Margot Mifflin
January 17, 1992 AT 05:00 AM EST

Out of This World: The Poetry Project at the St. Mark's Church

Current Status
In Season
Anne Waldman
Poetry, Nonfiction

We gave it an B

For 25 years, the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church in New York City has been fertile ground for writers from Ted Berrigan to Lou Reed to Lynne Tillman. The commemorative anthology Out of This World: The Poetry Project at the St. Mark’s Church, culled mainly from the Project magazine, The World, includes diary entries, lyrics, monologues, and translations, along with poetry that ranges from the sublime to the abysmal. Poets Kenneth Koch and John Ashbery match wits in a curmudgeonly dialogue about artistic ambiguity; writer Mary Caponegro weighs in with a captivating folktale, and storyteller Barry Yourgrau spins a charmingly macabre yarn about a family’s dead cousin come to life. The Poetry Project was inspired by the Beat era, and there, in many ways, it remains: Allen Ginsberg, who wrote the foreword to Out of This World, has evidently influenced far too many poets who’ve traded ands for ampersands and artlessly borrowed his telegrammatic style. Their work adds a hackneyed feel to an otherwise vibrant collection. B

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