Mailbox Monday #426

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

The Nightlife by Elise Paschen for review from Mary Bisbee-Beek.

In Elise Paschen’s prize-winning poetry collection, Infidelities, Richard Wilbur wrote that the poems “. . . draw upon a dream life which can deeply tincture the waking world.” In her third poetry book, The Nightlife, Paschen once again taps into dream states, creating a narrative which balances between the lived and the imagined life. Probing the tension between “The Elevated” and the “Falls,” she explores troubled love and relationships, the danger of accident and emotional volatility. At the heart of the book is a dream triptych which retells the same encounter from different perspectives, the drama between the narrative described and the sexual tension created there.

The Nightlife demonstrates Paschen’s versatility and formal mastery as she experiments with forms such as the pantoum, the villanelle and the tritina, as well as concrete poems and poems in free verse. Throughout this poetry collection, she interweaves lyric and narrative threads, creating a contrapuntal story-line. The book begins with a dive into deep water and ends with an opening into sky.

Where is North by Alison Jarvis for review from Mary Bisbee-Beek.

Poetry. Winner of the 2015 Gerald Cable Book Award. “In Alison Jarvis’ extraordinary WHERE IS NORTH, a life unfolds between breath-taking love poems. There’s a powerful arc, but it’s a vortex, more visceral than linear. Dramatic moments enclose each other like Russian dolls, ‘the future falling back into itself,’ so that the air between I and Thou becomes charged with the trials of childhood, the rigors of history, the mirror-life of dreams…WHERE IS NORTH is a profoundly necessary book for our strange era.”—D. Nurkse

Library of Small Happiness by Leslie Ullman for review from Mary Bisbee-Beek.

In acclaimed poet Leslie Ullman’s fifth and newest book, she offers a glorious hybrid collection of essays, poems, and writing exercises. Inviting writers and serious readers into the spaces poetry can open up around us and inside us, Library Of Small Happiness focuses on aspects of craft while embracing a holistic approach that makes accessible the unique intelligence of poetry. The essay section of the book addresses subjects such as the interactive role between silence and utterance, finding the center of a poem, and the Golden Spiral as it applies to the structure of a work and the process of its creation. The exercise section offers prompts that can be used by writers, teachers, and students to generate surprising language, fresh imagery, and innovative territories for crafting poems.

Average Neuroses by Marianne Koluda Hansen for review from Mary Bisbee-Beek.

The whole blooming and exasperating world is here in Hansen’s delightfully associative poems, translated from Danish by Michael Goldman with great élan. Hansen’s voice is full of wit, longing, irony (both personal and political), and tender detail about the absurdity of being human. Thrillingly, Hansen has zero interest in presenting herself as an admirable person, which makes me deeply cherish her poems, and helps me to go on being my likewise unadmirable self in this beautiful and impossible world.
Patrick Donnelly, poet and translator, author of The Charge, and Nocturnes of the Brothel of Ruin

Hansen writes movingly about insecurity and anxiety. Her voice is a solitary one, but she taps into a most universal desire—to be accepted by those around us. At the core of the collection is the poet’s struggle to maintain an emotional balance in the face of the extreme beauty and pain of everyday life. Leah Browning, Editor Apple Valley Review: A Journal of Contemporary Literature

With skillful irony Hansen skewers pretentiousness, including herself as a target. It is liberating to read an author who can be self-deprecating and laugh along with the reader. Then she can turn the mood on a dime, to seriousness so poignant that the laughter or smile stiffens on your face. Highly recommended.
Herdis Møllehave, Aktuelt

Hansen transports the reader to that raw place between tears and laughter. She illuminates the causes of our struggling so that our actions are no longer struggles, but natural and completely understandable.
Eva Bostrup Fischer, Jyllands-Posten

Average Neuroses is a remarkable collection of poetic narratives full of brutal honesty, sardonic wit, and wry humor. Hansen’s insight into the desperation and routine of conventional lives—such as her own, which she characterizes as “too good to throw away / and too boring to keep”—is profound: heartbreaking and hilarious all at once. This Danish poet pulls no punches; I admire her and her poetry, beautifully translated by Michael Goldman.

What did you receive?


  1. I think I will enjoy these

  2. marthae says:

    Nice poetry offerings. I especially like the cover of Library of Small Happiness.
    Enjoy them all. Happy Reading!

  3. These look perfect for you!

  4. Happy Monday! Your new books sound wonderful. I look forward to your reviews.

  5. That’s quite a collection of poetry! Enjoy your new books.

  6. bermudaonion(Kathy) says:

    Wow, Mary Bisbee-Beek was good to you! I hope they’re all winners!

  7. Anna (Diary of an Eccentric) says:

    They all sound interesting. Happy reading!