Seeking Center: A Collection of Poems
Heliographica (January 1, 2004)
In Seeking Center, Joan Gelfand joins the reader in a free-wheeling discussion, beyond the poems themselves, regarding what is poetry today, here at the beginning of the twenty-first century. In forms that span from the short, highly-constrained haiku to the almost limitless prose poem, she seems to define poems as she produces them. She refines this discussion through poetic techniques that include innovative line breaks, a few rhymes and near-rhymes, internal rhymes that surprise and wordplay. Through all of this she seems to ask-and-answer what is poetry? And isn’t poetry being constantly redefined by new voice, new angles, and vision. What is a Joan Gelfand poem?
These poems reach widely into media other than the printed word, thus knitting a web of connections between arts and artists. “Museum Pieces,” the first of four sections, deals almost exclusively with reactions to visual art. At her best, Gelfand expresses the ability of a work of art to shock our prosaic universe.