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Crossing State Lines: An American Renga Hardcover – March 29, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


Crossing State Lines: An American Renga . . . [is] a fascinating book . . . As it turns out, the renga is a surprisingly appropriate genre for America--its lower 48 states are themselves a kind of chain poem, connecting and referencing each other in literal and metaphorical ways. Crossing State Lines goes after these links on formal and thematic levels . . . The strength of the book is the diversity of voices. Between the same covers you find a poet like Rae Armantrout snuggling up to Nicole Cooley and Billy Collins poetically spooning Rita Dove. Anne Waldman rolls over to find Vijay Seshadri alongside Marilyn Hacker. There is a fantastic foursome of David St. John, Marie Howe, C. K. Williams, and Heather McHugh--sort of a paginated Bob, Carol, Ted, and Alice. Since most of the poets incorporate a line or a trope from the previous poem into their own, this lyrical interlacing gets accentuated in pleasing (and surprising) ways . . . If Crossing State Lines has a theme, it's probably just that--motion. Movement. Crossing. Changing. Even the final poem by Robert Hass, which I will not give away, turns on the whole notion of turning. Where are we going? What are we pivoting toward? What, exactly, are we turning in to? This collection does a fantastic job of exploring these questions on poetic, cultural, and national levels.” ―Dean Rader, The Rumpus

About the Author

The renga was overseen by BOB HOLMAN and CAROL MUSKE-DUKES, co-curators of the poetry stream of America: Now and Here, which is bringing art and artists to large and small communities across America.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (March 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374132135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374132132
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,405,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Chuck Taylor on July 21, 2013
Format: Paperback
It's a great idea, to write a renga--an ancient Japanese collaborative poem--about these states and perhaps a coming new time with Obama as president, but a renga is a conversation between poets, and except for a few in this book, these poets aren't listening to each other. They're being individualistic Americans going their own way. You get some good lines here, but no conversation, no real build to anything.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Keepsake on June 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A unique and thoughtful poetic consideration in this young 21st century. In many ways we are still a young country. Our growing pains create restlessness and impulsiveness within our borders. We are getting to know ourselves. Simultaneously we are becoming known to others beyond our borders. We're gangily, but want poise. We are bright, but sometimes foolhardy. Crossing state Lines: An American Renga is an invitation to meet U.S.
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