SPD is proud to celebrate recent titles that have drawn critical praise & attention. We've gathered some of our favorite recent review highlights and will compile that buzz for you here regularly. Publishers & authors: if you've got a new review you'd like considered for our highlights, please send it to!

Edinburgh Notebook by Valerie Mejer Caso, Translated by Michelle Gil-Montero | Action Books, 2021

"[Mejer Caso's] work draws inspiration from the painterly imagery of the Surrealists and the absurdity of the existentialists; at times it’s reminiscent of the rapture of Rilke’s “Duino Elegies,” at others of the linguistic oddity of César Vallejo’s “Trilce.” For if grief warps language it also warps time, and therefore reality.

Elisa Gabbert

The New York Times | March 24, 2021


Dust Bowl Venus by Stella Beratlis | Sixteen Rivers Press, 2021

"From historical figures like Anthony Wayne Comstock to varieties of tomatoes, Dust Bowl Venus explores the connection between the physical world, history, and ourselves. Through her use of imagery, interspersed song lyrics, and American symbolism, Beratlis fashions a book of distinctly Western-America Gothic poems that explores humanity’s tether to the world around us."

- Sarah Senseny

American Microreviews | Spring, 2021


Wite Out by Linda Norton  | Hanging Loose Press, 2020

"Wite Out is a profound text in its difficulty to be defined, categorized, or even written about. The book is brave, but takes into account that a white woman writing about whiteness and whiteness’s relationship to Blackness shouldn’t be a brave undertaking. What Norton is doing is rare for a white author: confronting through candid autobiography the influence of whiteness over her life."

- Katie Ebbitt

The Poetry Project | Summer, 2021


Listen My Friend, This Is The Dream I Dreamed Last Night by Cody-Rose Clevidence | The Song Cave, 2021

"Listen, My Friend, This Is The Dream I Dreamed Last Night deserves all the acclaim and more. Like a lot of masterworks, Clevidence’s volume is genre less and endlessly gripping. It’s a work of acceptance and refusal that is completely open to all types of readers–poets, non-poets, historians, philosophers, plumbers, airline attendants, people who rarely read and don’t really like to read."

- Jeff Alessandrelli

Kenyon Review | July 20, 2021


Before Stonewall by Edward M. Cohen | Awst Press, 2021

"Cohen’s images are acute, and his insights on people’s behaviors—their cruelties, their yearning, their play acting—are sharp. Before Stonewall is a precise, evocative short story collection that centers the lives of queer men who were otherwise relegated to the shadows." 

Michelle Anne Schlingler

Foreword Reviews | May/June, 2021


How Proust Ruined My Life & Other Essays by Gloria Frym | BlazeVOX books, 2020

"Frym’s essays draw attention to ways certain writers have strategically approached the diverse conditions presented to them, pushing into the fiction of form to better understand what it means to read and write from our varied stakes in time and place, with connection to those famous or not, to texts that are well known or little read. Her work is a reminder of the fragility of human needs and placements in relation to shifting social environments." 

- Dale Martin Smith

Fence Digital | May 21, 2021


Nudes by Elle Nash | Short Flight/Long Drive Books, 2021

"Nash’s style carries the general malaise and disconnection of Marie Calloway’s work, but it’s darker, more sadistic...It feels strange listing literary antecedents because while the work obviously owes a debt to 2010s Tumblr and the Alt-lit of yesteryear, Nash’s style is entirely her own." 

- Keegan Swenson

Maudlin House | August 6, 2021


Review Highlights Archive]
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