genre: Reviews & Interviews

The Story That Knocked in Her Chest: An Interview with Author Toya Wolfe

By Patricia Ann McNair   

Toya Wolfe was a creative writing student at Columbia College Chicago where I taught for decades. As happens in these writing programs, certain students have a glow about them, and their words, their stories, are the things that particularly make them shine. No surprise, then, when Wolfe’s debut novel was picked up by HarperCollins and… Read more »


Five Questions for Helena Rho

By Ilan Mochari   

Helena Rho’s debut memoir, American Seoul, has earned rave reviews, with Kirkus calling it “a poignant, personal, sometimes painful chronicle of self-awareness and understanding.” Two years before this astonishing debut, Helena’s essay “Becoming Korean” appeared in our pages. We recently interviewed Helena about the creative process behind American Seoul—and how the release of her book… Read more »


Interview with Namrata Poddar, author of Border Less

By Anjali Mitter Duva   

Namrata Poddar writes fiction and nonfiction, serves as Interviews Editor for Kweli, and teaches literature and writing at UCLA. Her work has appeared in several publications including Poets & Writers, Literary Hub, Longreads, The Kenyon Review, and The Best Asian Short Stories. Her debut novel, Border Less, released in March 2022 from 7.13 Books, was… Read more »


The Queen of Queens by Jennifer Martelli

By Ilan Mochari   

The Queen of Queens by Jennifer Martelli Bordighera Press, 2022 79 pages   In “Cisoria,” Jennifer Martelli writes: The finger rest and the finger ring: wings pivoting on the steel heart of a fat screw. My friend once asked me: don’t you think scissors  kind of look like angels? if you open them? Outside, the… Read more »


Six Questions for Jennifer Martelli

Six Questions for Jennifer Martelli

By Barbara Siegel Carlson   

Barbara Siegel Carlson: The title of your new poetry collection The Queen of Queens pays homage to Geraldine Ferraro, who in 1984 became the first female vice-presidential or presidential nominee representing a major party. At the time Ferraro lived in Queens, N.Y. A number of your poems feature her as an apparent role model as… Read more »


Flying Mid-Air: A Conversation with Jeff Friedman and Meg Pokrass

Flying Mid-Air: A Conversation with Jeff Friedman and Meg Pokrass

By Dzvinia Orlowsky   

Dzvinia Orlowsky: It’s a pleasure having this opportunity to interview both of you for Solstice.  Jeff, I’ve been a fan of your work for decades, and Meg, more recently, I’ve gotten to know and greatly admire yours. It’s said that you can’t judge a book by its cover. But much to your credit, in this… Read more »


Between the Hours by Barbara Siegel Carlson

By Jennifer Martelli   

Between the Hours by Barbara Siegel Carlson Finishing Line Press, 2022 27 pages In “Without a Trace,” Barbara Siegel Carlson writes: Chekhov said nothing in this world is clear and believed the heart a wanderer, each of us making our way through one moment after another like phantoms…and though some of the detail is exquisite,… Read more »


Transcontinental Pen Pals Make an Album, Having Never Met

By Richard Hoffman   

Amid the pandemic, a poet and a musician came together to create a record. The musician is George Hennig, a Swiss guitarist, singer, and songwriter with several albums to his credit including First Snow, From Grey To Gold, Jewels In The Gutter, The Definition of Face, GHOSTS, and Of Piers & Repose. The poet, in… Read more »


World Happiness Index by Kathleen Aguero

By Jennifer Martelli   

World Happiness Index  by Kathleen Aguero  Tiger Bark Press, 2022  85 pages   In her poem, “Self-Portrait,” Kathleen Aguero writes:   I live in a land of trash and extravaganza. I know the party’s over by used condoms and empty nip bottles rolling in the street. The poems in Aguero’s latest collection, World Happiness Index,… Read more »


