Book Riot, "Great Essay Collections from Winter/Spring 2018"

Chicago Review of Books, "Best New Books of April 2018"

The Masters Review, "Debut Author Spotlight"

With mordant humor and penetrating intellect, Rachel Z. Arndt casts her gaze beyond event-driven narratives to the machinery underlying them: judo competitions measured in weigh-ins and wait times; the significance of the elliptical’s stationary churn; the standardized height of kitchen countertops; the rote scripts of dating apps; the stupefying sameness of the daily commute. “How much can data tell us?” Arndt asks, challenging us to consider the simultaneous comfort and absurdity of our exhaustively quantified—yet never entirely quantifiable—lives.


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 Photo credit Michael E. Smith

Photo credit Michael E. Smith

Rachel Z. Arndt’s writing has appeared in Popular MechanicsQuartzThe Believer, and elsewhere. She received MFAs in nonfiction and poetry from the University of Iowa, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow and nonfiction editor of The Iowa Review. After stints in Rhode Island and New York, she now lives in Chicago, and works as a reporter at Modern Healthcare, covering healthcare technology.

[Beyond Measure] is a delight to read. Arndt prompts readers to examine the ‘measurements’ imposed on their lives. . . . Her experiences will particularly resonate with female readers, who will identify with her coping mechanisms for dealing with sexist measurements imposed by society, from stereotypes of narcoleptic women as hysterical and attention seeking to false constraints placed on female intelligence and physical strength. Her tone is poignant and undogmatic. . . . Arndt’s debut provides close insight into one woman’s personal struggles while never becoming overbearing or overly solemn.
— Publishers Weekly
[H]er strongest pieces place her at the center of larger forces that make her (and us) feel abnormal. . . . A keen, close study of the neuroses attached to everyday living.
— Kirkus Reviews
Rachel Z. Arndt’s first collection of essays, out from Sarabande books, catalogs the measurable, from data on judo competition weigh-ins to the height of a standardized kitchen countertop. At the same time, Arndt examines the limits of what data can tell us.
— The Masters Review
Look to this book for darkly funny investigations of the world around us.
— Book Riot
Rachel Z. Arndt’s collection demonstrates beautifully the marvelous ability of the personal essay to carve out of the ordinary events of everyday life a piece of shaped experience.
— Vivian Gornick
Of all the weights and measures used to gauge the ‘human metronome’ of the body in time in this meticulous and arresting first collection—its lonely circadian rhythms, desolate states of listless fatigue, and all manner of existential hurry-up-and-wait—Arndt’s elegant and patient syntax, calibrated to keep pace with her attentive interiority, is the most sensitive instrument of all.
— Robyn Schiff
In the grip of Rachel Z. Arndt’s spellbindingly obsessive mind, nearly everything shines with measurability and poetry and disturbing familiarity. She studies bird dissections, sails through a lightning storm, explains the etiquette of scamming Bed Bath & Beyond, kicks ass at a judo tournament, ponders the cultural history of the heights of kitchen counters, and formulates a phenomenology of creeping on people at the gym. Riding the folds of Arndt’s remarkable imagination, we come to realize that her obsession is in fact a cultural obsession, an American predicament, our most curious collective pastime.
— John D'Agata


Post Traumatic Hood Disorder, David Tomas Martinez

The New York Times, "New & Noteworthy"

The American Poetry Review, Issue 47 No 1, Featured Poet

The Rumpus, "What to Read When You Want to Celebrate Poetry"

“Look at homie on the beach picking shells in dress shoes,” David Tomas Martinez writes in his raw, electrifying second collection. His widely praised debut, Hustle, revealed the singular voice of a young man traumatized by the hood he was strong enough to transcend. In Post Traumatic Hood Disorder, he returns with a haunted depiction of life after tumult and hurt. Martinez moves swiftly from Che to Sir Mix-A-Lot, from Versace to Icarus, from Mt. Sinai to the Eldjga volcano, from Pegasus to a pair of father and son bulls, protagonists of a dirty joke. “My hustle has been a stone/ breaking the bad luck of a lake,” he writes, and the poems maneuver anxiously between that bad luck lake and the writer he has become. This is the question, and the struggle, at the center of these poems: who am I now? Where does a study of Greek gods fit with the memory of watching porn with a group of men? How did machismo affect my mysteriously broken relations with women? Am I more kin to Montaigne than Kanye?  These questions define our contemporary obsessions, and David Martinez adds to that conversation poems that dazzle, even as they move and enlighten us. 

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David Tomas Martinez is a CantoMundo fellow and recipient of a 2017 NEA Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, the Verlaine Poetry Prize, and the Stanley P. Young Fellowship from Breadloaf. Hustle, his debut collection from Sarabande, won the New England Book Festival's Poetry Prize, the Devil's Kitchen Reading Award, and $10,000 from the Antonio Cisneros Del Moral Foundation. Poems from the new book have appeared in Tin House, Oxford American, Boston Review, Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, and Poetry. He lives in Brooklyn

Martinez follows his acclaimed debut, Hustle, with a series of lyrical riffs on American culture that juxtapose literary erudition and swaggering vernacular. . . . [T]hese poems reveal an ear honed on poetic tradition and hip-hop (‘About suffering they were never wrong,/ the old rappers’) and explore intersections of identity with strikingly musical results.
— Publishers Weekly, Star Review
In Hustle (2014), his code-switching debut book of poetry, Martinez let loose with lyrics that brought the poet’s street-smarts and book-smarts cascading together. In his second collection, Martinez’s poetic voice is more assured and no less ambitious. . . A cynicism undercuts the collection’s gravity, and Martinez builds a complex humor throughout, using deadpan wit and wordplay to deliver amusing observations. . . . In perfectly contrasting lyrics, Martinez blends echoes of pop culture with deeply felt evocations of masculinity and history, with nostalgia for Notorious B.I.G. and Nietzsche occupying the same headspace.
— Booklist
[Martinez’s] lines are sharp and musical, deftly split and carefully crafted. Flexible line breaks create layered poems that nod to multiple, simultaneous meanings. . . . Martinez’s are poems to be experienced; they engage sight, sound, and meaning all at once. Martinez melds an urban background, a modernist’s attention to precision, and a rapper’s flow to form an irresistible collection of contemporary poetry.
— Foreword Reviews