Madcap by Jessie Janeshek

 

Often skating on the edge of stream of consciousness, Janeshek’s Madcap is alternately sexual and sulfurous, manic and slyly denunciatory. Recurring images of Hollywood’s Golden Age beauties, modern consumer culture, and desecrated nature yield a complex, compact poetry destined to appeal to the wise, the lonely, and the brave.

 

 

The Book of the Last Word by Jesi Bender

 

With a structure as fragmented and jagged as the souls it depicts, The Book of the Last Word is a tale that undergoes an evolution as you read, moving from the simple and realistic to the complex and symbolic and back and back again. Populated with literary, spiritual, and historical references that span recorded time, this is a brief, crisply written novel you’ll feel an urge to reread as soon as you’ve finished it.

 

the internet is for real by Chris Campanioni

 

Campanioni defies expectations with the internet is for real–never mind the traditional boundaries between fiction, nonfiction, and poetry–yielding an artfully rendered autobiography of sorts. For lovers of the formally experimental, especially those anxious to see that broad canvas devoted to questions of self, race, and ethnicity, this is a must read.

 

 

Not Everyone Is Special by Josh Denslow

 

Josh Denslow’s debut collection, built on uniformly intriguing conceits, comes from a universe all its own, one populated with oddball characters living out ironic situations. Though there is an edge to these stories, the prospects of bitterness and cynicism looming, Denslow’s fiction ultimately holds light and humanity as the foundations of its trippy, offbeat tales.

 

 

This One Will Hurt You by Paul Crenshaw

 

Deeply affecting and elegant, both in their precision of language and lack of artifice, the essays in This One Will Hurt You stretch from the paracomic to the tragic in their depictions of life in small town America, an America that may well be dying, but in Crenshaw’s hands still has the courage to cut itself open in front of you, to make sure you see it bleed.

 

 

Tsunami vs. the Fukushima 50: Poems by Lee Ann Roripaugh 

 

Tsunami vs. the Fukushima 50 combines narrative and meditative aspects of poetry to produce a vivid portrait of the collision between civilization and apocalypse. With reference points from the superheroic to the mythic, from B-movie monsters to the geopolitical, this is a brilliantly assembled collection, one that yields something similar in scope and depth to an experimental novella.

 

 

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KURT BAUMEISTER reviews books for The Nervous Breakdown. His writing has appeared in Salon, Electric Literature, Guernica, Entropy, Volume 1 Brooklyn, Rain Taxi, The Rumpus, The Weeklings, The Good Men Project, and others. His debut novel PAX AMERICANA was published in 2017 by Stalking Horse Press. Find him at www.kurtbaumeister.com.

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