PostedNovember 21, 2004
If finding a taxi in the rain is a rare but precious thing, then so is finding a website like Rain Taxi. Published quarterly, Rain Taxi concentrates exclusively on book reviews, from overlooked small-press titles to best-selling books by literary favorites. Although it began as a print journal, each online companion issue includes a few dozen exclusive reviews not published offline. The extensive poetry coverage alone makes Rain Taxi unusual, and every issue devotes some space to neglected genres like graphic novels or poetic essays, alongside reviews of more traditional fiction and non-fiction titles, the occasional feature, and sometimes an interview.
Editor Eric Lorberer and art director Kelly Everding aren’t looking to slam books. In the submission guidelines, they suggest reviewers write about books they feel passionate about: "While we generally prefer to use our limited space for discussion of books that are worthwhile, negative reviews that engage larger issues are certainly welcome." Rather than challenging established authors, Rain Taxi makes its mark by reviewing books likely to be missed by other publications.
The resulting reviews are more descriptive than judgmental. The editors discourage writers from writing about their friends, and there’s a refreshing lack of obvious political connections and underhanded faint praise. Rain Taxi has certainly collected its share of admirers--the notoriously critical poet Ron Silliman wrote in his blog, "there is more in the way of good material in a single issue of Rain Taxi than you will find in a year's worth of the New York Times Book Review."