LEMON HOUND

More Bite Than Bark Since 2005
On Reviewing
On Reading & Reviewing: Anita Lahey

On Reading & Reviewing: Anita Lahey

When I was editing poetry reviews for Arc Poetry Magazine, I had my radar tuned for pieces that were mean-spirited, careless or just plain blind. These sins, however, were rare, and when caught (usually) easily addressed. What troubled me more was reticence, reserve—any smokescreen cloaking the reviewer’s true feelings. I believe a review should offer...

On Reviewing: Zoe Whittall

LH: What do you think the purpose of a review is? If you also write about books on a blog (as opposed to an official publication), why? What does blogging let you do differently? ZW: To start a conversation about a new book that a) lets readers know it exists b) talks about how it...

On Reviewing Natalie Walschots

LH: What do you think the purpose of a review is? If you also write about books on a blog, why? What does blogging let you do differently? NZW: The purpose of a review, be it a book review or an album review, is to communicate with that text’s potential audience, to place the text...

On Reviewing: Jan Zwicky

LH: What do you think the purpose of a review is? JZ: To inform people who might be interested in reading the book that it exists, and to offer an imaginatively and intellectually engaged appreciation of it. LH: If you write reviews, how would you describe your approach, or method? JZ: I do review, but...

On Reviewing: David Orr

LH: What do you think the purpose of a review is? If you also write about books on a blog, why? What does blogging let you do differently? DO: A good review is a persuasive judgment entertainingly delivered. Criticism itself is a broader category, and includes exploratory essays, polemics, advocacy, whither-the-poets-of-yesteryears and so forth. Poetry...

On Reviewing: Thom Donovan

LH: What do you think the purpose of a review is? If you also write about books on a blog, why? What does blogging let you do differently? TD: Review differs for me a little whether I am reviewing performance, visual art, poetry/literature, or something less identifiable through its particular field, discipline, genre, etc. In...

On Reviewing: Sonnet L’Abbé

LH: What do you think the purpose of a review is? If you also write about books on a blog, why? What does blogging let you do differently? SL: Ideally, a review condenses one knowledgeable and generous reader’s full experience of a book. By knowledgeable I mean having a sense of what constitutes quality across...

On Reviewing: Ken Babstock

LH: What do you think the purpose of a review is? If you also write about books on a blog, why? What does blogging let you do differently? KB: Being a late arrival to this conversation I have to preface my answers by underlining how much I’ve enjoyed the bewildering array of previous respondents. Much...

On Reviewing: Michael Scharf

LH: What do you think the purpose of a review is? If you also writeabout books on a blog, why? What does blogging let you do differently? MS: Reviews make a work’s meanings manifest in a propositionalform–i.e. a form that’s easier to argue about. Reviews are also like amplifiers. They process the signal and changeits...

On Reviewing: derek beaulieu

I think it’s a poet’s responsibility to review books. As writers, we have committed ourselves to taking part in a dialogue, a discussion about art, and as such its our responsibility to review other books – to look at and write about other writer’s work – in order to further a discussion of the role...

On Reviewing: Vanessa Place

LH: What do you think the purpose of a review is? If you also write about books on a blog, why? What does blogging let you do differently? VP: The purpose of a review is to discriminate. Discrimination is how we find good friends and know which strangers to shoot on sight. LH: If you...

On Reviewing: Steven W. Beattie

LH: What do you think the purpose of a review is? If you also write about books on a blog, why? What does blogging let you do differently? SB: There are those who believe that book reviews should confine themselves to a description of what a book is and avoid any attempt at evaluation. This...

On Reviewing: Marjorie Perloff

LH: What do you think the purpose of a review is? If you also write about books on a blog, why? What does blogging let you do differently? MP: I take the purpose of book reviews to be description and evaluation. By description, I mean that the reviewer must try to convey to the readers...

On Reviewing: Elizabeth Bachinsky

LH: What do you think the purpose of a review is? If you also write about books on a blog, why? What does blogging let you do differently? EB: To my mind successful reviews identify works and discuss them within their own framework or tradition; the reviewer—and his or her opinion of the work—is nearly...

On Reviewing: Maureen N. McLane

LH: What do you think the purpose of a review is? If you also write about books on a blog, why? What does blogging let you do differently? MM: I don’t know what the purpose of all reviews might be, but the purpose of the reviews I’ve written has tended to be: to make my...

On Reviewing: Christian Bok

LH: What do you think the purpose of a review is? If you also write about books on a blog, why? What does blogging let you do differently? CB: Reviewers are like the crossing-guards of literature—providing traffic-signals (if not hazard-warnings) for readers who might like to step off the curb, but need to know where...

On Reviewing: Aaron Kunin

LH: What do you think the purpose of a review is? If you also write about books on a blog, why? What does blogging let you do differently? AK: Attention is part of it. Sorting. Valuing. In fact, reviewing books isn’t too different from writing them. The main purpose is to make it possible for...

On Reviewing: Evie Shockley

LH: What do you think the purpose of a review is? If you also write about books on a blog, why? What does blogging let you do differently? ES: From the perspective of the reader of reviews, I would say their purpose is to give one’s readers enough information about a work for them to...

On Reviewing: Matthew Zapruder

H: What do you think the purpose of a review is? If you also write about books on a blog, why? What does blogging let you do differently? MZ: I tried to articulate what I think the purpose of a review is in a recent article I wrote for the Poetry Foundation. Basically, I was...

On Reviewing: Rob Winger

LH: What do you think the purpose of a review is? RW: For the most part, I think reviews let conversations begin. In their best incarnations, they provoke and promote discussion not only about writing, but also about those ideas that inform the writing. LH: If you write reviews, how would you describe your approach,...

On Reviewing: Mark Wallace

LH: What do you think the purpose of a review is? If you also write about books on a blog, why? What does blogging let you do differently? MW: The purpose of a review depends a bit on its length and the kind of publication it’s in, but generally speaking I feel like the main...

On Reviewing: Michael Turner

LH: What do you think the purpose of a review is? If you also write about books on a blog, why? What does blogging let you do differently? MT: I’m not sure I want to address the question of “purpose,” though I will echo what many have said about a review being an attempt at...

On Reviewing: Jonathan Ball

LH: What do you think the purpose of a review is? If you also write about books on a blog, why? What does blogging let you do differently? JB: The purpose of a review is to describe the book. There is a tradition of reviews being evaluative, but I don’t feel that this is their...

On Reviewing: Jennifer Scappettone

LH: What do you think the purpose of a review is? If you also write about books on a blog, why? What does blogging let you do differently? JS: In the utopian sense, the purpose is to engage in a more profound dialogue with another writer than can be had in pre- and post-reading moments,...

On Reviewing: Ange Mlinko

LH: What do you think the purpose of a review is? AM: At its most basic, I guess, the purpose of a review is to arouse appetite in the reader. LH: If you write reviews, how would you describe your approach, or method? Do you offer or engage in exegesis, theoretical, academic, reader response, close,...