Public Poetry, Kevin Walzer's meditations on poetry, publishing, business, and other creative pursuits
Kevin Walzer, a poet, poetry publisher, husband, and father.
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It's always a pleasure to discover a new poet when reading manuscripts, but I had a special sense of excitement when reading Kendra Hamilton's The Goddess of Gumbo.I found myself responding strongly to the musical grace of Hamilton's poem, but also their sharply etched character portraits: of women in love, of African-American life, of the Southern experience. The awareness of history is always present in Hamilton's poems, but they are decidedly contemporary in their concerns.
Here is an example of Hamilton's technique at work:At the Ranger Station and Scenic Overlook
Describing the scenic view as a tourist trap, the poem registers a powerful ambivalence about its subject--the difficult experiences of Native and African-Americans. The speaker endures as much of the confrontation as she can and then flees. In this poem, Hamilton makes history into something that is intimately felt, and renders that feeling with striking, yet colloquial, music. Powerfully done.
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