An Essay Renaissance? We Hope So

June 13, 2012 § 2 Comments


David L. Ulin at the Los Angeles Times suggests we may be experiencing an essay renaissance with this quick review of five new books (two by Brevity authors, Lia Purpura and Judith Kitchen.)  Here are his nice words on Lia and Judith, followed by a link to the entire (brief) review:

Lia Purpura’s “Rough Likeness” (Sarabande: 150 pp., $15.95 paper) is all about looking: at a landscape, at language, at a sign. The truest-looking, though, comes on the inside, as Purpura goes beneath the surface, writing not just about what she sees but what it means. “Rain coming harder,” she writes in her opening to “Against ‘Gunmetal.'” “Of interest … because rain alters people in unexpected ways. And the unexpected makes people so human. … Remember that.”

In “Half in Shade: Family, Photography, and Fate” (Coffee House: 204 pp., $16 paper), Judith Kitchen uses family photos as a hinge for her own interior investigation — into love, doubt, family and time. Weaving actual images directly into the book, she addresses what she doesn’t know, what she can’t know, as evocatively as what she can. “This is not art,” she writes in “On Snapshots: A Sonnet.” “This is the black and white of birthdays and summer vacations. Grandma’s Sunday best.”

Ulin’s full essay can be found here.

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