The Zinophile: The Origins of Two Poetry Chapbooks

Good writing can take its inspiration from almost anything, from true-life experiences to speculation to riffs on objects and scenarios encountered in passing to the culture we encounter every day. The two chapbooks covered in today’s column take inspiration from wildly disparate topics. One is written in a reflexive voice, surrounding its point of origin and corresponding with it in numerous ways; the other takes the stuff of classical works — seasons, romance — and channels it through an abrupt, […]

Continue Reading

“Either you dress for the music or the occasion”: The Complex and Challenging Poetry of Leah Umansky

I tend to gravitate towards people who can utter statements with passion and honesty sans irony to the effect of “The first chapter of Wuthering Heights changed my life.” I long ago dropped the pretension that a love of books in anyway, necessarily, speaks positively of a personality. Yet, Leah Umansky, makes me rethink my opinion. Umansky, a prolific and talented poet, a loving and devoted teacher, represents someone of the rarified kind who still believes, deeply, in the power […]

Continue Reading

“Betrayal”: Live at Franklin Park with Heidi Julavits, Touré, Fiona Maazel, Leah Umansky, and Joseph Riippi

  Franklin Park, just off the prettier end of Eastern Parkway and Franklin Avenue, has quickly become perhaps the best place in Brooklyn to see live literature. Thanks to the superb efforts of host and curator Penina Roth, who verifies that success comes from being kind to anyone and everyone, the high pedigree of authors who’ve graced the Franklin Park Reading Series at 618 St. John’s Place in recent months has included Jennifer Egan, Rick Moody, Mary Gaitskill, Michael Showalter, […]

Continue Reading