Baltimore: Poetry Central

May 12, 2008 | No Comments

Over the last few weeks, three significant poetry collections have been released from Baltimore-based poets, a local embarrassment of riches destined for national attention. Joseph Harrison and Greg Williamson, both members of the Johns Hopkins creative writing faculty, have published their new collections via Way Wiser Press. Harrison’s Identity Theft, is his follow-up to Someone Else’s Name, and the sonnets of A Most Marvellous Piece of Luck, is William’s third outing after his award-winning The Silent Partner and Errors in the Script.
Lia Purpura’ is currently writer-in-residence at Loyola college, and her latest collection, King Baby, is an ode to creation – both physical and artistic – via a cycle of sixty-four lyric poems. She has received National Endowment of the Arts and Fulbright scholarships, and her 2006 essay collection, On Looking, was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Purpura’s work is complex, demanding; she is no Billy Collins. Like Nabokov, to whom she often refers, she enjoys word-play and subterfuge and, sometimes, it seems, to me, she, deliberately, eludes us. But she understands and articulates beautifully, the craft behind art:
“– I don’t believe things happen for a reason.
I believe we bend events around to meaning
or recline with them and mystery at once.
I think we say things happen for a reason
if we don’t believe the making is important.”
To hear my review of King Baby for Maryland NPR, follow the link for May 12th archives here.

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