Outlaw Poetry?

How to keep poetrys wild frontier wild

They say that anyone who would refer to himself as a Buddhist most likely ain't. Certainly one should be wary of anyone labeling themselves an "outlaw." The world—racked by pain and violence—has no need of media-created "revolutionaries." It needs the real deal, poets who can look a country's demons straight in the eye, like Boston's Patricia Smith, an African-American who tries to see racism from the inside in her poem "Skinhead."

"I come off looking like I'm Hitler himself," she writes, taking on the monstrous persona of her subject. "I ain't that lucky,/but I got my own beauty./It is in my steel-toed boots,/in the hard corners of my shaved head."

Of this sort of true outlaw, The Outlaw Bible has several.

The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, edited by Alan Kaufman & S.A. Griffin; Thunder's Mouth Press. 685 pages. $24.95 softcover.

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