Dedicated to the late Powow River Poet, David Berman, The Powow River Poets Anthology II continues in the splendid tradition of the group’s previous tome, published in 2006. Twenty-seven poets touch on themes ranging from the simple joys of friendship, nature, and art, to the complex issues of faith and doubt, love and loss. Guffaw-inducing humor and biting wit abound, as well as solemn reflections on suicide, domestic violence, social injustice, betrayal, illness, aging, and death. In Rhina P. Espaillat’s beautiful villanelle, “Guidelines,” included in this collection, the poet wisely urges us to find something to love, perhaps “a line of verse . . . that feels like the world’s heart since time began.” Beyond question, the poems in The Powow River Poets Anthology II echo the world’s heart.
—Catherine Chandler, author of Pointing Home
It might be far-fetched to suggest that the Muses have sprinkled a generous share of their gifts into the waters of the Powow River . . . [near] the historic town of Newburyport . . . where the Powow River Poets established their home base three decades ago—but how else to explain the lyric fluency, robust talent, and refreshing wit that consistently distinguish this group?
—Leslie Monsour (from the introduction), author of The House Sitter
The Powow River Poets are a group known for their concern with the craftsmanship of verse, and for the formal dexterity and precision of their poems—qualities profusely exemplified in this new collection. As might be expected, there are tricky forms in abundance here—sonnets, villanelles, triolets, a sestina—but what is so memorable about so many of the poems is their continual precision of observation and depth of nuanced feeling. To paraphrase Pope, come for the flow of reason, stay for the feast of soul. This is a really delightfully various and moving collection, one to browse happily in and return to often.
—Dick Davis, author of Faces of Love: Hafez and the Poets of Shiraz