Two years ago, the Midwestern book tour I was on with duncan b. barlow concluded on a rainy Chicago night with a reading at Volumes Bookcafe headlined by Maryse Meijer. Hearing Meijer read from her debut collection, Heartbreaker, left me floored; since then, I’ve eagerly read her subsequent books, the novella Northwood and the new collection Rag. Meijer’s fiction is haunting in a host of ways, some of them literal: she brings the reader to the border of the uncanny and primal, while also tapping into something deeply modern and urgent. I spoke with her following the release of her latest book about her short fiction, the role of horror in her work, and titles, among other topics.
In our morning reading: reviews of books by Sophia Shalmiyev, Richard Chiem, and Maryse Meijer; an interview with K Chess; and more.
In our afternoon reading: excerpts of books by Mira Jacob and David Nutt, an interview with Richard Chiem, and more.
In our morning reading: an interview with Yiyun Li, new writing from Victor LaValle, book recommendations from Maryse Meijer, and more.
In our morning reading: interviews with Maryse Meijer and Valeria Luiselli, poetry from William Lessard, and more.
2018 brought with it a lot of great poetry. Some revisited older forms or older stories to create something vital and new, while others took bold risks with language in order to illuminate aspects of the present sociopolitical condition. Whether they were causing us to rethink the quotidian or leading us to unexpected places, here are some of our favorite examples of verse that emerged this year.
It’s been several weeks since I first read Maryse Meijer’s Northwood, and I’m still sorting out how best to classify it. For the record, I mean that in the “this is a feature, not a bug” kind of way. This is the sort of book for which the term “hybrid works” was invented: Meijer blends the quotidian with the folkloric, tells much of the story in verse, and utilizes a host of formally inventive page layouts along the way. If the most striking figure of the book’s design — white text on black pages — isn’t indicator enough, I’ll say it clearly: this is not a conventional read.
In our afternoon reading: interviews with Ian King and Blake Schwarzenbach, a review of Maryse Meijer’s new book, and more.