December Read of the Month: “Wins and Losses,” by Peter Makuck

Reviewed by Brendan Galvin Wins and Losses is Peter Makuck’s fourth collection of short stories, a dozen to be exact, and as in the earlier three books his settings are mostly blue collar towns and his characters are usually middle-class Americans, sometimes retired, sometimes trying to get by in questionable financial weather. Makuck was a […]

Brendan Galvin

Brendan Galvin is the author of several books of poetry, including Winter Oysters (1983); Hotel Malabar (1998), winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize; Habitat (2005), a finalist for the National Book Award; Ocean Effects (2007); and Egg Island Almanac (2017), which won the Crab Orchard Series. His work has appeared in hundreds of journals, textbooks, and […]

“South of the Etowah,” by Raymond L. Atkins

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl The “Etowah” in the title to Raymond L. Atkins’s recently published book refers to a 164-mile-long waterway rising in northwest Georgia to begin flowing south and then west through Rome, Georgia. If one had the interest, one might build a raft and, Huckleberry-like, float along through Alabama down to Mobile […]

“A Sensory History of the Civil War,” by Mark M. Smith

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl There’s an online collection now providing access to over 7,000 different photographic views and portraits made during the American Civil War.  The images represent the original glass plate negatives photographed under the supervision of Mathew Brady and Alexander Gardner. The images are powerful: the dead about to be interred at […]

“Honey from the Lion” and “Allegheny Front,” by Matthew Neill Null

Reviewed by Donna Meredith The land itself and male characters dominate the early works of West Virginia author Matthew Neill Null. They include the literary novel Honey from the Lion (Lookout Books, 2015) and a short story collection, Allegheny Front (Sarabande Books, 2016), which won the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction. If there is […]

“The Final Days of Great American Shopping,” by Gilbert Allen

Reviewed by Allen Mendenhall With so many journals and genres available today, the dependable reviewer has a duty to warn off the noble optimists and advise the faint-hearted when a book is not for them.  Obligation thus requires that I caution readers:  Gilbert Allen’s The Final Days of Great American Shopping, a collection of short […]

“Wrath of the Dixie Mafia,” by Paul Sinor

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl It could become a film noir but the script would need to be a departure from the novel, remade into a much tauter, no-nonsense rapid-fire dialogue between characters resplendent in their gritty glory. It would help to have hardboiled masters at hand like Raymond Chandler and tough guys like Bogart […]

November Read of the Month: “Don’t Try,” by Nathan Brown and Jon Dee Graham

Reviewed by William Bernhardt Though many contemporary poets pen wonderful work, this is not an age characterized by innovation. The free verse/blank verse modern poem looks much the same from one page to the next. Consequently, when a couple of artists jointly produce something genuinely innovative, we should all sit up and notice. This is just […]