New reviews and more from the NBCC

By David Varno

Aside from April being crueler than usual this year, it’s still National Poetry Month, and many of our members wrote about the work of poets.

Ron Slate reviewed Maps and Transcripts of the World, poems by Kathryn Cowles (Milkweed Editions) for On The Seawall.

Martha Ann Toll and Hamilton Cain reviewed Mark Doty’s What Is the Grass for NPR and the San Francisco Chronicle, respectively.

Kali Lightfoot reviewed We Are Meant to Carry Water by Tina Carlson, Stella Reed, and Katherine DiBella Seluja for Broadsided Press.

Former poetry chair Tess Taylor published a column in defense of reading for CNN and has a poem in the New York Times Magazine.

Elizabeth Lund spotlights Indigo by Ellen Bass for the Washington Post.

“A tyrant is the worst disease

Roxana Robinson wrote about Trump and the criminal culture for Scoundrel Time, while Nathaniel Popkin published an essay at Lithub inspired by Elsa Morante’s History on the failure of male leadership during the pandemic.


Martha Anne Toll reviewed Karin Tanabe’s One Hundred Suns for the Washington Post.

Kathleen Rooney reviewed Adam Levin’s Bubblegum for the Chicago Tribune.

Alexander Kafka reviewed the second volume of Jed Perl’s biography of Alexander Calder for the Washington Post.

John Domini reviewed the Booker International shortlisted The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree, by Shokoofeh Azar, for Brookyn Rail

Kamil Ahsan reviewed Cesar Aira’s Artforum for NPR.

Julia M. Klein reviewed Bernard Bailyn’s Illuminating History for the Boston Globe.

Tom Zelman reviewed Simon the Fiddler by Paulette Jiles in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Hamilton Cain reviewed Anne Tyler’s new novel, Redhead by the Side of the Road, for the May issue of O, the Oprah Magazine.

Paul Wilner reviewed Child of Light, Madison Smartt Bell’s new biography of Robert Stone, for ZYZZYVA.

Board member Carolyn Kellogg reviewed Louise Erdrich’s The Night Watchman for Shondaland and interviewed Kawai Strong Washington about his debut novel Sharks In the Time of Saviors for Kirkus

Tobias Carroll wrote about new books by Anna Burns and Adam O’Fallon Price for the Mystery Tribune.

K.L. Romo reviewed Shilpi Somaya Gowda’s The Shape of Family for Washington Independent Review of Books, Marcia Clark’s Final Judgment and Matthew Quirk’s Hour of the Assassin for The Big Thrill, and Älexander McCall Smith’s The Talented Mr. Varg for

Alison Buckholtz reviewed The Art of Resistance: My Four Years in the French Underground by Justus Rosenberg and Nobody Will Tell You This But Me by Bess Kalb for the Florida Times-Union.

Jeffrey Mannix reviewed Running Out of Road by Daniel Friedman and A Long Way Off, Pascal Garnier’s final book,for his Murder Ink column in the Durango Telegraph, Durango, Colorado. 

John Kazanjian reviewed The Hills Reply by Tarjei Vesaas, translated by Elizabeth Rokken for Entropy Magazine.

Diane Scharper reviewed Hill Women by Cassie Chambers at Christian Century.


Ben Yagoda was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for a book on O. Henry in New York, 1902-1910.

Board member Richard Santos’s novel Trust Me, released earlier this month, was reviewed by Kirkus and the Texas Observer.

Carolyn Kellogg wrote about a brief interior design phase she dubs the Suburban Psychdelic at Curbed.

Clea Simon wrote an an appreciation of bookseller Kate Mattes for the Boston Globe.

Tobias Carroll wrote about Tentacle by Rita Indiana, translated from the Spanish by Achy Obejas, for the Best Translated Book Awards’s “Why This Book Should Win” series.

For BBC Culture, VP/Events Jane Ciabattari writes of Atwood, Camus, Chaucer, Defoe, Ling Ma, Emily St. John Mandel, Katherine Anne Porter, and other pandemic fiction.