Concept and Form: An Interview With Sophie Collins

by Charles Whalley

Sophie Collins, along with Rachael Allen, is co-founder and editor of tender, ‘an online quarterly promoting work by female-identified writers and artists,’ which, since its appearance last year, has published work by Emily Berry, Carina Finn, Lavinia Greenlaw and Emily Toder, among others. She is currently carrying out research on poetry and translation at Queen’s University Belfast, and her poems, translations and other writings have been published in Poetry, Poetry Review, Poetry London, The White Review and elsewhere. [read full interview]

‘Do You Want To Speak To My Gun?’

Martin A. Parlett, Demonizing a President: The 'Foreignization' of Barack Obama

reviewed by Stephen Lee Naish

Even before reading Martin A. Parlett's well-researched and fascinating book, Demonizing a President: The ‘Foreignization’ of Barack Obama, I often wondered if it would be possible for the racial conflicts that so permeate America's collective narrative to be alleviated by simply having a non-white candidate in one of the most influential and powerful positions in the world. If Parlett's book is anything to go by, the answer to this question must be a resounding no. The events surrounding... [read more]

Saving a Fish From Drowning

Norman Thomas di Giovanni , Georgie & Elsa: Jorge Luis Borges and His Wife: The Untold Story

reviewed by Alexis Forss

‘If fiction is imagined as a globe,’ wrote Martin Amis, ‘with realism at its equatorial belt, then Borges occupies a spectral citadel in the North Pole.’ If we were to add to Amis’s cosmology a twin planet of non-fiction then its lodestar would guide us to an arctic athenaeum housing Speak, Memory and The Executioner’s Song, and in some derelict shack amidst the slop of the tropics’ fuggiest swampland we would find the shabby and misbegotten Georgie & Elsa. If this is indeed... [read more]

Blue Screens

David Berry, Critical Theory and the Digital

reviewed by Dominic Fox

What Derrida wrote, at the opening of Of Grammatology (1967), about language could perhaps today be said of computation: ‘never as much as at present has it invaded, as such, the global horizon of the most diverse researches and the most heterogenous discourses … it indicates, as if in spite of itself, that a historico-metaphysical epoch must finally determine as language the totality of its problematic horizon.’ David Berry’s Critical Theory and the Digital is an informed and... [read more]

‘Every Rebel is Our Ally’

Chris Bambery, The Second World War: A Marxist History

reviewed by John Newsinger

It seems almost perverse that at a time when the British Establishment is determined to celebrate the mass slaughter of the First World War, Pluto Press should publish a Marxist history of the Second. So widespread is the popular awareness of the murderous futility of the Western Front that the Establishment has had a hard job re-branding the 1914-18 conflict for centenary purposes; by contrast, the Second World War is still seen as a heroic struggle against Nazi tyranny. It was a war in... [read more]

Freedom to Hate

Heather McRobie, Literary Freedom: A Cultural Right to Literature

reviewed by Katie Da Cunha Lewin

As a resident of Brighton for two years, I had the misfortune to witness the infamous March for England, an ostensibly celebratory event for St. George’s Day organised by the English Defence League (EDL), which was in actuality an excuse for loud racism, left-baiting and violence. As a staunch despiser of the group I, along with most of Brighton, attended the counter-demonstration and witnessed the small collection of (mostly) bald men make their way through the main streets, shouting and... [read more]

From the Schnoz to the Slump

Peggy Shinner, You Feel So Mortal: Essays on the Body

reviewed by Sarah Seltzer

At my fancy New York City high school, appearance modification was all the rage. Curly masses that looked like lion’s manes were pressed between irons and doused with chemicals, emerging glossy and flat. September ushered in evidence of sudden summer weight loss, the sharpening of features and the flattening of noses. Whispers and rumours reached our ears: girls undergoing liposuction, ‘chin jobs’ and other mysterious procedures that went beyond the more routine nose jobs and breast... [read more]


Rob Doyle, Here Are The Young Men

reviewed by Maya Osborne

Here Are The Young Men is a spew of teenage crisis that Rob Doyle gloriously shapes into a high/comedown sprawl, sweet and agonising in equal measure. Doyle introduces us to Matthew and his mates Cocker, Rez, Jen and Kearney, who, having just finished their Leaving Cert, lurch into the summer of 2003 Celtic Tiger Dublin, riding a violent post-punk wave of excessive drug consumption and crippling youthful cynicism. “Like, it's great music, but I wish we could hear real music now, instead... [read more]

Visual Politics

Antigoni Memou, Photography and Social Movements: From the Globalisation of the Movement (1968) to the Movement Against Globalisation (2001)

reviewed by Tom Snow

Antigoni Memou’s Photography and Social Movements is published at a crucial moment for thinking the relationship between image production and protest activity. The book focuses on three main events: the general strikes in Paris during May 1968; the Zapatistas uprisings and subsequent declaration of independence in Chiapas Mexico since 1994; and the protests in response the 27th G8 summit in Genoa Italy in 2001. As Memou recalls, Genoa 2001 prefaced a long decade of diverse political uprisings... [read more]

‘In hell everything is hellish'

Werner Bonefeld, Critical Theory and the Critique of Political Economy: On Subversion and Negative Reason

reviewed by John P. Merrick

Since the financial crisis of 2008 there has been a reinvigoration of discussions around the importance of Marx and Marxism for any understanding of the workings of capitalism. This reassessment has occurred across the social sciences, but perhaps most importantly within the field of economics, where there is a move by many to see this once-maligned figure return to the canon. However, central to Werner Bonefeld's new book, Critical Theory and the Critique of Political Economy, is the seemingly... [read more]

Siding With The Machines

Robin Mackay & Armen Avanessian (eds.), #Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader

reviewed by Alex Andrews

Pre-hashtagged and pre-branded, Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek’s ‘#Accelerate: Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics’ (MAP) dropped onto an unsuspecting internet last year, occasioning commentary, angry denunciations, satire and some acclaim. The central gambit was that in contrast to ‘a folk politics of localism, direct action, and relentless horizontalism’ – the obvious immediate target being 2008’s Occupy protests in the United Kingdom – the political left must embrace... [read more]