Category Archives: Book Reviews

How To Keep You Alive / Ella Longpre MFA ’15 first book release!



As one walked upon the scene for the release party staged at Innisfree for Ella Longpre’s  How to Keep You Alive (HTKYA-press-release), one saw a throng of people wearing glittery multi-colored party hats, greeting each other like family. Moving among them was Ella herself, garbed in white showing those who had gathered how to use the projector set and headphones, gesturing toward the photos playing on a white sheet pinned to the red-brick wall. Images displayed, “existing with a technicality and only with great effort” to shut out the chatter and grind of the surrounding din, listening to her voice, “like a floating dream, waiting for a symbol to occur”.


Among the ephemera of the evening were also pages of the text, hanging on the walls, as it was originally intended to exist, hanging as curtains to the many shelves of poetry living behind them.


And it is the collective experience of these particles of a work larger than a body or a house, but, “the demonstration of time as a mentor” working to give a synesthesia of experience. A performance that you don’t need so much as an ordering of holes, filled perforations. Listening to Ella, one has a sense of poetry that is more than Poetry, but “alchemical as the sun’s light changes your fluid”. One part nostalgia-stripped Camelot, another part slope to the window of a ventricle; wholly knit tissue-screen; a technology of windows dreaming of what can keep us alive.


The evening was opened up by Brian, owner of Innisfree who knows Ella well as employer-friend-ally-comrade. In his many words of praise and appreciation for her knowledge and skill as only a book-loving barista can possess, he said, “I hope when she writes her taxes that she will write ‘Poet'”. The essence of his words led us to an elevation of her character as one who takes her path with a cultivated fortitude and humble virtuosity.


When Ella took the stage for some choice readings of the book, it became clear the power a book can have as evidence of survival. That “a mirror adds a negative room to a room”; that negative space is of a dangerous, waking lie. Violence itself is a lie and, “ecstasy means leaving our stain on a room, nervous system of a house”. So if the writing itself exposes the mirror, then her reading was a dream-window and everyone in the room a lucid dreamer.


And if Innisfree is a house (which it is to all those who find sanctuary there), then there is no doubt Ella Longpre released her first book in a place of home.


If you want to get yourself a copy, pick one up at Innisfree, or snag one of the 5 left in stock on Amazon.


~~The Hungry Ghost~~

New Book Review by JKS Student Ella Longpre


Cinema of the Present by Lisa Robertson
Coach House Books, October 2014
Amazon / Coach House Books

Lisa Robertson’s works inhabit the charged space between poetic intricacy and essayistic inquiry. A slight shuddering movement between forms can be tracked from work to work, from the hybrid-creature Xeclogue, to the poetry collection Magenta Soul Whip, and then up to the essays—the aporias—of Nilling. This characteristic oscillation of form can be distilled, too, from line to line: a statement questions while it revives; it can be read as a note on the archaeology of address, or recited as an ode. But if the ode wore velvet, or some other provocative material, such as resin.

Read the full review here.

ella-longpre-photoElla Longpre is a writer and musician living under a mountain. Her work can be found here.

Matt Pincus’ Book Review Mania!

Congratulations to JKS MFA candidate Matt Pincus on his recent reviews!

Let Go and Go On and On by Tim Kinsella on BookSlut

Louis XXX by George Bataille on Pank’s Website

The Whack-Job Girls by Bonnie ZoBell on Pank’s Website

Cunt Norton by Dodie Bellamy in RainTaxi

What’s the Deal by Rod Smith on the Volta 365 Blog

OK Tony by Cyrus Console on the Volta 365 Blog

533055_1647225774565_458872365_nMatt Pincus was born and raised in San Diego, CA. He received a B.A. from Pitzer College in English and World Literature and is currently an M.F.A. candidate at Naropa University’s Writing and Poetics program. He is a review contributor for PANK, the Volta 365 blog, RainTaxi and Bookslut.

Tarpaulin Sky Reviews Continuous Frieze Bordering Red


Reviewed by Thomas Fink

Michelle Naka Pierce’s long poem, Continuous Frieze Bordering Red, examines how others identify the poet’s speaker based on social structures of racial differentiation and hierarchy, as well as how she entertains strategies of self-identification or resistance and identifications. “Born in Japan” (back cover), Pierce is the daughter of a Japanese mother and “white” “American” father.

At the outset, Pierce builds in a formal resistance to ordinary reading. Like most books, Continuous Frieze Bordering Red gives no instructions about how to read it vertically and/or horizontally. But as soon as I tried to read the first page in the “normal” way, I found an especially severe disjunction—both grammatically (a preposition followed by a capitalized subject, then a verb) and thematically—between the third line and the one below it, and after that, frequent patterns of disruption.

Some trial and error ensued, and then I discovered that ordinary syntax and greater flow are preserved if I assume a continuity between the first line, read from left to right, and the first line of the next page all the way to the book’s end, and then follow the second line from page 1 to 68, and so on, until the fifth and final line. And yet the bottom of pages 21 through 32 each feature two to four vertically proceeding lines of verse, often with multiple indentations, near the bottom of the page.

Read the full review here!