Anselm Hollo

Halfway through Postmodern American Poetry, I still haven’t found a “radical” new poet that I’m particularly fond of, but I have found several poets with “spiritual” overtones that I like.

One of my favorites is Anselm Hollo, an instructor at the Naropa Institute. Hollo manages to combine a sense of spirit with a sense of humor, a delightful combination. Amazingly, I liked four of the six poems included. Here’s an example of his serious side:


Who has a face sees

the world,
but the world
is not

to be borne
or only
when seen as

how did this
come together? How
did I find you?
So many turns

in the road
so few of them
How not to spin out

in hairpin turns
of disbelief
The Sufi martyrs

“The world
is a wedding.”
Why not
go with them.

in the face of
present carnage,

I like that line “The world/ is a wedding” particularly when contrasted with the “present carnage;” it seems to capture the duality that is our world. I probably prefer this one, though:


when you suddenly
feel like talking

about the times
in your life when you were

a total idiot asshole you resist
the impulse

& just sit there
at the head of the table


Remind you of anyone you know? Hopefully the portrayal is nearly universal, if not, perhaps I should be more embarrassed than I was when I first read it.