As readerly interest in Federico Garcia Lorca (1898—1936) soared over the last 10 years, so too did scholarly attention to Lorca's work. A number of lost manuscripts were unearthed, and new, more authoritative translations, as well as a definitive four-volume collected works in Spanish, were published based on the findings. All this has inspired a new edition of Lorca's Collected Poems. Edited by Christopher Maurer (who also put together the last edition), the new bilingual edition includes the works from Poet in New York (previously published as a separate volume), newly recovered poems (including complete versions of the cycles "Fairs" and "Summer Hours") and some updated translations. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $50 960p ISBN 0-374-12615-1; Apr.)

A Modernist who was part of the Objectivist group that included Charles Reznikoff, Louis Zukofsky and Carl Rakosi, George Oppen (1908—1984) won a Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for his masterpiece, Of Being Numerous. New Collected Poems gathers that work, along with some missing from the 1975 Collected Edited by poet Michael Davidson, it includes Primitive (the last volume Oppen published, in 1978) as well as previously unpublished work. Admirers of Oppen's foundational volumes should be very pleased with this update. (New Directions, $35 468p ISBN 0-8112-1488-5; Feb.)

Love's Labors...

Those looking to poetry to ease a recent breakup won't have to thumb through painfully irrelevant odes to joy any longer. The pocket-sized The Hell with Love: Poems to Mend a Broken Heart, edited by Mary D. Esselman and Elizabeth Ash Vélez, organizes its contents according to the stages of heartbreak ("anger," "sadness," etc.). Most are by well-known 20th-century U.S. poets: William Carlos Williams, Louise Glück, Sharon Olds, though Donne, Shakespeare and Larkin also make appearances. Predictable selections (Margaret Atwood's "You Fit Into Me") are balanced out by a few eccentric, perhaps witty curatorial decisions, such as the inclusion of Auden's "Musee Des Beaux Arts" in the section called "Moving On." (Warner, $14.95 paper 256p ISBN 0-446-67854-6; Jan.)

Erotic, impassioned and necrophilic, the 60 works gathered in Surrealist Love Poems celebrate the idea of obsessive and transformative love. "I want to sleep with you side by side.... Consumed by ecstatic mad inertia/ Stretched out on your shadow/ Hammered by your tongue/ To die in a rabbit's rotting teeth/ Happy," writes Joyce Mansour. City University of New York comparative literature professor Mary Ann Caws places poems by major surrealist writers like André Breton and Paul Eluard, along with the poetry of Picasso, Dalí and Frida Kahlo, side by side with 14 lushly printed and alluring b&w photos by the likes of Man Ray, Lee Miller and Claude Cahun. (Chicago, $22.50 120p ISBN 0-226-09871-0; Feb. 14)

A chorus of Irish voices exalt and bemoan romance in Ireland's Love Poems. Major players are here (Jonathan Swift and William Congreve, W.B. Yeats and Samuel Beckett, Paul Muldoon and Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill) along with scores of others from the pagan period to the present day. The tremendous diversity of forms, styles and perspectives gives readers a whirlwind tour of Irish literary history, as well as a long record of the endless search for "a nymph that was chaste, or a swain that was true." (Norton, $23 288p ISBN 0-393-04316-9; Feb.)

...and a Love Connection

A total of four books issue this month from one of New York poetry's most esteemed duos, Nada Gordon and Gary Sullivan. Gordon's small-format Foreign Body, which made the cover of the SPD catalogue this season (SPD distributes all four books), draws on fragment and frangible literary plenty, haiku and hypersensuality, as well as on experimental modernists. In 1988, Gordon began an 11-year stint in Tokyo, and her pleasingly emotionally disheveled speaker tries to make sense of her surroundings ("Head fills with desires. A mauve refrigerator full of fish") while remaining resolutely herself: "my lovely hysterical grin/ gums showing little fangs/ eyes as smiling slits/ nose like a bat's// think white hand + black insects/ or tea rose + mildew—/ YIN TRAVELS, you might say." (Detour, $10 96p ISBN 0-9627762-3-8)

Scrawled comics and cribbed illustrations, simultaneous Creeley and Spicer parodies, fake interviews, fake blurbs, real e-mail, dream narrative, conventional lyric, altered rejection letters and drawing room drama are all part of Sullivan's lesson on How to Proceed in the Arts. Sullivan, who publishes Detour Books and the Webzine Readme, is the inventor of FLARF!, a mostly unprintable poetic subgenre ("RELAX! NOT going to wear my OINTMENT PUPPET/ 'cept 'if you're interested in doing my book'"), and a regular contributor to Rain Taxi. Through all of Sullivan's deeply felt undermining of pretense and posturing comes an extraordinary, positive lighting of the way out, "[t]he poet popped open &/ hung like a jack-o-lantern illuminating/ the entire mountaintop." (Faux, $12.50 paper 104p ISBN 0-9710371-1-6)

