Grinding a thematic axe to good effect

Poetry anthologies can be tough reading. They sometimes seem motivated by an indulgent, overly simple impulse, as though someone read a really great poem about, say, gardening, and instead of thinking, I wish I could read a whole book of really great poems, thought, I wish I could read a whole book of poems about gardens.

Magic can happen in an anthology, though. Of course it helps when the editors choose exceptionally strong work. And when the work is well-chosen, and perhaps the theme isn’t too didactic, the poems can begin to speak to each other in a mysterious way, setting each other off and influencing the reader to baffling effect. I found this to be the case with “Penned,” an anthology of poems about the zoo that was published recently by Signal Editions here in Montreal. To read more, check out my review on Rover.


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