Moving Borders: Three Decades of Innovative Writing by Woman

Mary Margaret Sloan, Author
Mary Margaret Sloan, Author Talisman House Publishers $29.95 (740p) ISBN 978-1-883689-47-6
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
Tendering selections from 35 younger poets writing in the wake of experimental ""language"" poetries, this intriguing anthology collects work almost exclusively from the mass of small press editions, chapbooks and journals devoted to their endeavors. Most tend to write in an abstract pastiche of sophisticated wit, smart alecky political critique and jagged, disjunctive phrasing. Nonetheless, many seem to be working toward a distinct synthesis of that mode with more direct, more mellifluous neo-Romantic idioms. Jennifer Moxley's passionate, humorous thwartings and engagements of a destabilized lyric ""I"" have already won her a cult audience. Yuri (Riq) Hospodar, Lisa Jarnot, Judith Goldman, Peter Gizzi and Chris Stroffolino all make strong contributions along these lines. Rod Smith, Thomas Sayers Ellis and Juliana Spahr come closest to walking the fine line between effective linguistic disruption and a failure to signify. The less successful writers seem hopelessly mired in abstractions, empty pronouns, elliptical phrasing, grandiose allusions and static rhythms, although Beth Anderson, Heather Ramsdell and Elizabeth Willis, each in their own way, create vibrant work out of elements of this tendency. (Notes on each poet help sort everyone out.) This collection will be a treat for any reader looking for an alternative to the current bloc of mainstream poetries, and helps solidify the emerging contribution of a promising generation. (Mar.) FYI: Also due in March from Talisman is Moving Borders: Three Decades of Innovative Writing by Women ($29.95 paper 776p ISBN 1-883689-47-3; $52.95 cloth -48-1).
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