After reading through the biography section of “Best New Poets 2006,” one comes to realize that the adjectives “new” and “emerging” are mere technicalities in this instance.Although none of the poets included here have published a full-length book of poetry, many are MFA students or graduates, chapbook authors and most have already seen some of their poems published in the most renowned and exclusive journals in North America..
The 50 selections included in “Best New Poets 2006" were winnowed from the approximately 2,000 poems initially received from the recommendations of dozens of writing programs and poetry journals as well as work submitted directly to the competition site.
The result is a remarkably diverse mix of poems. Some of them, such as “Chekhov’s Photograph” by Quinn Lattimer, are deeply philosophical:
Was his love for her
simply his imagination come suddenly lose,
like some steamer off Yalta released from its pier
and set adrift into fog, and so into wild, terrible
being? These are very elementary questions, but
they interest me.When one is left alone
in love, these questions become important.
Others, like Gretchen Primack’s “Colors,” read more like stream-of-consciousness.Primack’s poem describes the color ecru thus:
Circle here, aliens!Take the field!
The jaw goes slack.Lips dry
among the stalks. Nothing left
to talk about.
One of my absolute favorites is Autumn Watts’ “Dry Lake, Nevada, 1983,” which, under twelve different headings, including “MORNING,” “BOMBS,” AND “TEETH,” paints a word picture that manages to capture a time and a place simply and beautifully.Another favorite, just for its economy and surprise value, is Andrew Allport’s “An Unknown Shore: Variations on a Fragment by Oppen” which at first seems like a mere word play but ends with a short but powerful commentary on European aggression during the age of exploration.
There is much to please and surprise in this diverse collection of poems.
The above review was contributed by:Kathryn Atwood: Click Here To View More Of Kathryn's Reviews:
Kathryn Atwood's poetry, reviews and essays have appeared in numerous online and print journals, including "The Aurora Review,", "Afterimage," "Void Magazine," "Wild Violet," and "PopMatters." When she's not writing or driving her three kids around somewhere, she's usually teaching at a local music studio or givng vocal performances with her husband on the subject of American song.
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