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JournalISSN: 0149-9408

American Book Review 

University of Nebraska Press
About: American Book Review is an academic journal published by University of Nebraska Press. The journal publishes majorly in the area(s): Poetry & Art. It has an ISSN identifier of 0149-9408. Over the lifetime, 465 publications have been published receiving 1342 citations. The journal is also known as: ABR.
Topics: Poetry, Art, Literature, Art history, Nothing


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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Betterton as mentioned in this paper describes a scene where a woman hosting a garden party is confronted with a coiled copperhead about to strike her foot through her dye-matched slipper, but she either can't see it, or she would rather be bitten than make a scene.
Abstract: Kate Betterton’s novel, Where the Lake Becomes the River, opens with a metaphorical snake in the grass. “Mama’s like a woman hosting a garden party and there’s a coiled copperhead about to strike her foot through her dye-matched slipper, but she either can’t see it, or she’d rather be bitten than make a scene.” It is an apt opening for a novel that is full of snakes, sometimes reptilian, sometimes human, always threatening. Only the snakes that drive the plot in this 2008 Novello Literary Award-winning debut novel are not hidden. There is no grass. In a novel that unfolds as the Civil Rights movement migrates through the Mississippi Delta, it is easy to understand why. The overtly threatening characters (several KKK members, their police officer lackeys, a murderer, an arsonist/thief/heartbreaker) make no attempt to hide their power or their identity. To depict them as snakes in the grass would be historically inaccurate. Still, they function in much the same way the real reptiles inhabit the story. Snakes and snapping turtles literally coil themselves around the characters and imbue the landscape with fear. As suddenly as the reptiles appear, and as inexplicably, they recoil and move on. These snakes are around to lend a threatening backdrop to the story, but when they intersect with the characters, getting rid of them is so simple that they lose their ability to frighten. When the narrator, Parrish McCullough, stands up to the police that follow her around or confronts the KKK grand dragon who she believes planted a bomb on a school bus, she simply speaks her mind and leaves without any complex consequences. Even the deep-seated racism, which seems inseparable from any depiction of the Delta during the years leading up to desegregation, makes only a handful of cameo appearances before it is dismissed. When the main character’s mother, a white woman, asks one of her children to wash the dishes used by a black character “extra well” because “he didn’t grow up the same and he might not be careful about things,” she is cross-examined and seven lines later, apologizes. “I was wrong to say that; it was unfair. I guess I got it from my grandparents.”

146 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Table of Forms as mentioned in this paper is a collection of poems written by formal constraints, with a glossary, with definitions and etymology of the methods he uses, and identification of which poems follow which methods.
Abstract: Even though few books provide such thorough explanations of their principles of composition as this book does, Table of Forms revels in deception. It is, to begin with, a Spineless Book with a spine that has nothing on it. The author, Dominique Fitzpatrick-O’Dinn, is a patently fraudulent pseudonym for William Gillespie. The “fourth edition,” with a 2006 copyright date, is the first fully revised edition, and was released in the spring of 2007. Anyone who has noticed Spineless Books, with its 2,002-word palindrome story 2002 (2002) by Nick Montfort and William Gillespie and its FitzpatrickO’Dinn Prize for rule-driven literature, might be prepared for this audaciously ambitious and beautifully realized collection of poems written by formal constraints, and yet even the most devoted followers and practitioners of such work may cringe at the prospect of having to deal with procedural poetry. Formal work poses two problems: will the forms overpower the poems, making these pieces more interesting as puzzles than as works of art; and, will the act of reading be reduced to a guessing game, in which the reader must solve the puzzle behind the poem or feel stupid at being left out of some joke perpetrated by the poet? Gillespie solves the latter problem by providing a glossary, with definitions and etymology of the methods he uses, and identification of which poems follow which methods. Even when the forms are traditional and obvious (sonnet, sestina, palindrome), this is an essential key, particularly when so many poets take liberties with certain forms, such as the sonnet, as to defy definition. Relieved of having to play the guessing game, I found myself going back and forth from glossary to text, but eventually the elegance and panache of the poetry kept me from checking the glossary until later. Although formal constraints have been around for centuries, Gillespie works in a contemporary tradition whose foremost practitioners are members of the Oulipo, the Paris-based group of writers and mathematicians founded in 1960 by Raymond Queneau and François Le Lionnais. Gillespie’s poetry can seem as feverishly wrought as some works of Ian Monk and at other times as stylishly refined as some works of Harry Mathews, but Table of Forms more resembles Queneau’s 1947 classic, Exercises in Style, where he retells the same vignette in different ways, branding each version with the rhetorical device he uses, as well as the recently re-released Oulipo Compendium (2005) edited by Harry Mathews and Alastair Brotchie, with its definitions and demonstrations of a wealth of formal devices. Occasionally, Gillespie’s terms and definitions vary from what other rhetorical guides offer, but these variations, along with their examples, amplify rather than confuse the issue at hand. As Georges Perec, particularly in his novel Life: A User’s Manual (1978), seems disinclined to limit himself to using “only” one constraint at a time, Gillespie often uses more than one form at once, sometimes combining them, such as in the following heimlich (haiku plus limerick).

