We All Feel Suspended: Book Club Round-Up

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Dean Young is one of the freshest, boldest, most confident poets out there; his poems’ structures are completely unique, often winding out of control before settling into moments of recognition and revelation. We all feel/suspended over a drop into nothingness./Once you get close enough, you see what/one is stitching is the human heart. Another/is vomiting wings.  Hell, even now I love life. Camille Dungy, a Rumpus Poetry Club Board member, explains why she chose Young’s new volume Fall Higher for April’s selection; as if, after the verses above, you need anymore reasons to love him.

The LA Times reviews Jim Shepard‘s You Think That’s Bad: “These stories bring their first-person narrators right up to the point of obliteration, leaving us exhilarated and despairing at once.”

New York Times critic Thomas Mallone writes that Shepard’s “preference for historical quests, for real people’s big gestures, may help keep American short fiction from falling asleep in the snug little precincts of its usual subject matter.”

The Rumpus Book Club interviews Lidia Yuknavitch. Dawn West of PANK writes of Yuknavitch’s The Chronology of Water: “The reader is intimately aware of the body, her body, and what bodies go through.” Caleb Powell reviews Chronology for Bookslut. The Oregonian calls it “a courageous and saucy book.”

David Orr takes on public poetry in the latest issue of Poetry—”public poetry” being “the ocean of humanity that votes in elections, watches the Super Bowl, and generally makes America what it is, for better and worse.” In Timothy Donnelly‘s Cloud Corporation, he finds a voice willing to connect, both whimsically and desperately, with the questions that confront not only the poet, but also the sea of people swimming around him, humanity as a whole.

Maureen N. McClane interviews Donnelly for the Boston Review.

Bhanu Kapil talks about poem-essays, using Jena Osman’s The Network as an example, on the Poetry Foundation website.


Maddie Oatman has interviewed musicians and writers for The Rumpus. She's the research editor at Mother Jones, where she also writes. A Boulder transplant, she can often be found on her bike, skis, or cooking with vegetables, and she wrote her English thesis on a gay red-winged monster and Billy the Kid. Follow her on Twitter or read occasional musings on her blog Oats. More from this author →