nieson’s memoir Schoolhouse: Lessons on Love and Landscape (Ice Cube Press, 2016) forges a path through the complex topographies of family, community, and love.
Read the whole piece here.
Seldom do site-specific memoirs link author to hometown so completely they become indivisible in the mind of a reader. More than three decades after leaving Pittsburgh for Boston, Paul Hertneky, an Ambridge native, revisits the hills and valleys of western Pennsylvania in Rust Belt Boy: Stories of an American Childhood published this spring by Bauhan Publishing. It is hard to imagine young Paul growing up anywhere else.
The original was published on June 29, 2016. Read the full review here.
“Expansiveness also characterizes Karasek’s collection. Among pieces that weave together seasonal references with the patina of memory are poems employing a Zen-like caesura. Such pieces recall a breathy confusion upon rediscovering a lost sensation or the staccato beat of a practiced scale. In “12 tones,” for example, the silence of the prairie is compared to an empty hall after the musicians have gone home. All that’s left is the discarded evidence of what was, “a barrelful of noise. discarded candy wrappers,” and sound, like pain, is referred: “narcissus hears only echo, / above the river. / the river shudders.” The aural imagery of Karasek’s poetry becomes a palette, as it were, of emotional landscape where silence fills in the gaps between awareness.”
The original review was published in Rattle in May 2010. Read the full version here.