Book Review: Epistles, by Mark Jarman

There’s no PsychoSlut column in Bookslut this month, a combination of MLA, end-of-semester crises, and a snafu involving an interviewee.  It’ll be back in February!

I did, however, get a review in on time: Mark Jarman’s Epistles, a book of prose poems modeled, as the title suggests, on the epistles in the New Testament.   Here’s a taste:

Mark Jarman’s new book of poems, his ninth, is a collection of prose poems modeled loosely on Paul’s epistles. This is a rather remarkable challenge, for a variety of reasons: Pauline letters are addressed to specific Christian churches and communities — indeed, their universality arises from this deeply-felt sense of community (see Badiou). But Jarman isn’t really addressing a community of believers, or any other community save “the assembly of the lost.”

The other challenge Jarman faces is a formal one: The prominent New Formalist has set himself the task of writing in prose poems. Not for the first time in his career, but certainly this is the most sustained exploration of the form.

Read the whole thing!  (And stay tuned for tomorrow’s poetry-related post over there, where I’ll have a very entertaining interview with Jennifer L. Knox.)

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