Poetry taken to the edge and back round again
Uphook Press is a New York City-based publisher specializing in work by poets and spoken words artists who love both the ink and the mike. hell strung and crooked is their second anthology, with the aim to promote a nationwide community of performing poets.
Featuring forty-one poets from San Francisco, Atlanta, Nashville, Boston, Seattle, elsewhere, and New York hell strung and crooked also includes interviews with National Book Award winner Mark Doty, and the Danish writer-performer Claus Ankersen.
Lenore Balliro, Samantha Barrow, Paul M. L. Belanger, Alex O. Bleecker, Meredith Devney, Malaika Favorite, Joseph Fritsch, Christian Georgescu, Robert Gibbons, Thomas Gibney, Deborah Hauser, Suzanne Heagy, Aimee Herman, R. Nemo Hill, Vicki Iorio, Kit Kennedy, Stephen Kopel, David Lawton, Richard Loranger, E. K. Mortenson, Nancy Carol Moody, Puma Perl, John Marcus Powell, Bob Quatrone, Seraphime Rhyianir, Lynn Samsel, Jackie Sheeler, Mary McLaughlin Slechta, Elliot D. Smith, Laura L. Snyder, Francesca Sphynx, Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino, Charles F. Thielman, Andrew Topel, John J. Trause, Geoffrey Kagan Trenchard, Stephanie Valente, Jacob Victorine, Ocean Vuong, Bruce Weber, and Laura Madeline Wiseman.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Anthologies are invitations to discover a bunch of friends you may not have met yet, or to get reacquainted with old friends. The poets in hell strung and crooked, by Uphook Press, are strangers to me save for Puma Perl, and the editors have done a more than commendable job assembling this stellar collection.
There is an unusual instance of book-ended poems here. Geoffrey Kagan Trenchard's, "Almaden and Foxworthy", is a narrative poem about the tragedies inherent with living in dysfunctional relationships, and it ends with the narrator moving out on his girlfriend in the middle of the night.
Then a few poems later comes Suzanne Heagy's, "When He Left At Night", a similar story with this narrator being the significant other left behind. The woman find s no firm answers about her mate s eventual return in her magic 8-ball, but the concluding line pretty much tells all: He took his birth certificate.
In a much lighter vein is Meredith Devney's prose poem, "Woman in the Super Walmart Bares All." This piece wonderfully illustrates how Americans are perhaps the most overly familiar people in the world, a farcical sketch that will have you thinking that it couldn t be true. Or could it? After all, it is Walmart.
Lenore Balliro brings an updated version of Hints from Heloise and I make a mental note to avoid Lenore after, "To save on alimony, add ground oleander to the ex-wife s chardonnay" which is not the only unique turn on the older version!
I m not certain if Bruce Weber s, A Poem in Forty-Five Parts sets any records for a list poem, but it just might. And Kit Kennedy's piece, "Whether Sunflower or Seed" is a real hidden jewel. This is the poem the editors wrote their introduction around, mentioning the opening lines, "begin with gesture/begin with question/begin with petition." I find the poetics in Kennedy's lines closely in sync with mine, especially towards the end, "Know this:/every word pre-exists/articulated/or not."
One of the most dramatic offerings comes from Elliott D. Smith in "Matricide", which beings, "Dear Mother,/I have to kill you" and goes into unforeseen territory from there. I m going to leave you hanging on this one. It alone is probably worth buying the book for.
Puma Perl chips in here with "The Perfect Man", a poem that should give all men lots of hope. According to this poem, Puma can tolerate a fellow living three thousand miles away and can forgive almost anything, even misspelling, as long as he s a bigger slut than she is and knows the difference between lay and lie. I think she s possibly the perfect woman.
I should mention that this collection also includes scintillating interviews with Claus Ankersen and Mark Doty, and shares their poetry as well. Alas, space doesn t allow me to comment on all forty-one poets, but each of them is unique and well deserving of their inclusion. Do add this one to your collection. --Outsider Writers
Last night was an amazing, impressive evening of poetry and performance arts. The celebration was for the release of this new poetry anthology: hell strung and crooked. --The Stale (Seattle)
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Book Description Uphook Press, 2010. Perfect Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0979979226