cover image Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation

Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation

Edited by Brett Fletcher Lauer and Lynn Melnick. Viking, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-670-01479-8

This wide-ranging collection of poems from "one hundred younger poets firmly launched on their careers" (as poet Carolyn Forch%C3%A9 writes in the introduction) offers a loose format that avoids dividing the poems by theme. Instead, poems about complicated love, urban and small-town life, ethnicity, violence, and myriad other topics are presented as a steady stream of powerful language, united by a sense of urgency. Josh Bell's playful "Poem Voted Most Likely" has a trace of Ginsburg ("To drink its hot-dog water like a good fellow/ To laminate the small of your back/ To act as interim liaison to the Psychedelic Mole People/ To huff on tractor fumes"), while Patricia Lockwood's "Rape Joke" takes aim at sexual aggression ("The rape joke is that you asked why he did it. The rape joke is he said he didn't know, like what else would a rape joke say?" The scope and breadth of topics, perspectives, and poetic forms make the collection a wellspring of inspiration for readers and writers honing their own skills. Ages 14%E2%80%93up. Agent: Brianne Johnson, Writers House. (Mar.)