Welcome to DB21’s brand new reviews along with winter changing to spring!

While we don’t aim for thematic or other connections among our reviews, sometimes they occur by happenstance. After re-reading these reviews in order to introduce this section, I’m struck by a resurfacing theme of conceptual places.

Stephanie Dickinson describes a theater in her review of Aimee Parkison’s The Petals of Your Eyes—“a momentary what is,” and wonders, “Is The Petals of Your Eyes an embellished representation of our computer age’s eroticism of the eyes?”

In her review of B. J. Hollars’ Dispatches from the Drowning, Shena McAuliffe tells us, “There is no way for a reader to discern which of the 25 stories are invented. Yet I  could not resist trying to guess which of the stories were invented. Indeed, this blurring of fiction and nonfiction is the heart of the book, its central concept and its game.”

Carlos Matos notes that the central premise of Kristina Marie Darling’s Requited “likely has to do with the double nature of the word ‘requited.’ To requite means to pay back in kind, as in love, but it also means to retaliate, as in anger or revenge. And, of course, these things—in the context of complex, adult love—are not really opposites but a question of what it ‘mean[s] to cross a threshold.’”

And, Kathryn Cowles, reviewing Brenda Sieczkowski’s Like Oysters Observing the Sun, exclaims, “This is a book that shows us its meta-scaffolding like flashes of leg from under a skirt.”

While Elisabeth Whitehead, reviewing Merrill Gilfillan’s Red Mavis, alights on “A different type of sanctuary. It strongly embraces a place (tasting everything in sight), but doesn’t cling to it.”

Last but not least, Andrew Rothman reflects on the space of collaboration in his review of Celia Bland & Dianne Kornberg’s Madonna Comix, comparing artistic collaboration to translation. He asserts,  “A translation is a bridge from one frame of reference to another. It can’t perfectly capture either, but like a real bridge must occupy some space between the two.”

This leads me to think of a reviewer, too, as a collaborator-translator, and reviews as collaborations.

Rothman continues, “In one sense, a translator is also someone without a voice of her/his own—she/he has given her/his voice to others’ words. It’s a negotiation between two voices that can fuse, like this collaboration, into a third, numinous thing.” 

I can say each of these six reviews achieve numinosity as well, wooing readers to journey to the numinous places that are the texts from which they spring. The artistic exchange, then, that constitutes the review section, creates a conceptual place too, forged by artists working together.

Shira Dentz
​Reviews Editor
April 2015


Shira Dentz

Shira Dentz is the author of two books, black seeds on a white dish (Shearsman, 2011), and door of thin skins (CavanKerry, 2013), and two chapbooks, Leaf Weather (Tilt/Shearsman, 2012), and Sisyphusina (forthcoming from Red Glass Books). Her writing has appeared widely in journals including The American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, and New American Writing, and featured online at The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series, NPR, Poetry Daily, OmniVerse, and Verse Daily. She is the recipient of an Academy of American Poets’ Prize, the Poetry Society of America’s Lyric Poem and Cecil Hemley Memorial Awards, Electronic Poetry Review’s Discovery Award, and Painted Bride Quarterly’s Poetry Prize. A graduate of the Iowa Writers‘ Workshop, she has a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Utah, and is currently Lecturer in Creative Writing at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.