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Infusing poetry with personal sense of politics

By Michael Brodeur
November 27, 2011
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Poetry and politics can be like friends you hate to see at the same party. Both are helpless flirts, strong personalities, languages of coercion. And while poetry strives for the very truth that politics seeks to smother, both dabble in obscurantism when it suits a bigger idea. It would be wrong to describe the new collections from prolific Slovenian poet Tomaz Salamun and Brooklyn favorite son Anselm Berrigan as political, but it would be difficult to imagine either being as vital a voice without their unique knacks for balancing the show of poetry with the tell of history.

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THE BLUE TOWER

By Tomaz Salamun

Translated, from the Slovenian, by Michael Biggins

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 86pp., $22

NOTES FROM IRRELEVANCE

By Anselm Berrigan

Wave Books, 65pp., paperback, $16