“Possessions” Poems in American Poetry

“Possessions” Poems in American Poetry

“Possessions” Poems in American Poetry

At first glance, it’s easy to think that Alan Botsford’s “Possessions” is simply yet another poetry anthology.

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Poems in American Poetry

By Alan Botsford

322 pages

ISBN: 978-81-8253-673-9


Copyright 2022


Review by LB Sedlacek


At first glance, it’s easy to think that Alan Botsford’s “Possessions” is simply yet another poetry anthology.  It is anything but that.He takes a rather unique delight instead in writing poems about or to American poets.  It truly makes this an unforgettable book, especially if you enjoy reading poetry. 

Botsford includes historic to modern poets in these poems.  He has put together an impressive list of poets to write about.

His poetry is smart and sophisticated.  He has a superb way in writing in a truly original voice.  This book seems destined to become a must-have for poetry lovers, and/or on any list for poetry students to read. 

Each poem has a good pace.  Even if you aren’t familiar with each of the poets his poems are about you can very much get an idea of who they were and/or of the way they wrote their own poems. 

From one of his introductory poems: 

“The hatred of poetry”:
—after Ben Lerner
“There is no poem better /
than the one not written, /
especially by yours truly— /
a poet by any other name. /
But who dares to call herself /
poet, in this or any age?”

If you haven’t read Ben Lerner’s book, go grab yourself a copy after you read this one.  This poem written about Lerner’s book is a celebration of poetry and poets.  It’s almost an encouraging word to get folks to actually read poetry. 

The book is broken out into seven sections including a Prologue and Epilogue.  Botsford begins with classical poets moving on up to more modern day poets with each section and set of poems.  It’s almost like going on a poetry walk, but in a book, and discovering how he’s going to approach each poet in his poem. 

From the poem:

“Hart Crane”:

“I see the warmth instilled in me /
as blatant commodity /
for which dour sea-change absolves /
the lover’s taranquity.”

If you’ve read any of Hart Crane’s poetry, you can almost imagine his words flowing on these pages.  Botsford is really able to capture what he perceives as to the writing style of each of these poets.

From the poem:

“Mary Oliver”:


she addresses her Muse /
Through your eyes and ears, Poet, /
I dance on the shore of timelessness. /
Through your voice I travel /
the seas of eternity and death /
is but a diversion at dawn. /
Through your words I come /
to my senses pure as fine-spun gold.”

Botsford turns language into script.  He unleashes a poet’s world of imagination within these pages. 


~LB Sedlacek’s latest poetry book is “Ghost Policy.”  She is also the author of the poetry collections “I’m No ROBOT,” “Simultaneous Submissions,” “Swim,” “Words and Bones,” and “The Poet Next Door.”  Her non-fiction books include “The Poet Protection Plan,” “The Traveling Postcard,” and “Electric Melt.”  Her short story collection is entitled “Four Thieves of Vinegar & Other Short Stories.”  www.lbsedlacek.com