Really excited to have two poems in 6.1 of A Bad Penny Review! “Spin” and “Part of the Fairness” are slotted in there with a haunting cycle from Mia Ayumi Malhotra, Stephen Emmerson’s visual rewrite of poems by 15th cent Japanese poet Ikkyu Sojun on prepared typewriter, and a super cool erasure of the Boy Scouts of America by doyen of erasure, Jenni B. Baker, among other fabulous works. It’s a great issue!
I hate to focus so much on form, but in this review of Anselm Berrigan’s Come In Alone, form will take center stage. Or more accurately: form will frame the way we encounter Berrigan’s electric and vocally driven sensibilities. Because the very first thing you will notice when you open this book is the simple but profoundly innovative design, which runs all of the text as a border around an otherwise empty page. (You can look at sample pages here at the publisher’s website.)
This format might initially strike readers as gimmicky, but for as much as we talk about the space between the lines, about emptiness as a conditioning feature of poetics, I’m surprised I’ve never really encountered (even in the worlds of concrete or visual poetry) this simply conceived but radically reorienting layout, which does so much to give emptiness its primacy. Berrigan’s poems immediately force the reader to confront this emptiness as a powerful aesthetic force, and that alone is worth attention.
What the poems do after that, though, is even richer. . .
Read the review at NewPages