Poetry News

Hyperallergic's 2013 Poetry Snapshot

By Harriet Staff


Wow! What a collection of reviews! Via Hyperallergic, check out these treats (read: poetry recommendations) from John Yau, Barry Schwabsky, Albert Mobilio, and Michael Leong! We'll excerpt from the list with these write-ups from John Yau and Barry Schwabsky, respectively, below. Explore more at Hyperallergic.

Alfred Starr Hamilton, A Dark Dreambox of Another Kind (Song Cave)

Alfred Starr Hamilton was born in Montclair, New Jersey, in 1914, a little more than a decade before Allen Ginsberg was born in Newark in 1926. He died in 2005, many of his thousands of poems lost. Subsisting on an inheritance of 1,000.00 a year, living in rooming houses, he existed on the opposite end of the spectrum from Ginsberg, whose voice is public and declarative, addressed to anyone and everyone: “ “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness … ” Hamilton was another kind of witness. Here is his one-line poem, “A Carrot”: “I wanted to find a little yellow candlelight in the garden.” His favorite word was “wonder.” Despite the harsh circumstances of his life, Hamilton seems never to have lost his sense of the marvelous. Edited by Ben Estes and Alan Felsenthal, with an Introduction by Geof Hewitt, A Dark Dreambox of Another Kind is full of poems like no one else’s. File this under “Important Recovery Project.” (J.Y.)

Fani Papageorgiou, When You Said No, Did You Mean Never? (Shearsman)

Lazy bastard that I am, I’m tempted to just reiterate what I said about Fani Papageorgiou’s remarkable first book of poems in the blurb I contributed to its back cover, where I spoke of “a poetry in which ‘almost everything happens in language’ yet what is crucial is precisely what’s covered by that harsh little word ‘almost,’ and in which ‘empty space is affected by gravity’: the empty space is that of the human heart. This kaleidoscopic sequence of searing fragments marks the arrival of an outstanding poet.” Besides, I still think that. Papageorgiou, in case you’re wondering, was born in Greece and has published fiction there; she lives in London but has spent enough of her life in New York for me to feel justified in claiming her as one of ours. Her crystalline verse conveys the poignant suspicion that no degree of propositional clarity or homely detail may be enough to get one’s sense across; to speak of love is always to speak a foreign tongue. (B.S.)