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This review is taken from PN Review 213, Volume 40 Number 1, September - October 2013.

Open Fields Placing Poetry, edited by Ian Davidson and Zoë Skoulding (Rodopi) €70/US$95

In Placing Poetry an international community of poets emerges, in the place called the world, through the primarily British and American poets writing these stimulating essays and through the British and American poets they are exhibiting. The book envisions an ecologically aware global democracy announced by poetry and also embodied in it. All of these poets believe that such a vision invites an exploratory, experimental poetics which anchors the poetry as 'groundwork', in Robert Duncan's term, and leads to Kristin Prevallet's ecologically motivated aphorism: 'the opposite of inspiration is investigation'. Not a (mainstream) poetry-of-self, the poetry presented here celebrates what Jerome Rothenberg (quoted by John Wrighton) calls 'exteriority of being'. Placing Poetry synthesises recent thinking about space and place, perhaps most noticeably that of Michel de Certeau, Nicolas Bourriaud, Deleuze and Guattari, and Henri Lefebvre, with the tradition of twentieth- and twenty-first-century experimental poetics. It is the acknowledgment of place that unites these two streams of social and imaginative activity into a community of mind, body, persons, land and air and water, as well as the actual page of the scene of poetic writing.

It has been said that traditional poetry operates off a basic analogy: the human is like the divine. But in Placing Poetry a better analogy might be: the poem is like a landscape or a 'field'. The poem, like a landscape or field, is seen not as an aesthetic space, somehow cordoned off from the rest of life, but as the site of ...


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