Thursday, June 10, 2010

NO BOUNDARIES, Prose Poems by 24 American Poets

This is a terrific anthology  filled with the writing of many well known poets, many icons in contemporary  American Poetry including Mary Koncel, Robert Bly, John Bradley, -Killarney Clary, Jon Davis, Linda Dyer, Russell Edson, Amy Gerstler, Ray Gonzalez, Maurice Kilwein Guevara, Juan Felipe Herrera, Louis Jenkins, Peter Johnson, George Kalamaras, Christine Boyka Kluge, Nin Andrews, Morton Marcus, Harryette Mullen, Naomi Shahib Nye, Liz -Waldner, Gary Young, Karen Volkman, Campbell McGrath, Charles Simic

I couldn't put  this anthology down.  Each poem was a surprise. The poems  are funny, profound, magical, relevant. They are lyrical, experimental, "formal." Something for every taste.

From the introduction of NO BOUNDARIES by editor Ray Gonzalez

" In his long out  of print anthology, The Prose Poem (Laurel, 1976), poet Michael Benedikt defines a prose poem as 'a genre of poetry, self-consciously written in prose, and characterized by the intense use of virtually all the devices of poetry, which includes the intense use of devices of verse. The sole exception to access to the possibilities, rather than the set priorities of verse is, the line break.' "

 Benedikt goes on to list the special properties of prose poems.

" 'attention to the unconscious and its logic
    accelerated  use of colloquial  and everyday speech
    a visionary thrust
    reliance on humour and wit
    an enlightened doubtfulness' "

 Here is the first line from one of my favorite poems "Involving the Use of the Word America" by John Bradley

 "In America, Kafka began and paused, staring  at the peeling gray planks
on the front porch. In America he began again, but lost his way in the enormity
of the phrase."

Another favorite

 The poem "The Gulf"  by Campbell McGrath is particularly relevant  in the face of the BP oil spill. McGrath captures the magic of the gulf focusing on seashells and the creatures that live in the water.  The poem is sound magical.

 "Floating in the gulf, on a hot June day, listening to the seashells sing.

 Eyes open I watch their migration, their seismic shifts and tidal seizures, as I am
 seized and lifted, lulled, and hushed and serenaded.  Eyes closed, I drift amid their
 resonant sibilance, soft hiss and crackle in the tide wash...."

"-flop,whoosh-a fine wash of shells and shell
bits and shards, a slurry of coquinas and scallops and sunrays, coral chunks, tubes..."

From Amazon editorial review
""As more poets write prose poems, one of the most common reasons they give for turning to them is that their fluent composition offers a 'freedom of expression' lined poetry often restricts. To many, this sounds like a contradiction stemming from the eternal belief that any kind of good poetry has no boundaries. Yet those that write prose poems insist the act of placing their poems into sentences and paragraphs gives them a fresh approach to content and form."" -- From the introduction by Ray Gonzalez.

 NO BOUNDARIES was published by Tupelo Press in 2003.