As book reviews migrate from print publications to the digital wackosphere, the fear is that they’re becoming colloquial, improvised, and their quality is suffering. This month’s winners prove that’s not necessarily the case. On the dreaded web, book reviews can be colloquial, improvised, and still excellent as works of criticism. Even as they speculate about the “dead friends” who haunt a poet with their influence (as Ali Shapiro does) or embed a slew of James Brown videos from YouTube (as does Philip Eil), today’s best criticism doesn’t sacrifice anything.
– Brian Hurley