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.