The latter-day romantic heroine of Gordon's book-length series, Are Not Our Lowing Heifers Sleeker Than Night-Swollen Mushrooms? (title courtesy of Keats), assumes various sub-personas, calling herself "I," " 'I'" and "i," speaking variously in all capital letters, all lower-case, and orthographically correct mixes thereof. Our heroine cracks jokes about Victorian constructions of femininity ("Why is an unbound book like a young maiden in bed?"), explores her self-perception ("i don't know why/ i am always wanting you—/ someone—to have my interiority"), tells bald-faced lies, has plenty of sex and continually distracts herself and whoever might try to cut her down to size: "If you are still confused/ by the form, invoke/ its creator, its secret/ prey. Jolly with/ composition, she/ has stretched/ her lower lip/ up over her head." (Spuyten Duyvil, $12 paper 128p ISBN 1-881471-66-7)

But the duo's tour-de-force is surely Swoon, an electronic literary courtship that spirals into real life in a manner Griffin & Sabine never manage. In March of 1998, Nada posted a query on a poetry discussion list, and Gary replied "backchannel," asking if she were the same person who went by "gordon" and lived in San Francisco years earlier. Amid Sullivan's disintegrating marriage in New York and Gordon's failing Tokyo relationship, the two produced the equivalent of 5,000 manuscript pages over the course of a year as they traded quips, seductions, likes and dislikes, ideas about aesthetics, sexual preferences, photos, poems and poetry gossip, worries, fears and neuroses, plans for visits and—the failure of love at first sight and its aftermath. It makes for the most true-to-life literary love story since Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett hit Florence. (Granary, $17.95 paper 328p ISBN 1-887123-54-7)

December Collections

The first such collection available in English, Open Gate: An Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry begins with works from the grandfather of Creole literature, Felix Morisseau-Leroy, and rounds out with today's poets in diaspora. Edited by Paul Laraque and Jack Hirschman, the collection addresses the poverty, violence and political struggle that characterize Haitian history, but there are also poems celebrating love or nature or simply the quotidian. As George Castera writes in "Blood," "Let's go see the blood flow,/ darling./ For once in a lifetime,/ it's not people's blood spilling,/ for once in the street/ it's not animal's blood flowing,/ let's go see the blood flow,/ darling:/ the sun is setting." (Curbstone, $15.95 paper 240p ISBN 1-880684-75-6)

After immigrating from Russia to a downtrodden Manhattan neighborhood at age eight, and quitting school to begin working in factories at 14, Marya Zaturenska (1902—1982) published two poems in Poetry when she was 18 and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937 for her collection Cold Morning Sky. Now, with New Selected Poems of Marya Zaturenska, editor Robert Phillips presents a range of her work from early poems, some of them uncollected, through selections from her several books and ending with some translations of Italian poetry. Her rhyming, passionate, sometimes precious work proves her a consummate modern lyric poet. Phillips's informative biographical and critical introduction describes her social and intellectual milieu, which included the likes of Willa Cather, the Lewis Mumfords, Muriel Rukeyser and Malcolm Cowley. (Syracuse Univ., $24.95 200p ISBN 0-8156-0717-2)

Everyone has a birthday which they meet with varying levels of joy and ambivalence each year. Birthday Poems, edited by Jason Shinder (Tales from the Couch: Writers on Therapy), underscores this fact with a century's worth of poems by a variety of prominent U.S. writers (from e.e. cummings to John Hollander to June Jordan to Denis Cooper), who celebrate, lament and mull over the meaning of a birthday. A subject index will help readers find poems specific to certain family members or to the age being celebrated. (Thunder's Mouth, $15.95 paper 320p ISBN 1-56924-345-2)

Alumni of Vancouver's determinably unofficial Kootenay School of Writing, a group that took a heavy lead from the Language poets but added an almost punkish edge, Nancy Shaw and Catriona Strang write Busted from deep within that first moment in which one believes everything's truly gone wrong. There are sections of "Bulletins," "Credos" "Anthems," "Shuffles" and "Gripes," which contain anti-slogans like "Come in and stuff my take-off" or "Brown up your daily high-brow." While some of the language seems a jokey residue of some deep graduate-level reading ("I crave triangulation, too"), the words jump off the page in this book with little slackening of energy and no loss of the target, "Now dubious, now rocketing, just watch, just you watch me shaft the mines of ownership." (Coach House [SPD, dist.], $16.95 paper ISBN 1-55245-079-1)