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Volume 35.3
Autumn 2004


book review

an/thology of pwoermds, edited by Geof Huth


Reviewed by Charles Trumbull

an/thology of pwoermds, edited by Geof Huth (Port Charlotte, Fla.: Runaway Spoon Press, 2004). 104 pages; 5.5 x 8; paperback, perfectbound. ISBN: 1-57141-065-1. $10.00 from the publisher at 1708 Hayworth Road, Port Charlotte, FL 33952.

pwoermd /pwcrmd/ n [coined by Geof Huth 1987]; < interweaving of poem + word] a one-word poem, often a neologism, presented without a separate title
(from the introduction)

You may approach this little book with some skepticism—I did—but by the time you finish the introduction you will not only understand what the author is getting at with his strange construction “pwoermd,” but also have a bit of the history of minimalist poetry and even, believe it or not, learn about the political flap that was touched off by one classic pwoermd. You will likely have become a believer in the form, and your appetite will be tweaked for more. Here a sampling of four that explore the possibilities of single-word poetry from different angles:


Nicholas A. Virgilio


Cor van den Heuvel


Karl Kempton

Many pwoermdsmiths are also haiku poets, and readers of Modern Haiku will recognize the names of other prominent pwoermd creators such as Emily Romano, George Swede, and Peggy Willis Lyles. Indeed, editor Bob Spiess was a great fan of poetical wordplay, and in the 1980s and ’90s he published dozens of them.

Aside from being fun, this book is intellectually stimulating and confronts the question, what is art? Production is first-rate, and the bibliography is a plus.



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