[alert variation=”alert-info”]Publisher: Ooligan Press
Formats: Paperback
Purchase: Powell’s | Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble[/alert]

Nine editors selected 151 poems for inclusion in this anthology of poetry. The poets, represented by one or more poems, live in Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland. What they have in common is a sense of un-commonality, representing the free spiritedness of the Pacific Northwest. This is reflected in “an array of poems that challenge… preconceptions, including those of what a poem might be.”

“This is something new in our shared lives, how she turns so gentle.”

The reader is encouraged to “think you own thoughts,” about the worthiness of each composition. I was pleased that this buffet serving of art allows the reader to sample different styles and tastes, in order to discover what resonates with one’s own life experiences. I identified with the more traditionally-styled poems, but others will no doubt be drawn to youthful edginess and rebellion.

It was a joy to discover poets whose work I want to read more of, including Alex Winstaley, Christopher Levenson, Lilija Valis, Kagan Goh, Susan Rich, Kathleen Holme, and Penelope Scambly Schott. The rainy, damp weather that these locales share apparently fosters rather than dampens creativity. Let’s hope that Alive at the Center is only the first release of many comprehensive – insightful yet challenging – collections of poetry from the Pacific Northwest.

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