SILENCE by Jane Brox

SILENCE by Jane Brox

Through Penitentiaries and Monasteries, A Meditation on Silence By DeWitt Henry, Prose Editor SILENCE: A SOCIAL HISTORY OF ONE OF THE LEAST UNDERSTOOD ELEMENTS OF OUR LIVES by Jane Brox (Houghton Mifflin Co., 2019). 310pp,  $27.00 hard cover, ISBN 9780544702486. Jane Brox, like the nineteenth-century Transcendentalists, worries that we lose our best selves to the…

THE LIMITS OF THE WORLD by Jennifer Acker

THE LIMITS OF THE WORLD by Jennifer Acker

Transcending Cultures and the Limits of Family By DeWitt Henry, Prose Editor THE LIMITS OF THE WORLD by Jennifer Acker (Delphinium Books, April 2019). 300 pp, $25.95. Jennifer Acker’s deeply considered and expansive novel focuses on love and family transcending races, cultures, religions, geography, and time, and calls to mind other recent cross-cultural novels (such…

Book Review: Inventing the World

Book Review: Inventing the World

On the Craft of Writing, for All Levels By DeWitt Henry, Literary Bookmarks Editor INVENTING THE WORLD: THE FICTION WRITER’S GUIDEBOOK TO CRAFT AND PROCESS by Jack Smith (Serving House Books, 2018). 285pp, $15.95. Jack Smith’s essays on “the craft and process” of writing fiction have appeared since 2010 in either The Writer or in…

Book Review: Sweet Marjoram

Book Review: Sweet Marjoram

Essays Inspired by Poetry By Joyce Peseroff, WTP Contributing Editor SWEET MARJORAM: NOTES AND ESSAYS by DeWitt Henry (Madhat Press, October 2018). 156pp, $21.95. I don’t usually write about prose, but Sweet Marjoram is an exception. In part, it’s because DeWitt Henry is a dear friend whose work I’ve read for decades. It’s also because…

Two Cosmopolitan Collections

Two Cosmopolitan Collections

Essay Collections in a Global Time By DeWitt Henry, Literary Bookmarks Editor In the American Sixties, a writer’s “sense of place” usually referred to regionalism and immediately brought to mind Faulkner, Cather, and Frost. For English writers, the phrase suggested colonial displacements, such as E.M. Forster’s India or Joseph Conrad’s Congo.  Since then, however, with…

A Special Sentence Structure

A Special Sentence Structure

“Cumulative form fosters a rich, lovely, rhythmic prose style.” By Richard Gilbert, Contributing Editor   Building Great Sentences: How to Write the Kinds of Sentences You Love to Read by Brooks Landon. Plume: The Great Courses, 288 pp. Brooks Landon wants you to write longer sentences. His belief in them goes against decades of teaching…

Book Review: The Hidden Machinery

Book Review: The Hidden Machinery

Ore in Every Rift of Livesey’s Apologia and Guide By Dewitt Henry, Literary Bookmarks Editor THE HIDDEN MACHINERY: ESSAYS ON WRITING by Margot Livesey (Tin House Books, 2017). 301pp, paper, $15.95. MFA programs are descendants of the “how to be a successful writer” handbooks in the 1890s (see “Handbooks and Workshops” in Andrew Levy’s 1993…

Book Review: Heating & Cooling

Book Review: Heating & Cooling

Micro-Memoirs of a Life Lived and Imagined By DeWitt Henry, Literary Bookmarks Editor HEATING & COOLING: 52 MICRO-MEMOIRS by Beth Ann Fennelly (W.W. Norton & Co, October 2017) 112pp, $22.95. Beth Ann Fennelly, poet, novelist, letter writer, and writing program administrator, tells a large story with her nuanced collection of “52 micro-memoirs,” some a sentence…

Book Review: Lonesome Lies Before Us

Book Review: Lonesome Lies Before Us

A Musician Finds His Voice By DeWitt Henry, Literary Bookmarks Editor LONESOME LIES BEFORE US: A NOVEL by Don Lee (Norton, 2017). 336pp, $26.95. Don Lee’s fourth novel is a masterpiece, an anti-romance romance between a once-promising alt-country singer and song-writer and a once-promising photographer, both of whom have given up careers (and the lovers once…

Book Review: In Sunlight or In Shadow

Book Review: In Sunlight or In Shadow

Writing Inspired by Edward Hopper By DeWitt Henry, Literary Bookmarks Editor IN SUNLIGHT OR IN SHADOW: STORIES INSPIRED BY THE PAINTINGS OF EDWARD HOPPER, ed Lawrence Block (Pegasus, 2016). 288pp. $19.70.  Mystery writer Lawrence Block had an idea. He had always loved Edward Hopper’s paintings. Why not solicit other popular writers to choose a Hopper painting…