Welcome to Drunken Boat’s debut book review section; hope you enjoy! The books reviewed in this section represent a wide range of aesthetics and genres, and this is a goal that stems from my own appetite and appreciation as a writer/reader, and is consistent with Drunken Boat’s inclusiveness in terms of formal and social diversity. Reviews alternate between micro- and full-length. In this issue, some reviews are linked to DB15’s special folio on illness and the body, and I anticipate some reviews will be linked in future issues to special folios.
The books reviewed do list towards the experimental. As review editor, I would like to draw readers’ attention to compelling books that aren’t already getting attention, and the truly avant-garde, by nature outside the literary mainstream, often doesn’t get much notice initially. I’ve observed that despite there being many venues for reviews, many of the same titles often get reviewed. Sometimes the line between reviewing and advertising blur. My hope is that this section contributes to opening a wider space for readers’ natural curiosity and the hypnotic draw of books, and that it be eclectic. I hope, too, that the bi-weekly DB blog feature extending from this section, “What five books I’m reading now…” inspires a similar meditative hold.
Since book reviews participate in a conversation about literary trends and the contemporary literary landscape as it’s evolving, I view this section as a collaborative space. Many of Drunken Boat’s reviewers are writers with the breadth to situate the text they’re reviewing within a wider context—in addition to their being critically thoughtful, witty, passionate, and stimulating; and at times, provocative. Given this terrain, the books reviewed will include a few authored by well-known authors alongside emerging ones.
You’ll notice that the table of contents isn’t divided by genre—it’s alphabetized and seamless. This wasn’t planned on my part; it was DB’s designer Rob Ray’s artistic choice, and I decided not to ask him to change it. My aesthetic approach to this section is in sync, after all, with an absence of pre-defined categories. I’d like this section to reflect a dynamic sense of “the book” and “the review” as artistic genres. Accordingly, this debut section contains an interview with two married poets that explores how each of their work/artistic process influences the other—not towards a specific collaborative project, but a collaboration nonetheless. In future issues, I plan to include interviews and other features that deconstruct book-making from different angles.
This section is a collaborative effort on many levels. My plan, aesthetically speaking, is for it to evolve creatively.