It’s All Just Writing: Defying Genre in The Yellow Book

By Ilan Mochari and Sam Cha   

The Yellow Book ([PANK], 2020), Sam Cha’s anti-genre opus, is intentionally, wonderfully, and sublimely elusive to conventional description. To quote the blurb: “The speaker opts for camouflage, transformation, and evasion. The book, similarly, aims to elude identification, to contradict itself.” For all of these reasons and more, Solstice was elated when Sam agreed to guest-edit… Read more »


Five Questions for Erica Charis-Molling

By Robbie Gamble   

Erica Charis-Molling’s How We Burn will be published in April 2022 as part of the Robin Becker Chapbook Series at Seven Kitchens Press. Robbie Gamble: I’d like to start with the title, which is so apt, and so compressed, and speaks to so many layers of your chapbook, beginning with the fundamentalist Christian belief about… Read more »


Five Questions for Quintin Collins

By Ilan Mochari   

Quintin Collins’ second collection of poems, Claim Tickets for Stolen People, was selected by Marcus Jackson as winner of The Journal’s 2020 Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize.   Ilan Mochari: In your notes you mentioned the inciting impulse for Claim Tickets for Stolen People was the poem “The Moon is Trans” by Joshua Jennifer Espinosa.… Read more »


Eating Lightbulbs and Other Essays by Steve Fellner

By Amy Grier   

Eating Lightbulbs and Other Essays by Steve Fellner The Ohio State University Press, November 2021   “I wanted to eat lightbulbs. I wanted to hear my teeth crunch the little pieces. I wanted to swallow them, I wanted to feel them cutting the insides of my throat.” This striking admission begins the titular essay of… Read more »


Five Questions for Robbie Gamble

By Eileen Cleary   

Robbie Gamble is the author of A Can of Pinto Beans, a chapbook that chronicles his experiences volunteering with No More Deaths, an organization that provides medical and material support for migrants passing through dangerous stretches of the Sonoran Desert along the Arizona/Mexico border. Eileen Cleary is the author of two poetry collections: Child Ward… Read more »


Translating a Ukrainian poet whose “urgent, evocative lyricism spoke directly to my heart.”

By Jennifer Martelli, Dzvinia Orlowsky and Ali Kinsella   

Natalka Bilotserkivets was an active participant in Ukraine’s Renaissance of the late-Soviet and early independence period. Eccentric Days of Hope and Sorrow: Poems by Natalka Bilotserkivets (Lost Horse Press, 2021), translated from the Ukrainian by Ali Kinsella and Dzvinia Orlowsky, brings together a selection of Bilotserkivets’ poetry written over the last four decades. “Wolf Wine… Read more »


Five Questions for Jonathan Papernick

By Ilan Mochari and Jonathan Papernick   

Jonathan Papernick is the author of two short story collections, The Ascent of Eli Israel and There Is No Other and three novels, the most recent of which, I Am My Beloveds, debuted in April. Ilan Mochari: The book is narrated from a close third-person perspective that stays with the protagonist, Ben Seidel, throughout the… Read more »


Made Man by Jendi Reiter

By Robbie Gamble   

Made Man by Jendi Reiter Little Red Tree Press, 2022 140 pages   A quick scan of the table of contents of Made Man, Jendi Reiter’s third poetry collection, indicates that the reader is in for a comitragic, day-glo accented, culture-hopping, snort-inducing, gender-interrogating rollercoaster of a ride. Titles like “It’s Not Sensory Processing Disorder, You’re… Read more »


Gallery of Postcards and Maps: New and Selected Poems by Susan Rich

Gallery of Postcards and Maps: New and Selected Poems by Susan Rich

By Robbie Gamble   

Gallery of Postcards and Maps: New and Selected Poems by Susan Rich. Salmon Press, 2022, 132 pages, $16.00.   A third of the way into this far-ranging collection, Susan Rich includes a poem titled “The Mapparium,” a reminiscence about a school field trip to an unusual Boston landmark, a three-story tall glass globe of the… Read more »


