Volkman, Karen. Spar.

Author:Beschta, James
Position:Book Review - Young Adult Review - Brief Article

Univ. of Iowa Press. 56p. c2002. 0-87745-807-3. $13.00. SA

Any collection of poetry to win the Iowa Poetry Prize elicits special attention. Spar, the latest recipient of this prestigious award, well reflects the complexities and diversity of contemporary American poetry. The majority of the work in this book is prose poetry, a demanding genre/form in itself. But both the excitement and challenge of these poems stems from a more primal source, a unique and intricate syntax system sometimes referred to as "language poetry" about which Lucie Brock-Broido contends that the words themselves are more significant than the clarity of narration.

Volkman's love of words, her joy in their playful sounds and their independent power, is the overriding feature of this collection. "If it be event, I go forward and not back. I go tower, hot floor. I listen but rarely learn, I take into...

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