Monthly Archives: February 2012
On Saturday, my monthly poetry readers group discussed James Allen Hall’s Now You’re the Enemy (University of Arkansas Press, 2008). It proved to be one of the most lively discussions we’ve had in a long time as we analyzed Hall’s craft and subject matter. All agreed that Hall’s poetry is accomplished (and I don’t say this simply because he is a fellow alumnus of Bennington College) though, for various reasons, some of us thought the subject matter to be more than a little uncomfortable.
Among the discussion topics resurrected was the fictional “I” vs. the autobiographical “I.” For me, this brought to mind a panel at AWP a few years back where Liam Rector and Timothy Liu debated whether or not there even could be a fictional “I.”
I have opened my own poetry readings by stating, “This work is fictionalized truth. I’ll let you decide what is fiction and what is truth.”
Ultimately, we did not settle firmly on which elements of Hall’s narratives were completely true and we mostly agreed that it did not matter; the poems worked without having a black and white timeline in front of us.
To read more about Now You’re the Enemy, check out the following site: http://howapoemhappens.blogspot.com/2010/05/james-allen-hall.html.
The Judge’s Prize, which was chosen by Teresa Leo, is Little Oblivion by Susan Allspaw, Aurora, CO. The Editor’s Prize is Quelled Communiqués by Chloe Joan Lopez, Colchester, VT. Congratulations to the winners.
Fence Books has announced two winners of the 2012 Fence Modern Poets Series prize. The winning books will come out in the fall of 2012. They are Eyelid Lick, by Donald Dunbar of Portland, Oregon and In the Laurels, Caught, by Lee Ann Brown of New York City and Marshall, North Carolina. Congratulations to both.