ISBN-13: 978-1933037493

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.


"Aptly titled "Seeking Center", this collection of poetry uses spare, visual language to conjure the "everydayness" of life alongside our deepest losses, and our wildest dreams. Joan Gelfand sculpts and paints word pictures as vividly as the artists whose work inspires many of the poems in this collection. Chances are you will hear an echo of your own heart, your own aching humanity in her words. And you may weep with recognition, as I did."

Nancy Dowds Brown


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