“Pulse of Poetics: An Anthology of the Evolution of Poetic Form” by Joseph Labriola, is a well concocted, meaningful poetry anthology with universal themes that will tug at the heartstrings of anyone able to relate to the selected poems. With topics such as politics, vice, art and war, the poems explore these themes’ wide-reaching and global effects.
The book opens with the colorful character Wilson Von Baron, an Oxford professor, publisher and world-renowned anthropologist who represents the curiosity for studying human culture. Labriola is a MFA graduate student at Stony Brook University, and he created Von Baron to be a strong, culturally savvy character as the driving force behind his global anthology.
To catch a glimpse into the art expression, graffiti and its unnamed unique messages that plague the buildings of New York, read “Times Children” by Anonymous, which alludes to the American dream and the struggle to have a taste of living it.
One of the book’s interesting poems is written by Stony Brook University alumna, Lillian McKenzie, titled “With the Flow.” Labriola expressed his interest in McKenzie, the former English major turned biology major, and the twist that her work brings to the collection.
Each page has an interesting beginning with a background of the authors of each poem, and this is the exact intention of Labriola. He set each theme up in a way that is extremely relatable and relevant to the time that readers are living in, “I wanted poems that explore real world issues as well as reflect their author’s voice and motivation for writing their work.”
“The River of Styx” by Bernard Gates will open the reader up what it is like to be so close to danger and its complexities with themes reminiscent of the Cold War and Homer’s “Iliad.”
Globalization is responsible for the opportunity to experience the work of !Kuna Ka!bae (the ! represents a clicking sound used in his tribe’s speech) of the Kung Bushmen in “To the Reborn Moon.” Labriola gives credit to !Kuna Ka!bae, but this song is performed by his entire Bushmen tribe. Ka!bae’s appreciation for nature and life on earth is a lot to take in. It is amazing how Ka!bae explains the patterns of the moon with so much conviction. “The moon has many such colors, dark and light, small circles, big shadows,” Ka!bae says. “The moon gives us no pattern other than its full picture.”
What Labriola tries to convey in this compilation—the culmination of years of novel writing and countless, determined edits—is strikingly vivid, and makes connections with readers.
“I’m very happy with the work I’ve produced. It’s probably the published work that I’m the most proud of so far in my writing career, and the fact that those who read it are convinced and entertained by my authors’ biographies and their poems, makes me all the more happy with all of the work that I put into the anthology,” Labriola said.