Category: New Discoveries

Henrietta Goodman’s “All That Held Us”

Henrietta Goodman’s new collection of poems, “All That Held Us,” like much modern poetry, is discursive, tangential, elliptical — but hers takes the idea of one-thing-leading-to-another to new formal heights. Each poem begins with a line or phrase from the previous poem, sometimes the last line. The “story” — an ongoing exploration into the relationship...

This Beautiful Fantastic

Finally! A movie for botany nerds, for artistic landscapers, for gardeners. The unrelentingly charming film This Beautiful Fantastic, written and directed by Simon Aboud, takes a familiar tale — curmudgeonly old man’s heart melts for an impossibly lovely young woman — and makes it magical. His leads, Tom Wilkinson, as the grouchy horticulturalist, and Jessica Brown Findlay as...

Xandria Phillips’ “Reasons for Smoking”

“I write to you from the predicament of Blackness,” is the opening line of Xandria Phillips’ new collection of poems, “Reasons for Smoking.” Unwritten, but deeply felt, is the predicament of Femaleness. And Gayness. And Differentness. All these challenges are met (and rhetorically bested) by this fierce poet’s keen sense of self and of the...

Lance Mason’s “A Proficiency in Billiards”

Like legions of other itinerant seekers, Lance Mason has backpacked and motorcyled the world, crossed the oceans on freighter ships, seen how the rest of the planet lives. He’s got tales to tell. All traveler’s do; among the peripatetic horde, Mason is among the most gifted writers we’ve encountered. His collection of travel essays, “A Proficiency...

Owen Broder’s “Heritage

The saxophonist and composer Owen Broder has assembled a band of beautiful musicians for his American Roots Project. On their new recording, “Heritage,” the ARP explores blues, bluegrass, folk, and church hymns, filtered through a light jazz scrim. It’s Appalachia meets Manhattan.  The results are lush, piquant  and altogether addictive. ARP’s music on “Heritage” feels comforting and familiar — and...

Grant Clauser, Poet

Many readers dislike poetry because it’s, well, poetic, employing technical maneuvers like alliteration and assonance (and repetition). According to popular wisdom, prose is plainspoken; poetry is fancy. Poems don’t seem to say what they mean; they dance around the simply stated truth, impressed with their sophistication and refinement. The poet Grant Clauser offers a bracing antidote to...

Colin McGourty, Chess Reporter

As the roving reporter for the Website Chess24.com, journalist Colin McGourty follows the best chess players around the globe, filing daily missives from tournaments and competitions, interviewing the best minds in the game, and generally keeping the chess public updated on the latest goings-on. In his colorful articles, McGourty elegantly pulls off the difficult trick...

Jacob Tremblay, Child Actor

The Canadian child actor Jacob Tremblay delivers performance of such naturalness and transparency that we forget he’s a kid. His work made us weep in two current movies, “Wonder,” in which he plays a boy with a birth defect (Mom: Julia Roberts), and the extraordinary and moving “The Book of Henry” (Mom: Naomi Watts), in which...

Judah Friedlander’s “America is the Greatest Country in the United States”

Like their ancestor the King’s jester, modern comedians have implicit license to express out loud what many think but few are permitted to say. The best stand-up comics are truth-tellers. Their magic is to get you to laugh at the truth instead of cry. In his new special, “America is the Greatest Country in the...