KLIATTAny collection of poetry to win the Iowa Poetry Prize elicits special attention. Spar, the latest recipient of this prestigious award, well reflects the complexities and diversity of contemporary American poetry. The majority of the work in this book is prose poetry, a demanding genre/form in itself. But both the excitement and challenge of these poems stems from a more primal source, a unique and intricate syntax system sometimes referred to as "language poetry" about which Lucie Brock-Broido contends that the words themselves are more significant than the clarity of narration. Volkman's love of words, her joy in their playful sounds and their independent power, is the overriding feature of this collection. "If it be event, I go forward and not back. I go tower, not floor. I listen but rarely learn, I take into account occasionally, but more often there are lips to kiss, words to pass from tongue to mouth, white entire." These poems force readers to reconsider language, to re-examine its traditional uses. "What is your friend, that you ash and azure for him?" This book is a testament to Volkman's statement, "I believe there is a song that is stranger than wind..." It is an enriching volume, one that offers depth and alternative for already solid collections, one that presents the primitive power of words in an avant-garde atmosphere. "If words are wire and can whip him, this is the scar." Category: Poetry. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2002, Univ. of Iowa Press, 56p., , Barre, MA
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