Thursday, April 24, 2008

Village Voice Poetry Roundup by Alan Gilberg

...Stefania Heim and Jennifer Kronovet's slim journal, Circumference, dedicated entirely to poetry in translation, was a breath of fresh air when it was started in 2003, and it continues to present some of the most compelling translations in print. So too does Action Books; it recently published South Korean experimental writer Kim Hyesoon's Mommy Must Be a Fountain of Feathers, which situates the female body as the primary site of social and psychological struggle.

... Swensen teaches at the fabled Iowa Writers Workshop, which in the '90s began to shed its image as ground zero for cookie-cutter workshop verse. The results have been mixed, and readers can be confident that whenever they hear work described as "combining language and lyric," it's usually shorthand for the application of avant-garde poetry techniques to emotional and perceptual platitudes. An antidote? Maybe one of the prefaces to Chelsey Minnis's Bad Bad (Fence): "Someone once thought that a poem should be more than an elaborate 'fuck you,' but I did not think it."


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