“Poet, editor, small-town librarian, and farmer” Julia Bouwsma provides an excellent review of Steven Dunn’s Potted Meat (TS 2016) at Connotation Press.

Bouwsma writes:

… a backdrop that is as ragged as it is vibrant, as beautiful as it is destitute, and as intoxicating as it is dangerous. Much like Sandra Cisneros’ famous coming-of-age novel-in-vignettes, The House on Mango Street (a text Dunn counts among his book’s many influences), Potted Meat embraces the isolated, distilled moment for its ability to allow the reader to embody the child protagonist’s experience with a singular and searing physical intensity. The novel’s fragmented format and blunt sentences set the vivid details and rules that compose the young narrator’s visceral and powerless world against the shrouded silences of all that he does not understand—until each relived memory contracts, expands briefly, and then contracts again like “lightning bugs…blinking in the black.” As his child’s eye brushes against these ruptures between what is seen on the surface and what lies hidden beneath, the results are often harrowing and traumatic; but over time, his vision slowly expands to encompass more and more of his world, its full range of beauty and ugliness laid bare.

Read the entire review at Connotation Press.