Don’t delay! The deadline for PRISM’s Fiction and Poetry Contests has been extended until Tuesday, February 5, so you’ve only got until tomorrow to submit your entries. Meanwhile, we asked poetry contest judge Rhea Tregebov to talk about some of the poets and poems that have made an impression on her recently.
1. What sort of trends (thematically, stylistically, or otherwise) have you noticed in poetry lately?
What is so interesting in the generation that has come of age in the last ten or fifteen years (folks like Ken Babstock, Karen Solie, Rachel Rose, Sue Sinclair, Suzanne Buffam, Carmine Starnino) is how smart and demanding their poetry is. I read their work as being much more open to ideas, much more willing to be challenging to readers, than the previous generation. It’s invigorating, and I think readers have risen to that challenge. Another salutary development is the openness to traditional forms (sonnet, villanelle, sestina) alongside free verse. Again, the reader benefits.
2. Who are the poets who have grabbed your attention recently?
Well, the list above, clearly. There are so many good new poets that it’s hard to keep up. Ian Williams is doing such interesting things with language; ditto my former students Sheryda Warrener, Linda Besner, Jamella Hagen, and Bren Simmers, all of whom have come out with debut books in that last couple of years.
3. What makes a good poem for you?
One that engages the reader on all levels: intellectual, ethical, sensual, emotional. I’m most fond of work that doesn’t restrict itself to a narrow band of human experience, but takes on all the aspects of life with which we must engage.