From Publishers Weekly
Innovative, incantatory, politically charged and decidedly accessible, Spahr's new volume consists of two linked prose poems, "Poem Written After Sept. 11, 2001" and the longer, more ambitious "Poem Written from November 30, 2002 to March 27, 2003." Both efforts imagine contemporary America ("how lovely and how doomed") as a polity nearly (but not quite) capable of collective action; as just one part of an interconnected globe; and as a place of isolated citizens, trying or failing to work together, especially in the protests that preceded—and failed to prevent—the war in Iraq. Like Claudia Rankine's Don't Let Me Be Lonely
, Spahr's work suggests a wartime diary, though it's a diary that incorporates many rhetorical devices (anaphora, prosopopoeia, quasi-Homeric lists), along with many snippets from the daily news. In addition to two prior volumes of poetry, Spahr (Response
) has published an influential critical study (Everybody's Autonomy
) and co-edits a prominent journal, Chain
, devoted to international mixed-genre writing. The openness, and the fire, Chain
readers cherish also informs Spahr's smart, angry poetic prose. "I speak of those dead in other parts of the world who go unreported," Spahr insists, and "of those moments when we do not understand why we must remain separated." Addressing her readers as "Beloveds," Spahr returns over and over to "the unanswerable questions of political responsibility." If she finds few answers, she certainly knows how to ask. (June)
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“Spahr's sprawling paean to humankind is by turns spiritual and political, philosophical and practical. Few books attempt this sort of range, and fewer still succeed as dramatically as does this one. . . . Those who worry that contemporary poetry has lowered its sights from the peaks of previous epochs—opting for form and technique over the grandeur of the human imagination—can read this book and be heartened.”
(Seth Abramson Huffington Post