Prosperity Gospel: Portraits of the Great Recession

By Richard Hoffman   

Prosperity Gospel: Portraits of the Great Recession Keith Flynn & Charter Weeks REDHAWK PUBLICATIONS, 2021   In the Winter 2019 issue of Solstice, photographer Charter Weeks described the source of his work featured in our pages: “’The Prosperity Gospel’ is a project done in collaboration with the writer, Keith Flynn, documenting the effects of the… Read more »


Yesterday’s Noise: A Family Legacy of Rage and Radiance by Joe Mackall,

By Richard Cambridge   

Yesterday’s Noise: A Family Legacy of Rage and Radiance Joe Mackall, The Humble Essayist Press, Blairsville, GA, 152 pgs. To do justice reviewing Joe Mackall’s collection of essays, Yesterday’s Noise: A Family Legacy of Rage and Radiance, it’s helpful to consider “essay” as a verb: “To initiate an effort or experiment to prove something; to

An Interview with DeWitt Henry about Endings & Beginnings: Family Essays

By Will Horwath   

ENDINGS & BEGINNINGS: FAMILY ESSAYS (MadHat Press, 2021)     WH: First off, about your daughter Ruth, in Father of the Bride you say, “how glad I was to know her.” After having read Endings and Beginnings, I said the same about your family—your dad, mom, Dave, Chuck, Jack, Connie and the rest of the

Interview with Brenda Sparks Prescott about her debut novel Home Front Lines

By Lee Hope   

What a privilege to interview Brenda Sparks Prescott, author of HOME FRONT LINES, and Dariel Suarez, author of THE PLAYWRIGHT’S HOUSE. Both novels probe into a dialectic of historical and fictional narrative and blend socio-political critique with compelling fictional characters. In this regard, I’d like to include (from a previous interview with Tim Wood) a

Interview with Dariel Suarez about his novel The Playwright’s House

By Lee Hope   

What a privilege to interview Brenda Sparks Prescott, author of HOME FRONT LINES, and Dariel Suarez, author of THE PLAYWRIGHT’S HOUSE. Both novels probe into a dialectic of historical and fictional narrative and blend socio-political critique with compelling fictional characters. In this regard, I’d like to include (from a previous interview with Tim Weed) a… Read more »


The Shape of the Keyhole by Denise Bergman

By Lo Galluccio   

The Shape of the Keyhole by Denise Bergman Black Lawrence Press, 2020 59 pages   The accomplished writer Denise Bergman composes mostly historical poems – poems rooted in a situation, place or person during a period of time.  She has written three other books of poetry: Three Hands None (Black Lawrence Press, 2020), A Woman

Review: I Wish My Father by Lesléa Newman

Review: I Wish My Father by Lesléa Newman

By Lo Galluccio   

I Wish My Father by Lesléa Newman, Headmistress Press, 2021, 92 pp/$15.00   Lesléa Newman’s poetry collection, I Wish My Father (January 2021), is a charming and revealing elegiac collection of narrative poems, all in tercets, about her relationship to her aging father from ages 83 to 90 who is never addressed or mentioned by… Read more »


Mother Heart — An interview with Patricia Ann McNair

By Alex Poppe and Patricia Ann McNair   

Patricia Ann McNair, author of the recently released story collection Responsible Adults, the acclaimed essay collection And These Are the Good Times, and the award-winning story collection The Temple of Air, is an old soul, having lived many lives (gas station manager, medical volunteer in Honduras, bartender, mushroom breeder, Chicago Mercantile Exchange trading floor worker,… Read more »


THEN AGAIN BY BEN BERMAN

Then Again by Ben Berman

By Richard Cambridge   

Review: Then Again by Ben Berman, Vine Leaves Press (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 2018), 58 pages.   If you love words, Then Again is pure delight . This slim volume is voluminous and luminous. I’ve had the pleasure of tucking it inside my jacket pocket, close to my heart, as I’ve drifted from summer to autumn,

