“My Next Heart: New Buffalo Poetry" edited by Noah Falck and Justin Karcher, BlazeVOX Books, 187 pages, $18 paper.
R.D. Pohl, the longtime poetry editor of the Buffalo News, describes this as “the ‘go-to’ collection for a sampler of the next generation of Buffalo poets.” In other words, it’s an anthology of 54 poets ages 16 to 40, who were all either born in Buffalo or have spent long portions of their lives here.
Editors Noah Falck and Justin Karcher, in their introduction, call it a “a single sea-surge of a thousand different pulses. It is a community of communities.”
The poems within, they say, “capture the energy and creative output from the city’s thriving slam, alt-lit, spoken word, language poetry, academic and publishing communities ... [the poets within] trade places and ideas, share stages and projects and support each other’s endeavors.”
Which would be good news even if there weren’t so many fascinating poets included to show how they all do just that. These poems, say the editors, aren’t just “anti-depressants or antidotes for the tough times we live in” because “ the times have always been tough. Poetry is the one constant we turn to when we feel our own backs up against the wall.”
Descriptions of the poets included are altogether marvelous. Marina Blitshteyn, for instance, was born in the Soviet Union while Benjamin Brindice, we’re told “strives to be the Swiss Army Knife of Poets.” Max Crinnin wants to be known as a “bedroom song and dance man” and teenage writer Sage Enderton, currently attends City Honors. Julio Montalvo Valentin’s “Five Worst States to Live In” in its entirety: “Poetry/Oppression/Depression/Confusion/United.”
Mathew Bosque asks us to consider the combination of Cubism and Hip-Hop and says “this isn’t the story about the ghetto anymore/It’s about America/It’s about guns in America/It’s about bloodshed in America/It’s about piles of bodies and bodies being rearranged into abstract art” by a culture split in half."
Bosque is a senior English major at UB. His biography tells us “his interests include comic books, poetry, Puerto Rico and Hugo from the hit television series ‘Lost.’”