Ysabel de la Rosa reviews Alphabet of Love

Alphabet of Love Bart Edelman. Red Hen (CDC, dist.), $9.95 (72p) ISBN 1-888996-09-9

For some months, I have been intending to post a brief review of poet Bart Edelman’s book, The Alphabet of Love, published by Red Hen Press. The book was published in 1999. It was new to me, however, in 2006. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Edelman’s poetry moves lightly, lines flowing quickly into each other, touching depths without getting mired in same. There is humor here, too, seen most clearly perhaps in the opening poem for which the collection is named:

“A adores B,

But B is enamored of C,

C suffers terribly

From a protracted divorce with D

And won’t get involved with anyone now;

However, C thinks E is fun

To help break the weekend monotony.

E seems mixed up

And fell for F

Last month at a dance ranch . . . . “

And on it goes all the way to Z and a classic “If only . . . . ” that brings the poem full circle.

Edelman’s technique is admirable. His lines are honed. He handles rhyme and rhythm with subtlety and skill. No prose masquerading as poetry here.