Bad Harvest by Dzvinia Orlowsky

Bad Harvest by Dzvinia Orlowsky

By Jennifer Martelli   

Bad Harvest by Dzvinia Orlowsky, Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2018, 80 pages, $15.95   In her poem, “Losing My First Language,” Dzvinia Orlowsky writes,   Ya mayu dornu minu: I wear a stupid expression and my sister agrees. Gone my words for pipe, for wig for lovely daughter, for may a duck kick you when

Rewilding by January Gill O’Neil

Rewilding by January Gill O’Neil

By Jennifer Martelli   

Rewilding by January Gill O’Neil, CavanKerry Press (Fort Lee, New Jersey, 2018), 80 pages. In her poem, “Sober,” January Gill O’Neil writes How easy it is to get caught up in destruction, and how hard it is to rebuild . . . .// . . . . like scaffolding coiled in the greenest ivy as

The Raincoat Colors by Helena Minton

By Kathleen Aguero   

The Raincoat Colors by Helena Minton, Finishing Line Press (Georgetown, Kentucky,  2017), 32 pages.   The first poem in Helena Minton’s The Raincoat Colors establishes much of the book’s tone along with its dominant themes.  “A family is a unit of measure” it announces/begins and four lines later, “A nuclear family is a unit of

Interview with Writer and Translator Ana Jelnikar

Interview with Writer and Translator Ana Jelnikar

By Barbara Siegel Carlson   

Q1. What is your philosophy regarding translation? What are some of the major issues you face when you translate a poem? Translation for me has always been a thing of practice rather than theory, so to say that I had a ‘philosophy’ of translation would be overstating it, but certainly over a decade and more… Read more »


An Interview with Genia Blum

An Interview with Genia Blum

By Dzvinia Orlowsky   

Genia Blum is a Swiss Ukrainian Canadian dancer, writer, and translator. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Assay: Journal of Nonfiction Studies, Asymptote Journal, Atticus Review, Bending Genres, Berfrois, (b)OINK zine, Creative Nonfiction Magazine (Tiny Truths), Essay Daily, Solstice Literary Magazine, Sonora Review, and Under the Sun. She lives in Lucerne, Switzerland and… Read more »


An Interview with Serina Gousby

An Interview with Serina Gousby

By Franny Zhang   

Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me! I’m really interested in getting your perspective as a young writer of color who’s deeply involved in the Boston literary community. To that speak to that, you’re the Development Assistant & Boston Writers of Color Group Coordinator at Grubstreet. Can you tell me a… Read more »


An Interview with Tenzin Dickie

An Interview with Tenzin Dickie

By Franny Zhang   

First, let me say that I’ve admired your writing for many years, and I’m excited the rest of the world is getting a chance to see more of your work. For example, in 2017, you edited an anthology of stories titled Old Demons, New Deities: 21 Short Stories from Tibet, which was the first English-language… Read more »


An Interview with Poet Jennifer Martelli

An Interview with Poet Jennifer Martelli

By Richard Hoffman   

1. I want to jump right in to a consideration of your latest book, My Tarantella, and the figure at the center of that book, Kitty Genovese. Tell us how you came to write about her. My obsession (and that’s what it became) started with two very self-centered motives. First, Kitty Genovese looked like people… Read more »


An Interview with Adriana Páramo

An Interview with Adriana Páramo

By Amy Yelin   

Adriana Páramo is a cultural anthropologist, writer and women’s rights advocate. She is the author of Looking for Esperanza and “My Mother’s Funeral.” She teaches creative writing in the low-residency MFA program at Fairfield University and is an alumna of the travel writing workshop of VONA—Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation—a community of writers of color. At present,… Read more »