136 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The goal of Operation Christmas Child is to "raise an army of young, saved followers who know and share the gospel and who will continue on the path of evangelism throughout their lives" as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: This weekend, Franklin Graham spoke about the goal at the heart of Operation Christmas Child. Every shoebox that brings joy to a child in one of 120 countries across the globe comes with the opportunity for that child to attend an age-appropriate discipleship program. The objective is to raise an army of young, saved followers who know and share the gospel and who will continue on the path of evangelism throughout their lives. The question for our church is this: Are we, the family of God at Calvary Albuquerque, functioning as an army of believers that shares the gospel of Jesus Christ with family, neighbors, coworkers, and friends?

63 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Heller's Uncertain Poetries concludes with two statements on poetics, but these being a poet's essays, the book is really the search for a poetics that drives all poets, however much it might be comprised of investigations of individual poets as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: Michael Heller's Uncertain Poetries concludes with two statements on poetics, but these being a poet's essays, the book is really the search for a poetics that drives all poets, however much it might be comprised of investigations of individual poets. As Heller says in the preface, \"these essays ought to be read as something of an intellectual biography of a working poet.\" Far from being ancillary to a poet's needs, this search among the chosen monuments of the past for a place from which to speak as a poet is central to the tradition out of which he writes, namely, modernism. In their different ways, Pound and Eliot insisted that the poet's first task was to increase one's learning, mostly through a study of the past. Heller's allegiance belongs to the Pound/Zukofsky/Olson side of modernism, which demanded a radically shuffled tradition in which history was a mega-store where one could pick and choose at will, often from sources at great remove from those typical of literary practice of the times. On the other hand, the Eliot/Auden side of modernism called for a profound engagement with existing systems and traditions, the chief tradition of which came to be known, disparagingly, as the canon. As such, Heller is a fish on land. The era he lives in has seen the giants of his tradition discredited as elitists or fascists, or, like Lorine Niedecker, virtually ignored. Variants of romanticism came to displace modernism as cultural authority passed from the old elites to the masses themselves— that is, from the authority of a tradition to that of the feeling self. Heller relates an interesting encounter between the products of these two cultures when he describes a question put to him by a young poet after one of his (Heller's) lectures on poetics. The young poet had asserted that \"plenty of poets do not write a poetics, but only write poems.\" This gave Heller the chance to respond, as he quotes himself:

51 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Gun Dealers' Daughter as mentioned in this paper is a novel about a young woman who overhears her American school teacher pose the central question of Gina Apostol's novel Gun Dealer's Daughter to his colleague after dinner at the Soliman home in Manila.
Abstract: “If you knew that your parents sold arms that prop up your country’s military dictatorship, what would you do?” Twelve-year-old Sol (Soledad Soliman) overhears her American School teacher pose the central question of Gina Apostol’s novel Gun Dealers’ Daughter to his colleague after dinner at the Soliman home in Manila. But it is Mr. Fermi’s emphatic disgust at the Solimans’s shady transactions and tacky extravagance that implants “a dart, a punctuated clarity” about the dubious origins of the family’s affluence into Sol’s pubescent body, afflicting her like “something ingrown, an infected thing.” The memory of it presages Sol’s intermittent feeling of “nausea, an elemental eruption: this split in my soul,” a divisive dis-ease about her and her family’s place in Philippine society. Though Sol eventually comes into political consciousness—acquiring knowledge about her parents’ import-export business, the prosperity it generates, and its complicity with both Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos’s “conjugal dictatorship” and U.S. backing of the authoritarian regime—and though she acts decisively on that knowledge, her disoriented and disorienting, self-consciously faulty recounting of martial law in the Philippines (1972–1986) is far from triumphant: more an indictment than a vindication of her youthful deeds. Published by Anvil in the Philippines in 2010 and by Norton in the United States in 2012, Gun Dealers’ Daughter marks Apostol’s U.S. debut and carries forward the combination of literary play (punning and allusion, metafictional reflexivity and humor) with historical reconstruction and political irreverence featured in her previous novels, Bibliolepsy (1997) and The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata (2009). The novel opens with the psychically and bodily wounded protagonist arriving in Nice, France, then being shipped to her family’s mansion in New York to resume her convalescence. Repeating several times the phrase “repetition is the site of trauma,” the novel gradually unfolds the causes of Sol’s dizzying derangement. She is diagnosed with anterograde amnesia, a condition in which her memory stalls at the traumatic experience, and compulsively returns to her single semester at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, circa 1980. Writing years later in a room overlooking the Hudson, Sol wonders whether words can make her whole, if language can save her, if “[t]his work I am doing right now could become a hesitant, crepitating—talambuhay [life story]? A reckoning. A confession.” Addressing would-be well-off radicals, on the one hand, and readers ignorant of U.S.-Philippine history, on the other, the novel presents Sol’s rueful confession of her brief, explosive flirtation with activism some thirty years ago and her part in the assassination of Colonel Grier, as well as a critical reckoning of U.S. colonialism in the Philippines and neocolonial support for Marcos’s dictatorship. While commentators since at least the Reagan era have asked why working-class constituents vote against their economic self-interests, the question is rarely asked of the other side. What would provoke the progeny of moneyed parents surrounded by seductive, sedative comforts—servant-filled mansions in Manila and New York, summer vacations in Europe and the U.S., casual, competitive mingling with Manila’s upper echelon—to act against her family’s investments?

37 citations

Performance
Metrics
No. of papers from the Journal in previous years
YearPapers
2022169
202123
202030
20195
201810
201711