Guests of Space

Anselm Hollo, Author . Coffee House $15 (83p) ISBN 978-1-56689-192-9

Cult poet and translator Hollo (Notes on the Possibilities and Attractions of Existence , 2001) makes this 32nd collection of his own verse an entertaining, chatty, omnivorous affair. Most of the volume consists of unrhymed 14-line sonnetlike poems packed with musings on life in general and on Hollo's daily experience. Sometimes the sonnets play with typography and layout, and often they incorporate quotations—from friends, from respected modern poets or poet-friends. Fans of the late Ted Berrigan will recognize this modus operandi as Berrigan's own, and Hollo's capacious sequences—which refer to Berrigan by name—sometimes read like a rambling homage to Berrigan's principles of composition: "It has to do with the minutely sensational,/ Says I, with what's little enough but enough." Hollo makes the most of the leaps and emotional spaces that separate his observations: his "trembling fringe of cryptonyms" resolves into many likable self-portraits, even if "every decoding's another encoding." Antiwar sonnets both shock and delight, decrying the latest fight between "The Short-Sighted Corporate Greed Heads/ & The Nothing-to-Lose Religious Fanatics." If the book as a whole seems overlong or talky, that may be a small price to pay for so many sharp lines, delivered with such aplomb. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 12/18/2006
Release date: 02/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
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