Gulf Coast Books

Reviews • Interviews • et Cetera

Reviews • Interviews • et Cetera

Writing the Body: Katherine E. Standefer's Lightning Flowers

Sarah Battilana

To make metal is to take the earth apart. The process of taking and refining the materials needed for the manufacturing of electronics, including life-saving ones, often irrevocably disturbs and poisons the nearby land, rivers, animals, and communities. The solvents used to extract the minerals are toxic; endangered species lose their natural habitats; people get sick. In Lightning Flowers, Katherine E. Standefer’s debut memoir, Standefer weaves a narrative of illness and trauma with her research into the ecological and ethical ramifications of the mining and healthcare industry.


Hygge, Racism, Womanhood: An Interview with Leesa Cross-Smith

Ursula Villarreal-Moura

That's what I usually try to do with my books. I have a horrible or wild thing happen then have the characters scrambling to hold their lives together because I feel that's how most people are living. Everyone has something going on and they're trying to keep going and be a person in the midst of all that.


On Lying: An Interview with Peter Kispert

Michael Colbert

We need to elevate queer stories, but when do we even unconsciously designate what gets to be a queer story? The more we resist accepting stories of queer characters who act less morally or ethically than we want for them to, the more I feel we are articulating that we do not accept queer people as equal.


Hiding From the Noise: A Review of Don DeLillo's The Silence

Jeremy Packert Burke

DeLillo’s signature postmodern discomfort is a bad fit for a book that claims to offer “mysterious resonance” with our current, tumultuous moment. In a time when we lack human warmth and connection, perhaps more than ever before, DeLillo’s dissociative nightmare feels ultimately cartoonish and unsatisfying.


Noir Fiction & the Ordinary Menace: a Review of Lee Martin's Yours, Jean

Ellen Birkett Morris

Yours, Jean initially presents the reader with a seemingly placid world populated by average people who find their values tested by unexpected circumstances and look for ways to solve their problems that are outside the bounds of expected behavior. This is an all too familiar notion in a country where innocent people are killed by those who are supposed to protect them, and where justice is rarely done.


A Novel Believes in the Future: an Interview with Caoilinn Hughes

Kimberly King Parsons

After I got an agent and published my first novel, Orchid & the Wasp, I started writing short stories… but then I went back to this old manuscript—The Wild Laughter. I tend to throw things away, I burn notebooks when I'm finished with them. I hate the idea of unfinished work being kept because, to me, deciding what you want to try and publish—and delete—is a big part of the writing process. But there had been something in The Wild Laughter that I felt should exist.


Dora Malech makes her entrance into experimental poetry

Despy Boutris

To “stet” is the act of making a textual change and then changing it back and so on and so forth. In the spirit of “stetting,” Stet also acts as a means of reinventing language, just as Malech attempts to reinvent her own voice through this collection.


You Are Here: An Interview with Eduardo Portillo

Sheila Scoville

“When I built my first stretcher, it was like finding a big surprise. It let me reinforce what I had been doing with painting, which was playing around with points of tension, ideas about the canvas as a fabric, as something I could manipulate and explore different possibilities with, not just within the gallery but also with the rectangle. Painting didn’t have to be just rectangular—I really wanted to challenge that.”