Hello and happy summer!
I’m thrilled to introduce Paul A. Christiansen’s review of Charles D’Ambrosio’s Loitering. It’s always delightful to encounter a book that interrogates the boundaries between self and world, and criticism that does justice to the ways these ambitious philosophical ideas inform a writer’s smallest stylistic choices. I trust you’ll find D’Ambrosio’s new book, and Christiansen’s astute engagement with the text, exciting for these very reasons.
As summer draws to a close, I wanted to take a moment to highlight some especially exciting titles that have been reviewed here at Tupelo Quarterly. One of these favorites is Julia Cohen’s I WAS NOT BORN, reviewed by Farrah Field. Cohen’s new hybrid work juxtaposes poetry with text messages, transcripts of therapy sessions, letters, and meditations, ultimately challenging the boundaries between speech and writing, literary language and everyday life. As Field herself writes, “Although I WAS NOT BORN very much addresses the heartbreaking challenges of a period in her life, it is very much a book about poetry and reading and writing. Cohen’s poems and meditative paragraphs are rhythmically savvy and organically lyrical and she maneuvers between these and therapy sessions. Poetry as ligaments.” Field’s insightful analysis highlights the importance of poetry in the book (and in general) for creating order, meaning, and coherence, offering criticism that is as careful as it is expansive and philosophical.
Additionally, Anne Champion’s beautifully written review of Tarfia Faizullah’s Seam calls our attention to the role of poetry in documenting history, overcoming trauma, and fostering self-awareness. Champion writes, “Faizullah’s poetry does some of the necessary work we need to begin to combat injustice: forcing oneself to confront it and making it impossible to forget it. Thus, her poetry restores faith in humanity through its graceful empathy, and reminds us of our responsibilities to the future: we must feel the pain of others, so that we can fight for justice passionately when tragedy and war bear their monstrous teeth in our present.” In the coming months, I’m excited to continue highlighting texts that use experience as a point of entry to larger social, historical, and philosophical questions. Texts that dazzle us with both their music and their bold claims about the nature of things. Texts that remind us what is possible within the literary arts.