Ann Dobie has brought together in a single volume sixty-seven vibrant poets who are united by their deep ties to Louisiana. How their voices deviate, contrast, and complement, however, is the spice, the enticement of this delightful, broadly appealing anthology.
Culled from hundreds of submissions, the selections in Uncommonplace represent an exciting range of styles, perspectives, and experiences. The authors vary in occupation from professor to grandmother, from petroleum landman to insurance salesman. They are black and white; young and old; French- and English-speaking; native, transient, displaced, and even “recovering” Louisianians. They hail not only from cities, towns, villages, and farms throughout Louisiana but also from states across the country, where, despite time and distance, many continue to think of themselves as belonging to the bayous and cottonfields of their former home.
Included are writers of considerable repute—such as Catharine Brosman, Kelly Cherry, Andrei Codrescu, Yusef Komunyakaa, Pinkie Gordon Lane, David Middleton, Sue Owen, and Dave Smith—and others known better regionally at present. Each of them finds in poetry’s images, sounds, and forms the means to express personal encounters with the dilemmas of modern life and the age-old issues of love, guilt, family, death, and friendship.
Like its companion volume, Something in Common: Contemporary Louisiana Stories, Uncommonplace delivers impressive proof of the creative spirit alive in the state and the power of place to unleash that spirit.
Ann Brewster Dobie, professor emerita of English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, is the editor of three anthologies of works by Louisiana writers: Something in Common: Contemporary Louisiana Stories, Uncommonplace: An Anthology of Contemporary Louisiana Poets, and Wide Awake in the Pelican State: Contemporary Louisiana Stories.
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