“Though one could approach Kissing a Tree Surgeon as a novel-in-stories, some of the tales stand out: like a stark, hypnopompic hallucination just before waking.”
"Geffen’s work doesn’t shy away from difficult anomalies, uncertain futures, and the queering of mainstream artists for the sake of Internet infamy."
"...the lyricism of Southern poetry and natural imagery to create a compendium of affirmation, grievances, and discovery."
"Mickelbury paints a vivid portrait of a community fighting slavery in 1856 and 1857 Philadelphia, and reminds us of the ways in which abolition remains an ongoing process."
"The prevailing mood of these essays is a kind of wise, gentle regret... Not regret for the writer’s own actions; rather, that the past went the way it did—that it went down so hard."
"It is a wholly original book, a metaphysical mystery that touches on the way our private passions become both our albatrosses and our north stars."
"Many of the pieces recount the hostility felt and the disappointment faced after coming out as trans to their Buddhist communities."
"...a wide range of the enormous complexity of human relationships, and a number of mysteries."
"...my heart expanded; so did my sense of the sonnet’s contemporary possibility; so did my joy in pure language."
"...a gorgeous exploration of fate and family identity, a marvel in language and form."
"Luczak explores masculinity, the experiences of characters with disabilities, and the human search for connection with wisdom and nuance."
"The final chord sounds, and it’s ringing with acceptance—a fitting end to an extraordinarily fine collection."
"...it moves between the real and surreal [and] immerses readers in visceral out-of- and in-body experiences."
"Hilary Zaid’s debut novel is as revelatory and celebratory as a coming out."
"What is [this] double-Z-cup-wearing, fish-and-grilled-cheese-devouring Technicolor/3-D colossus seeking? She wants whatever the hell she decides she wants, and good on her."
"The broader arc of the book, deftly hidden beneath the roaring prose, is almost an addiction story: a bottom to hit, a relapse, an uncertain future."
"...Sgambati treats those appetites so gently, even when individuals pursue them violently."
"...each storyline ruptures the construct of kinship."
"...because of my own journey with a transmasculine identity, I related to many aspects of the stories in this collection."
"...softness—that burden that comes with being a woman."
"It’s an idea that SELFISH reinforces so well: that what we present as may be a far cry from who we really are."
"Because they are forbidden to be themselves, to pursue their natural lives, the children who refuse to betray their own desires are as powerful as the adults—even more powerful in death than they are in life."
"...it is through literature that the narrator sees this state being achieved; poems are a way of “living moments twice,” of loving and preserving experience."
"In these unprecedented times, Holtland’s poetry collection serves as a gentle reminder that we are not entirely separate from the earth."
"In this novel memory’s presence is fully embodied, the pain in Angelina’s wrist merging with the pain of beatings she’s taken at her father’s hands—and with the pain of heartache."
"A Choir of Honest Killers is by turns painful, raw, and intimate, but it is also stirring, tender, and joyful..."
"... a fascinating, challenging collection of structural experiments, a kind of narrative exploration of chaos theory ... And, well, I never can resist a Scorpio."
"[Earley] links the characters’ journeys to larger thematic concerns about identity and disability."
"Alternating between cheeky, romantic, sensual, and moody, the poems bring fresh joy to ordinary moments and an understated Irish warmth to the genre."
"In these poems Higdon takes hard, unflinching looks at herself: the roots of her ways of thinking, her behavior in relationships, and her ideas about what happens when we die."
"...the individual testament of a body and a mind experiencing a beautiful, unkind world."
"There is perhaps some unity in breaks this poet explores—they are the ruptures between mind and body, between desire and reality, between experience and the ability to capture and keep it."
"Set in a dystopian near-future, what’s most terrifying is how ominous their present time—so close to our country’s present moment—reveals itself to be."
"...it’s as complex, distressing, and surprising as anything you will read this year."
"The poems in this book fear no field—science, song, sound, history."
"The heartbreak of this novel is both its grounding in a specific cultural, racial, and sexual reality and the relentlessness of it."
"Each story creeps up on the reader like a sneaker wave, lulling with rhythmic language and an enchanting blend of stark hyperrealism and folklore."
"I had forgotten that through the eyes of a child, Christmas is a very different thing. Luckily, Winterson has not forgotten this key fact."
"Re-considering glowing-eyed sea creatures was just the first of many moments in which my brain broke open..."
"...as a boy Hervey possessed an early love for reading and an unrelenting imagination that would’ve been considered unwieldy had he been raised anywhere else but the American South."
"In the collection’s title story, fantastically huge walrus-creatures seem to be locked in a wrestling match with a narrator ... The walrus is both irresistible and frightening. The narrator’s desire to connect with people nearby is the same."
“Cut to Bloom is a welcome addition to an impressive contemporary literature by young, queer, Asian Americans.”
"Jonah and Georgia both make terrible mistakes and pay for them dearly, but everything comes out all right in the end..."
"A Voice in the Warm feels like the start of a deeper investigation, not just into a poet, but into the cultural moment that was so receptive to what he had to say."
"By taking stock of his own faults and failures, successes and dreams, he enables us to more clearly see ourselves, which is memoir’s highest purpose."
"...the poet’s desires transmute both scene and object so that the poems become more dreamlike and echo more fully with the logic of sound, the promised siren song."
"From the first page, the magic is instant. So swift and sudden you don’t see the difficulty in its creation, like all the best writers manage."
"Barron’s assembled something like an album of pictures of the place she lives (which is
both in and outside of herself), to show us the life she’s made and what she’s made of it."
"The power of Machado’s words and her ability to force you into experiencing the narrative is the real meat of In the Dream House."
"Does contact always amount to a connection?"
"Ace retains the compassion that fills this collection, the deep desire to connect with others and with ourselves across time."
"...deciduous qween is about loss and renewal and the beauty you can find when you move forward, but never on."
"...a book about trauma that does not limit itself to the human traumas ... asserting that the process of healing from these traumas, for both human and dog, is one of interspecies connection and care."
"Kearnes writes pulpy tales of sex and drugs and jars us from our voyeurism with a volta."
“Because these stories so often deal in fusion, confusion, and refusal, radical change and stifling continuity cast their dual shades over the characters and their times — which are ours, as well.”
"...five Greenlanders slowly untangle their erotic and romantic connections to one another."
"...a salve for queer readers during these troubling times."
"The self-doubt, fears, and pain she shares will connect with anyone who has struggled to come to terms with their sexuality."
"...dazzling prose how the Two-
Spirit experience differs from the commonly accepted
understanding of transgender identity."
"Sindu creates beauty with hard edges, lyrical language paired with wrenching plot."
"the chance of making one’s own meaning or making it out, even in the face of violence, slowly emerges."
"She and Naimon develop the idea of sentences having bones and structures much in the manner of animals, each form producing its own particular gait."