Thursday, November 22, 2007

Solway wins A.M. Klein Prize

Congratulations to David Solway, who has won the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry for Reaching for Clear: The Poetry of Rhys Savarin. This is a strong collection of poems, as much for what it does not have as for what it does. It's rich in imagery, craft and language and free of the obtuse diction and references that has made some of his past poetry somewhat opaque. Solway's last three books of poetry have been in assumed (approriated) voices, in which he takes on a personnage and imagines a complete biographical, historical, geographical, cultural and linguistic setting. You have to be uniquely skilled to accomplish this as convincingly as Solway does. We seem to be seeing more and more works that use this approach, for example Stephen Marche's latest book, a fictional literary anthology titled Shining at the Bottom of the Sea. I wonder if this is an emerging trend as immigrant writers increasingly gain mainstream prominence and win prizes(particularly writers from warm climes, the Carribean, South Asia.) Post-immigrant writers seem to be searching for an authenticity in more traditional, pre-colonial cultures, or at least they seem to be seeking out a socio-cultural tension that no longer exists for them and their generation. It's a reversal of the typical immigrant desire to conform and gain acceptance in their chosen, adopted home. Now local writers want to seek faraway, foreign cultural terrain to reinvigorate their imaginations.

No comments: