Postmodern Collage Poetry

A blog about writing collage poetry, post modern poetry, multi lingual poetry

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Legitimate Dangers...

Recently there has been allot of wringing of hands and nashing of teeth regarding a new anthology Legitimate Dangers from Sarabande Books. I usually enjoy a good hockey check style review of an anthology but I have to say that I think the negative critique of this anthology is unwarranted.

Lets dispatch with the semantics; this is not an anthology of "innovative or experimental poetry" the fact that Mark Doty wrote the introduction and Ed Hirsch wrote a blurb places this anthology squarely in the middle.

I also think it is important to state that both Cate Marvin and Michael Dumanis are academics who went to Iowa whose work has appeared in mainstream journals. This anthology is what you would expect. It is like my Nonna always said if you add potatoes, egg, flour and ricotta cheese you will get Gnocchi and not Lamb Chops. Marvin won a prize judged by Robert Pinsky for God's sake and Dumanis' work appeared in Denver Quarterly but at least they are honest about their poetic family tree.

Having said this I think that Martin and Dumanis have missed some legitimately important poets who would have fit into their aesthetic Simone Muench, comes to mind as a major exclusion. Also, the inclusion of poets like Lisa Jarnot, DA Powell and Juliana Spahr makes me think about my days watching Sesame Street asking " some of these things are not like the others" . Plus I am sure that Lisa Jarnot has published more than three books. ?

But here we have the usual suspects they say in their marketing pieces they are publishing
ambitious fresh poets and here they are, Arielle Greenberg, Chicu Reddy, Andrew Zawacki these are very ambitious people who have worked very hard to create a niche for themselves in poetry and their energy is to be commended while so many poets complain about not getting press or recognition these poets work for it and their work gets a reading that many of us envy greenly...

In the end this is a well compiled anthology of mainstream poets most of whom are MFA graduates many with academic jobs. There are some poets here with whom I am not familiar and I was pleased to read their work, Sherwin Bitsui, Monica Youn, Kahled Mattawa I will read more of their work. I think that all of us who were not included should stop snapping and do anthologies of their own that is what I plan to do.