The Other Man Was Me: A Voyage To The New World

Winner of the National Poetry Series open competition, this is an enigma-as all prize-winning works should be. Campo is simultaneously a new-formalist poet, a physician, gay, and Hispanic, and he makes the combination work, without compromising any aspect. Many poems rhyme, and all lines begin with capital letters. A poem early in the collection opens: “A sonnet? Tension. Words withheld.” In the remaining pages, Campo addresses a male genealogy-grandfather, father, lover, (imaginary) son-in tight 16-line poem sequences. Particularly in these sequential poems, he skillfully uses repetition to locate, or transfer, objects and emotions. Many poems humorously triumph over depressing subject matter; there’s a court jester who sleeps with the king after the queen’s death and a vividly depicted hospital in which AIDS is cured (free of charge). For most collections.

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Selected by

Gloria Vando