An Interview with Baron Wormser

An Interview with Baron Wormser

By Richard Cambridge   

Note: This interview took place at Portsmouth Book & Bar in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on June 6, 2018, on the heels of Baron’s newly released collection of essays Legends of the Slow Explosion—Eleven Modern Lives (Tupelo Press).   RC: The title of a book — it’s a good title — will offer a key to… Read more »


An Interview with Jaimee Wriston Colbert

An Interview with Jaimee Wriston Colbert

By Barrett Bowling   

One of the most fascinating things about talking with writers is learning how and when they map out their projects and their work. What prompted them to write this piece, or how they knew a particular work was ready to send out into the world. When I sat down with Jaimee Wriston Colbert, author of… Read more »


<em>The Shape of Water</em> Redux <br/>(A disrespectful version)

The Shape of Water Redux
(A disrespectful version)

By Manuel Rodriguez Orellana   

The Shape of Water is much more than Hollywood’s timely vilification of “the Russians” to justify Hillary’s electoral defeat in 2016. A veiled allusion to The Beauty and the Beast is clearly present. Not so clear, perhaps in the hope that some memories were flushed down the sinkhole of movie history, is the trilogy featuring the Creature from the

<em>Critical Assembly: Poems of the Manhattan Project</em> by John Canaday

Critical Assembly: Poems of the Manhattan Project by John Canaday

By Kathleen Aguero   

Critical Assembly: Poems of the Manhattan Project by John Canaday University of New Mexico Press, 2017, 203 pages, $19.95   Meticulously researched and crafted, the poems in John Canaday’s Critical Assembly: Poems of the Manhattan Project present a nuanced view of the figures and issues involved in making the first atomic bomb. The use of

Twists of Fate a review of <em>Blissful and Others Stories</em> by Steven Huff

Twists of Fate a review of Blissful and Others Stories by Steven Huff

By Richard Cambridge   

Blissful and Others Stories by Steven Huff Cosmographia Books, 2017,153 pages, $14.95   Don’t be deceived by the title of Steven Huff’s collection. The Buddhist priest was in the gym where I work out. He looked down on the locker room bench where I had tossed Blissful, gasped in awe, and asked if it was

<em>Dazzle</em> by Alison Stone

Dazzle by Alison Stone

By Jennifer Martelli   

Dazzle by Alison Stone Jacar Press, 2017, 89 pages, $16    In her ghazal, “Wind,” Alison Stone writes:  City years. Hidden by concrete and glass,  I lost starlight, became a stranger to wind.  Family visit. Old hurts and hungers  wake, the way guttered leaves stir in the wind.  The president speaks but says nothing.  Yuge.

<em>Sibylline</em> by Marc Vincenz

Sibylline by Marc Vincenz

By Libby Maxey   

Sibylline by Marc Vincenz Ampersand Books, 2016, paperback, $12.95, 47 pgs. ISBN 9780986137068   The Sibylline Books of the ancient world were many things: legend, prophecy, political tool, guide to worship, syncretic node, divine relic, dangerous art. Long protected for their power, they were ultimately destroyed for the same reason. Marc Vincenz’s Sibylline is also

City of Eternal Spring by Afaa Michael Weaver

City of Eternal Spring by Afaa Michael Weaver

By Pablo Medina   

City of Eternal Spring by Afaa Michael Weaver, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014, 96pp/, $15.95   City of Eternal Spring confirms what I felt when I first started reading Afaa Michael Weaver’s poems about ten years ago. He is a master poet who is comfortable in his craft at the same time that he takes… Read more »


I Carry My Mother by Lesléa Newman

I Carry My Mother by Lesléa Newman

By Rebecca Hart Olander   

I Carry My Mother by Lesléa Newman, Headmistress Press, 2015, 108 pp/, $10.00   Lesléa Newman’s latest book, I Carry My Mother takes as its subject the death of the author’s mother and the process of grieving this loss. In this unflinching, layered account, Newman opens a window on a human experience deeply her own… Read more »