The musician has a keen eye for detail and orchestration ― just when she brings up an anecdote that seems out of place, it suddenly begins to make sense in the larger framework of her life — the last chapter of the book is all about thumbs in her life, just because she wanted to end on a funny note.


It’s often jarring to find art that solely expresses themes contained in everyday life. Perhaps because popular artists don’t lead “normal” lives, or perhaps because people aren’t interested in the ones that do.


Even in a book defined by its skillful handling of emotions, Evans still manages to impress with his mastery of poetic form. He frequently varies his style, switching from long lines with no stanza breaks throughout an entire poem to curt, choppy lines split into small stanzas.


Olds’s spontaneous and thematically inconsistent recollection of events sacrifices an even flow between poems to obtain an authentic and unfiltered glimpse into her mind. But without access to Olds’s mind, “Arias” requires multiple readings to offer more than just this glimpse.


Little did I know that “Trust Exercise” would utterly betray me, leading me to question not only the establishment, but my own sense of self as a reader.

Sarah Salman

Deliciously cult-ish, dark and surprisingly touching, “The Family Upstairs” subverts the traditional mystery-thriller, blending together multiple genres.


One might even say Equi’s attention to sonic detail brings us back to the “good old days” of poetry, before technology got in the way, but that would be cliched and dismissive of the leaps and bounds we have made since then — a lesson that perhaps Equi herself could learn.

Emily Yang

In other words, this book has, in a roundabout way, both the digressiveness and the energy of her novels. The essay form also seems like something of a touchpoint for some of the stories here, in that Smith frequently eschews conflict, plot, and even character development in favor of scene, texture, and voice.

Su Hwang

People watching, the search for cultural identity and the subtleties of growing up in the city gracefully intertwine as Su Hwang offers her upbringing to the reader in her poetry collection “Bodega.” Born in Korea shortly before immigrating to New York City, Hwang uses her experiences to develop

Jo Chang

But, even if this novel is an easy read, it is not a wholly superficial one. It could have been written very poorly, especially in regards to character portrayal.