'Hunches, Hedges, etc.'

Mini-reviews of chapbooks and books of poetry

So I will be doing rather rapid, on the move, mini-reviews, mostly of chapbooks, although I will sprinkle in several books, over the course of twelve weeks here at Jacket2. The title of what I will view as a column-cum-blog is Hunches, Hedges, etc. a title meant to emphasize the tentative, preliminary, judgments under various constraints (other writing projects, the format of the particular work for Jacket2, etc.). However cautionary these writings, they do perform a service: appetizers for potential readers. This particularly true for the chapbook reviews.  I don’t mean that the chapbooks are themselves tasty nibbles of some luscious entrée to follow (i.e., a book), though some chapbooks do, in fact, function to do so. Rather I mean that I want to introduce readers to authors they may be unaware of, authors they might be willing to take a chance on. In that sense these hasty generalizations are modest introductions. Of course, in the disparate field that is contemporary poetry, I cannot, and will not, presume that some names are either obviously well-known or relatively unknown. Instead, I am simply wading through my “to be read” stacks, pulling out chapbooks, books, pamphlets, often with a grimace (“oh yeah, right, I did say I’d get back to such and such.”), grin (“can’t wait to dive into this one!”) or, just as often, stoic non-expression (“well, here goes nothing…”).