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  November 2004
volume 2 number 4
  home   (archived)
  editor at large
Marie Lecrivain & Laura A. Lionello
Nonpareil: Ursula T. Gibson, poetry editor of Poetic Voices
  editor at large
Marie Lecrivain
The Nature of Poetry: Velene Campbell, editor of Abalone Moon
Stosh Machek
my muse speaks
Marie Lecrivain
L.A. Writers Recommend...
Francisco Dominguez
Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Vol. 2
Marie Lecrivain
Holly Prado's These Mirrors Prove It
Laura A. Lionello
Aire Celeste Norell's Cracked Pavement & Plastic Trees: Our Gifts To Future Generations
  mailing list
Francisco Dominguez November 2004


Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Vol. 2

    Sometimes a great poem risks losing its urgency when placed under a different context. This can occur in compilations featuring a diverse number of contributors. In fact, many works in the Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Vol. 2, could very well have run this same risk. Each of the authors lending their works to this collection has a distinct background.

    Yet, it may be noted that this collection has been put together quite thoughtfully in order to create a seamless flow between works. The proof lies in the use of multiple works from several authors instead of one work per author. This format creates continuity from one work to another. It is throughout this continuity that something greater than each piece forms. A connection with not just one work, but the collection itself.

    “Tango with my Father”, by Marilyn Krepf is the first piece in this compilation. Here is the first example of how the use of successive works from one author creates a seamless flow from one poem to another. This poem reflects on the relationship between the author and her father, who has passed away. The piece shows a side of yearning for days past when the author and her father could interact:

        “Come dance with me

        I said to my father

        And he put the tango record on.

        Tell me which way

        Do our legs go,

        Which way does

        The stillness move

        When we push through it?”

    Yet, it isn’t until the following piece, “Awakening," that we feel a deeper connection with the author’s hardship and yearning. It is in this piece the reader find outs in a less allegorical form of the author’s hardship:

        “…but today, years later, his dying

        became more separate yet more near.

        I walked past a shop

        With devices for the sick.

        I saw him alone in his room,

        Aware of his jutting bones on the white sheet,

        His body in the parentheses of an IV bag,

        His dying attached to his life.”

    This particular format creates a deeper look and stronger connection with the author, but isolates the intimacy between reader and author down to one emotion. Not all of the consecutive works from an author recreate this. In other instances, themes from the author vary from one piece to the next. What binds the work in this case isn’t theme, but style in expression. This gives the reader an overall and in depth view of the poet.

    A good example of this is Fredrick Zydek’s works, “Leejohn," “Learning to Grow Old,” and “Even the Bunch Grass Has Lovely Eyes." These three poems explore different themes and perceptions throughout Zydek’s life. In each of his works, the style of expression is reflective and pensive. The expression in each poem also binds them seamlessly despite the differences in themes:


        …“He knew I would life him

        From the display and press his

        Nose against mine before I did.

        What is there about puppy breath

        That bonds us to them? It is that day

        I choose to remember on this 25th

        Anniversary of the day he passed

        Back to the other side of the window”

    The same reflective style of the author continues in the next work.

        “Learning to Grow Old”

        “…There is a ragged magic to aging.

        The supple and the lame, the lithe

        And the short-winded, like light

        And shadow, share that one moment

        When each becomes the other”

    By the third poem, the reader has a clear idea of the poet's viewpoint and feelings.

        “Even the Bunch Grass Has Lovely Eyes

        “…Even the fish slip among their light and airy

        names. The moon and sun see to that.

        I am every reason they lived. That is true

        For all things seen and unseen still singing.”

    The most notable strength of this compilation is the arrangement of work. Interspersing consecutive works from one author with single works from different authors prevents montonony. It also creates a flow that introduces one author from the next seamlessly.

    There is a piece by D.L. Foor, “More” (p. 21), which reads,

        “…I am the splash of a classic painter

        I am a celadon hue with all

        its metallic dimensions seen,

        A form not fully fixed in a rainbow,

        But one held in the hands of a sculptor.

        No longer a fragment of a larger work

        I am the whole thing

        And yet just a scratch in an etching.”

    Foor’s last words describe this compilation. The sum of these works becomes greater than any particular piece. All of the works become one singular intangible feeling with each page turn. What is this intangible feeling? It is a sense that one isn’t simply looking into the hearts and minds of many poets, but of the hearts and minds of humanity as a whole.

    The editors' work must be noted with regard to this compilation. The contributors in this collection come from diverse backgrounds and this diversity could have overshadowed some worthy pieces. However, the editors' avoided this risk and have put together a clear and compelling compilation.

Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry Vol. 2, Phyliss L. Geller & Marilyn Krepf (editors), Phyliss L. Geller (publisher -, ISBN: 0-9729014-2-6, pages: 104

copyright 2004 Francisco Dominguez


Francisco Dominguez

author's bio

    Francisco J. Dominguez emigrated from Mexico to the United States at the age of 13. Since then, he has written and published a book of poetry, Estranged by the Airfields of Vienna. Fran's creative work is mostly comprised of short prose and free verse. As an immigrant, his endeavors are based on an outside-looking-in perspective. Fran is the art editor for poeticdiversity, and has been writing poetry for more than 10 years. He lives in Long Beach, California.

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