Ostrich Review

Fifty Word Friday: Aspects of Strangers by Piotr Gwiazda

September 9th, 2016

Aspects of Strangers by Piotr Gwiazda

85 pages

Moira Books: December 2015



Expanding strangeness through influences of materialism & society, Gwiazda allows us to take a step outside ourselves & then leads us to look in at an oddly comical, pitiful, and mysterious surrounding. Included among the Six Top Books of World Poetry by Scroll magazine, these poems bare the creative process in a richly varied collection, “This is called knowledge transfer.”

(Review written by Ostrich staff member Tessy Ward.)

Fifty Word Friday: Rigging a Chevy into a Time Machine and Other Ways to Escape a Plague by Carolyn Hembree

September 2nd, 2016

Rigging a Chevy into a Time Machine and Other Ways to Escape a Plague by Carolyn Hembree

88 pages

Trio House Press: January 2016



Winner of the 2015 Trio Award & the 2015 Marsh Hawk Press Rochelle Ratner Memorial Award. Hembree’s wild array of poems are sequenced like a truck owner’s manual that desires more Safety Restraints and a few less Roadside Emergencies. Combines the surreal “Quantum Mechanical Eyecandy” & the imaginable “His Bedsheet in Place” together in a tug-of-war between realities.

(Review written by Ostrich staff member Tessy Ward.)

Fifty Word Friday: Faithful and Virtuous Night by Louise Glück

July 31st, 2015

Faithful and Virtuous Night by Louise Glück 

80 pages

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: September 2014



In Faithful and Virtuous Night (2014 National Book Award winner) Louise Glück writes, “Indeed, there are infinite endings,” and, indeed, time seems to swirl and slosh against death rather than move inexorably toward it. An ethereal, utterly mesmerizing meditation on death, the passage of time, and the nature of memory.

(Review written by Ostrich staff member Rachel Rinehart.)

Fifty Word Friday: Gabriel, A Poem by Edward Hirsch

July 24th, 2015

Gabriel: A Poem by Edward Hirsch

96 pages

Knopf: September 2014



In a book-length elegy for his son, Edward Hirsch’s unpunctuated prosody rails and thrashes against the rigid structure of the tercet: a perfect—yet hectic—linguistic manifestation of his son’s struggle and ultimate failure to live by society’s rules. “Like a bird ricocheting off the window” Gabriel is wrenchingly beautiful.

(Review written by Ostrich staff member Rachel Rinehart.)

Fifty Word Friday: Sonnets (25th Anniversary Edition) by Bernadette Mayer

July 3rd, 2015

Sonnets (25th Anniversary Edition) by Bernadette Mayer

Tender Buttons Press: 1989, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-927920-05-6


In one poem, Mayer writes “This is my new form of sonnet,” but it feels true for the whole book. In this re-release of Bernadette Mayer’s part collection, part unending questioning of what a sonnet “is,” includes 21 “skinny sonnets” produced by hypnogogic exercises that further rethink the sonnet form.

(Review written by Ostrich staff member Anthony Sutton.)

Tuesday Grab Bag: Two Strains of Writing Exercises (And You)

June 30th, 2015

Recently, I’ve been relying a lot on writing exercises (I love them!), anything I can get that jams into the hollow nooks of the brain with something of enough plasticity that I can make a poem from it. Last week I attended the (awesome) New Harmony Writers Workshop where I had a lot of different writing exercises thrown my way. Since then I’ve been sorting through all the exercises I’ve tried out through the summer, and thinking about the trends between the ones that work for me and the ones that don’t work for me. Here’s my theory: we can generalize writing exercises into two general groups: exercises that pull from the writer and exercises that push something onto the writer. I’ll explain with examples: read more…

Tuesday Grab Bag: Badass Females in Television & Films: To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before

June 24th, 2015
Because it’s (sadly) not 1994 anymore and a trip to the movies doesn’t cost $3.75 a pop, I go out and see about 3-5 movies a year (for example, 2014’s movie-theater-worthy films: The Grand Budapest HotelMaleficent, Boyhood, The Lego Movie, Big Hero 6). Mad Max: Fury Road wasn’t on my 2015 list, but I saw it and fell hard for Imperator Furiosa. Which got me thinking: who are the other badass females I’ve loved before? Here’s the Top 10, in the order they came into my life.
Coming up on my next TGB… Badass Females in Literature: A Good Woman Isn’t Hard to Find. And, if you’ve never heard the song behind my subtitle, you need to listen to Julio Iglesias (yes, Enrique’s dad) and Willie Nelson, right now.

read more…

Fifty Word Friday: Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

June 19th, 2015

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

192 pages

Vintage: Oct. 2014


ISBN: 0345806875

This band of scattered memories, musings, and trivia symphonizes later, when you’re lonely and walking beneath skyscrapers, and a blue jay missiles toward your head. Weren’t the birds back home lovely? Offill re-imagines the fortunate fall. “It’s stupid to have a telescope in the city, but we bought one anyway.”

(Review written by Ostrich fiction editor Sarah Heying.) 

Fifty Word Friday: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

June 12th, 2015

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr

531 pages

Scribner: May 2014


ISBN: 1476746583

Though set predominantly in Germany and occupied France during WWII, this is not a “war novel.” Part of me wanted to savor it, while the other couldn’t read it fast enough. Tiny, lyrical chapters interspersed with longer ones, and books that jump back and forth in time. Thematically intricate. Recommended.

(Review written by Ostrich staff member Danielle Grimes Sutton.)

Fifty Word Friday: Citizen by Claudia Rankine

June 5th, 2015

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

160 pages

Graywolf Press: October 2014


ISBN: 1555976905

“this is how you are a citizen: Come on. Let it go. Move on.” Rankine’s Citizen is an examination of being a citizen while being black: being black in white space, being object, being erasure, being outraged, being “black body thrown,” being. An evocative and necessary read for all citizens.

(Review written by Ostrich guest blogger Lori Mosley.)