13 Poets from Long Island | Critical Book Review
IndieBookView presents a critical review of “13 Poets from Long Island,” a poetry anthology edited by Evelyn Kandel. This eclectic collection explores a myriad of themes, blending good humor with the contemporary fears that define our present moment.
Diverse Voices, Varied Topics
“13 Poets from Long Island” stands out as the fourth poetry anthology from former Nassau County Poet Laureate Evelyn Kandel’s Writing Poetry class. Unlike anthologies with a singular theme or style, Kandel’s compilation features thirteen poets covering a broad spectrum of topics. From frustrated ballads on corrupt governments to singsong rhymes invoking sheer enjoyment, the anthology encompasses a diverse range of voices.
The anthology opens with a note from Evelyn Kandel, providing glimpses into the lives of the contributing poets. Each poet, including professionals like lawyers Victoria Bjorkland and Hank, a former pro football player for the New York Jets, introduces themselves through bios and delves into their unique perspectives on the world. John Lange, a self-proclaimed “professional philosopher,” contemplates ideology in “Litany in Praise of Ideology,” while Hank Bjorkland explores emotions in “Dear Fear” and pens an ode to the Blues.
Remembrance and Reflection
An addendum at the end pays tribute to two deceased class members, Jack B. Weinstein and Aaron Reisfeld, whose poems touch on themes of violence, war, and lifelong trauma. These posthumous contributions add depth to the anthology, providing a poignant reflection on life and its challenges.
Echoes of War and Pandemic
Despite the diverse backgrounds of the poets, certain themes resonate throughout the anthology. Meditations on war are prevalent, from John A. Valenti the 3rd’s “Get the Picture” to Gladys Thompson Roth’s “Lest We Forget.” The pandemic also surfaces in various poems, with George Pafitis addressing the social shift caused by COVID and Victoria Bjorklund exploring the work-from-home culture in “Zoom Attacks.” Surprisingly, penguins make amusing appearances in three different poems, showcasing the unexpected connections between disparate minds.
A Celebration of Diversity and Individuality
As a collection without a unifying theme, “13 Poets from Long Island” serves as a tangible celebration of Evelyn Kandel’s guidance and the individuality of each poet. Ranging from sing-songy rhymes to freeform reflections, the anthology offers a delightful mix of variety, playfulness, profound thoughts, and a generous dose of joy.
Publisher, Genre, Print Length, and ISBN
IndieBookView presents a critical review of “13 Poets from Long Island,” a poetry anthology edited by Evelyn Kandel. This eclectic collection explores a myriad of themes, blending good humor with the contemporary fears that define our present moment. Diverse Voices, Varied Topics “13 Poets from Long Island” stands out as the fourth poetry anthology from…