Poetry International #17
Nominaby Karen Volkman
Karen Volkman’s first book, Crash’s Law , was a National Poetry Series selection, published by W.W. Norton in 1996. Her second book, Spar , received the Iowa Poetry Prize and the 2002 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies, including The Best American Poetry , The/i>/i>/i>
Karen Volkman’s first book, Crash’s Law , was a National Poetry Series selection, published by W.W. Norton in 1996. Her second book, Spar , received the Iowa Poetry Prize and the 2002 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies, including The Best American Poetry , The Pushcart Prize Anthology , and The Norton Introduction to Poetry .
From “Brown is the flat”:
Brown is the flat gestation of a maze,
grass-grown remembrance of a second look the field holds open like a nascent book in which the wind has written, Sudden strays,
sudden numbers beat—the roots of days branched intangibles a stupor took and slept and stroked and scattered in a shook haze of wakenings, refracting rays outleaping their seasons, daughters of a glance ago—ahead, a retrograde advance.
Poetry International #17
In her previous collection, Spar(2002), Volkman stripped away the formal conventions of lineated verse (as well as overtly stated subject matter) to explore what a poem could say in prose, using rhythm, sound and tone as her principal tools of meaning-making. In this third collection, a sequence of 50 untitled, rhymed sonnets, she takes her interrogation of the poem as formal machine a step further, using English poetry's most famous form as her guide. Like her prose poems, these sonnets are concerned with love and some notion of a higher, or other, power, or at least with the capacity of language to bridge the gap between addressor and addressee, seeking "a nascent book/ in which the wind has written." Channeling Emily Dickinson, the poems are at once fierce, ravished, perplexed and perplexing ("If finalfell/.../ would time annul the zero in the laws?"), gesturing toward sense, never quite making it, yet mysteriously giving and withholding enough to keep the reader in their thrall. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Meet the Author
Karen Volkman's poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, The Norton Introduction to Poetry, and elsewhere. She has taught at NYU, the New School, the 92nd Street Y, University of Alabama, University of Pittsburgh, Columbia College Chicago, and University of Chicago. She currently teaches in the MFA writing program at University of Montana in Missoula.
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