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Book Review: ‘The Renunciations’ by Donika Kelly

Donika Kelly’s The Renunciations (Graywolf Press) sees its greatest impact when panned out to see the full picture. Zooming out adds nuance. On the whole, Kelly is, as the title suggests, rejecting the contents inside. They are framed within units of time that repeat: NOW, THEN, AFTER. The renunciations, then, are Kelly’s reckoning. This elegiac […]

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Book Review: ‘Begin with a Bee’ by Liza Ketchum, Jacqueline Briggs Martin and Phyllis Root; illustrations by Claudia McGehee

When I received the email that there was a new book forthcoming that featured the talents of Iowans Jacqueline Briggs Martin of Mount Vernon and Iowa City’s Claudia McGehee, I honestly got so excited. Their previous collaboration, Creekfinding, is a favorite of mine, and I leap at the chance to explore their work. Whenever I […]

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Book Review: ‘Sweeter Voices Still: An LGBTQ Anthology From Middle America’

The mythology of “the Heartland” (also called “Middle America” or the “flyover states”) is usually rooted in archaic abstractions such as “traditional family values” and conservative ideals. These parts of the American landscape are described as if they are closed off by narrow boundaries, with rigid attitudes imposed upon the diverse populations inhabiting them. As […]

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