Monday, April 26, 2010

Between Water & Song, poetry compilation, Norman Minnick

Between Water & Song
New Poets for the Twenty-First Century, edited by Norman Minnick
White Pine Press

This collection is just too good to describe...really!  The majority of the poets are not household names, yet (except Chris Abani, of whom I own three other books).  The variety is impressive, and the selections that appear are full of feeling and are almost tactile in the textural details.  I'll just shut up now and show you:

Stand by Ruth Forman

why so afraid to stand up?
someone will tell you
sit down?

but here is the truth
someone will always tell you
sit down

the ones we remember
kept standing.

Backcountry, Emigrant Gap by Maria Melendez

I thought we fell asleep
austere and isolated-

two frogs calling across Rock Lake.

By morning, deer prints
     in the black ground between our tents-

more lives move beside us
than we know.

These are just two examples but the feel is similar throughout, although not all the poetry is sweet and light.  My favorite in the set are those by Jay Leeming, who reminds me a tiny bit of Billy Collins but is still a unique voice on his own.  His "Rowboat" is elegant and "Supermarket Historians" begins sweetly but ends with a bitter twist.  The always-aware Chris Abani concludes the anthology with "Say Something about Child's Play" that will make you tremble.  Besides being a great read on its own, this would also be great to give a poetry lover looking for new voices.

Special thanks to White Pine Press for the Advanced Review Copy.