Poetry. Paper, Perfect Bound. 36pp.
$12.95 plus S&H
2009, ISBN 978-0932412-751
This enjoyable collection further demonstrates Allison Joseph’s uncanny grasp of language and image, along with a kind of playful and soulful voice that makes her poetry accessible to all.
by Allison Joseph
If there’s a poem in you,
get it out by any means necessary—use pliers
if you must, or grab it with your bare
hands and pull, dislodging stony roots,
thorny bushes. Don’t let that poem
hunker beneath your skin, unsaid,
unshed, stuck between bones or
swallowed. If it’s too weak to come
out, too fluttery and unstable, feed
yourself lines from other, stronger
poems until your poem grows thick-
thighed, sable-tongued, ready to strut,
sultry, agile. If your poem is minnow-
slippery, just as quick, you must move
quickly too, casting your net wide
but not letting your poem tangle
in its nylon. No excuses when a poem
burgeons, nascent, budding on the cusp
of your lips, terrace of your tongue.
Don’t let that poem sail from you,
send you a postcard later. Go get it
now, before it scurries away,
scattering words in its wake.
Allison Joseph is the author of five full-length collections of poetry, What Keeps Us Here (Ampersand, 1992), Soul Train (Carnegie Mellon, 1997), In Every Seam (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997), Imitation of Life (Carnegie Mellon, 2003) and Worldly Pleasures (Word Press, 2004). What Keeps Us Here was the winner of Ampersand Press’ 1992 Women Poets Series Competition. It also received the John C. Zacharis First Book Award from Ploughshares and Emerson College in Boston. In addition, she was awarded Illinois Arts Council Fellowships in Poetry in 1996 and 2007 and a Literary Award from the Illinois Arts Council in 1997. Currently she is an Associate Professor at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, where she serves as editor for Crab Orchard Review and director of the Young Writers Workshop, a summer conference for high school-aged writers.