Half Serious: An Anthology of Short, Short Poems; ed. by William Cole
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"Your absence has gone through me
Like a thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its colour."
- W. S. Merwin, "Separation" (p.27)
William Cole's curated anthology of "short, short poems" is a celebration of the poetic "virtue of brevity," collected here from an ensemble of poets composed of both familiar and new voices to the reader of this one-of-a-kind collection. Constrained by the limit a short prompt leaves for the poet's language, Cole's small, lateral book is a level playing field: the diverse range of writers he pulls work from all have to hold "tight rein" over their image, their idea that has to express itself in only so many words. As a collection, one sees how the poet might use musicality or line breaks to manipulate the momentum of their lines; published together, the reader is made to follow this procession of aphoristic, fast-acting 'poemlets' towards the limit of language, where the poet has always toed the line.
Intro. by William Cole
Ill. reproductions: Bronzino, Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time [detail] (1540-1546), London: The National Gallery of London (p. 11); Monsieur Mario Prassinos, "Two Cats" ill. (p. 31); Henri Rousseau. La muse inspirant le poète (1909), Basil: Kunstmuseum, Basle (p. 47); “Beach Photograph” [detail], London: Camera Press (p. 67).