%% This is a multi-book review: SEE also the title "The New Young American Poets". %% David Lehman, general editor of the annual Best American Poetry, codirects a poetry reading series with photographer-poet Star Black. The venue is a second-floor Manhattan bar in which one can be heard without using a mike. Despite offering no honorarium, the series has been a big hit. Lehman and Black present one poem each by 75 readers from the first three seasons. Each poem is prefaced by a little biography and frequently postfaced by its author's most unforgettable poetry-reading experience. Reader 76, coeditor Black, indulges herself to the tune of six poems and provides in-performance photos. If the contents include no masterpieces, the range of the contributors, from icons like John Ashbery to Sarah Arvio, who has yet to publish a collection, is most impressive.Many better poems are in editor Prufer's roundup of work by 40 poets less than 40 years old. Usually, there are three to five poems per poet, enough to whet a reader's appetite for more. The sole famous name here is Sherman Alexie, and that is because of his well-received novels. Alexie is typical of many contributors in that he belongs to an ethnic or cultural minority, in his case, American Indian. Black, Latino, Asian, and gay voices resound throughout the book, and Filipino American Nick Carbo, African American Alison Joseph, and Japanese American Rick Noguchi are just three whose work is especially striking. Exceptional, too, are white ethnic Julia Kasdorf's poems piquantly reflecting her heritage as an old order Mennonite. Although there are very few regularly metered and rhymed poems on view, there are so many good poems here, sometimes extracted from less-than-wonderful first or second books, that the future of American poetry looks bright, indeed.In introducing their gay and lesbian anthology, Lassell and Georgiou paraphrase author Joan Nestle to the effect that "as a group, we gay and lesbian people are responsible for having written desire into history." Certainly desire is a concern of a great many poems in the book, and that desire is often enough worked out in the perennial gay contexts of bars, dancing, cruising, etc. At times it seems that this gay and lesbian "next wave," as the book's subtitle calls it, is just another wave of the confessional poetry of the 1950s. Much is adroitly enough written, though, so that the book fittingly complements the KGB Bar and new poets collections in giving a big, though definitely incomplete, sampling of American poetry at the twenty-first century's dawning. ((Reviewed March 15, 2000)) Copyright 2000 Booklist ReviewsReview by Library Journal Reviews
From urban slam-fests to government-sponsored verse on public transportation, poetry seems to be enjoying a renaissance of interest these days, and this collection adds another chorus of powerful voices to the song. A wide variety of form and style is represented, from the hip-hop beat of urban street slang to the steady, studied cadence of more meditative verse. This is poetry that does not flinch from life but rather confronts it head-on. Everything that life is about, love and death, AIDS and lust and yearning, is confronted, distilled, and recorded. Well-known poets such as Olga Broumas, Alfred Corn, Robert Gluck, and Marilyn Hacker appear alongside new names with equally impressive talents. Of course, an anthology is only as good as the editors' choices, and Lassell and Georgiou (both accomplished authors and editors) have chosen uniformly strong writers. Interestingly, the introduction states that several well-known poets declined to have their work included, embarrassed perhaps by the unabashedly gay nature of the anthology. Nevertheless, this is an exciting collection that beautifully describes the vibrant state of contemporary American poetry. Recommended for most collections. Jeffery Ingram, Newport P.L., OR Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
A collection of poetry from the foremost gay and lesbian poets in the world today celebrates the coming of the new century with poems that challenge, entertain and amuse the reader.Review by Publisher Summary 2
Presents a collection of poetry written by both new and established gay and lesbian writers, with themes including love, loneliness, ethnicity, and politics.Review by Publisher Summary 3
This collection of gay and lesbian poetry presents work by 46 contemporary American poets, including Hacker, McClatchy, Broumas, Doty, Neely, Chin, Wunderlich, and Cabico. The poems represents a variety of styles and address a wide range of topics, among them: love, sex, friendship, homophobia, the joys and trials of daily life, and politics. The poems are grouped by writer. An introductory essay is also included. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)