Literary as hell.

Tag: Dan Tarnowski

Book Review: See All The Stars by Kit Frick

Review by Dan Tarnowski

see all the stars kit frick

See All The Stars is a debut work of YA fiction by Kit Frick. It is billed as “part love story, part suspenseful thriller.” The blurb describes an intense and complex coming-of-age story involving four teenage women. “What happened then to make Ellory so broken now?” The plot follows headstrong Ellory’s life between “then” and “now.”

The chapters of the 305-page young adult fiction novel alternate back and forth between “then” and “now”, past and present. The “then” chapters recap Ellory’s junior year of high school in bits and pieces, and the “now” chapters depict her subsequent senior year, showing the aftermath of “then.”

The fractured plot makes the book somewhat slow to build steam, especially as most of the story is told through Ellory’s thoughts, thus turning fiction’s “show rather than tell” convention  upside down. As the groundwork for the “then and now” plot is laid, we learn about Ellory’s group of friends, her high school routine, and her unique relationship with her best friend, Ret. Kit Frick’s poetic language is displayed from the get go, and this voice, part image-heavy, part wittily penetrating observer, becomes a compelling layer in the world of See All The Stars (“The green flecks in his eyes flashing like marble glass signaling yes, yes, yes”). Continue reading

“Things that make us furious: Sitting in bed, lying in bed, and sleeping” by Dan Tarnowski

I am not sitting in bed as I write this, and I am glad of it. Beds are terrible things, lousy with shoddy physics, crushed dreams, and sometimes, even lice.

A bed seems like a heavenly, therapeutic place. Ever since we upgraded from sleeping on splayed out hay (my uncle Shane still prefers this form of bed) the human bed has seemed like a lovely offering: four legs to elevate you, with a plushy surface on top to rest your corporeal frame, atop. The very invention of the bed seems like its creator got away with murder. Some shamelessly enterprising mind, at some point said, “Let’s not sleep on anything hard, anymore. Let’s put some marshmallowy stuff down, and go on top of that. In this way, we’ve made things better for ourselves!”

The unapologetic privilege of this maneuver suggests that beds were not invented by serfs.

O, the hypocrisy of a bed! A bed is manufactured for optimal niceness, but utilizing a bed is anything but nice.

Continue reading

Book Review: “After you say what’s true…” by Dan Tarnowski

Dan TarnowskiReview by E. Kirshe


Dan Tarnowski’s collection of eight poems After you say what’s true… presents a handful of highly narrative memories filled with quiet contemplation.

Tarnowski offers simplicity and intimacy in each work. Self-reflection runs through the pages, Tarnowski is open about who he is, what bothers him about himself, what he thinks about, and what makes him hopeful. Using beautiful structure- often weaving in and out of recent and past memories— and convincing imagery Tarnowski is a refreshing as well as inviting poet. He’ll often start somewhere simple then make an intriguing about face.

“i often fell to observing/small nuances that others were not interested in,/the construction of table legs where they met the tables with screws/sometimes even hurting myself on purpose, sticking pins in my finger,/twisting and folding my limbs…”

For those looking to connect with a new artist Tarnowski’s most recent chapbook presents very honest work and well worth the one sitting it will take you to complete.

This chapbook and Tarnowski’s other works are available here:

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