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A Spring Bouquet of Poetry

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A Spring Bouquet of Poetry

A Spring Bouquet of Poetry

A Spring Bouquet of Poetry

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Five new volumes offer a lyrical celebration of National Poetry Month. iStockphoto hide caption

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As National Poetry Month draws to a close, we recognize five new volumes that celebrate the form, including verse probing the darkness at the edge of everyday life from U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic and hard questions posed in comic fashion from Jane Shore.

Here's a entry from Campbell McGrath's new book, Seven Notebooks, which chronicles a year in the poet's life:

Another week should see the bloom-out
of purest, whisper-green shoots, darkening
all summer to fall...

There's blooming out — and darkening in — in Jane Shore's collection, A Yes-Or-No Answer. This is a domestic book, filled with elegies about the writer's late parents, and hymns to the ambivalence of life. Take the simple cadence and serio-comic feel of the title poem:

Do you double-dip your Oreo?
Please answer the question yes or no.

The surgery — was it touch and go?
Does a corpse's hair continue to grow?
Remember when we were simpatico?
Answer my question: yes or no.

Six more rhyming stanzas later, we get a less-than-reassuring answer to Shore's question.

Belgrade native and current U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic offers some assurance about the darkness lying at the edges of everything in a new collection, That Little Something. In the title poem, he writes:

The likelihood of ever finding it is small.
It's like being accosted by a woman
And asked to help her look for a pearl
She lost right here in the street.

She could be making it all up,
Even her tears, you say to yourself,
As you search under your feet,
Thinking, Not in a million years ...

In "Poetry," from his volume, The One-Strand River, published earlier this year, Pacific Northwest poet Richard Kenney worries about the state of the genre:

Nobody at any rate reads it much.

Your
lay
citizenry have other forms of fun.

Still, who would wish to live in a culture
of which future anthropologists would say
Oddly, they had none?

Finally, Thomas Lux, who teaches writing at Georgia Tech, has some fun. Many of the poems in his new book, God Particles, approach life's darkness from a satirical perspective. By now you've been reminded that poets sometimes choose the most ridiculous names for their work. And with Thomas Lux we arrive at the very apex of ambiguity with his poem titled, "Eyes Scooped Out and Replaced by Hot Coals":

I, the final arbiter
and ultimate enforcer
of such things (appointed by the king!), make official
and binding this: that the eyes shall be gouged out
and replaced by hot coals
in the head, the blockhead,
of each citizen who,
upon reaching his/her majority,
has yet to read
Moby-Dick, by Mr. Herman Melville (1819-1891), American     novelist
and poet.

Books Featured In This Story

Seven Notebooks

by Campbell McGrath

Hardcover, 223 pages |

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Seven Notebooks
Author
Campbell McGrath

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A Yes-or-No Answer

by Jane Shore

Hardcover, 62 pages |

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A Yes-or-No Answer
Author
Jane Shore

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That Little Something

Poems

by Charles Simic

Hardcover, 73 pages |

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That Little Something
Subtitle
Poems
Author
Charles Simic

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The One-Strand River

by Richard Kenney

Hardcover, 177 pages |

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The One-Strand River
Author
Richard Kenney

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God Particles

by Thomas Lux

Hardcover, 61 pages |

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Title
God Particles
Author
Thomas Lux

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