Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Crossing State Lines

Crossing State Lines

An American Renga

Edited by Bob Holman and Carol Muske-Dukes

Farrar, Straus and Giroux


Trade Paperback

A collaborative poem about America, from fifty-four of our best poets

Crossing State Lines: An American Renga is a poetic relay race across the continent: fifty-four poets responding to ideas of America—and to each other. This is a collaborative journey of impressions—from the election and inauguration of President Obama, through foreclosures, job losses, chords of country music, and bombs in Baghdad, to a poet-soldier's rifle-sight in Afghanistan.

The renga itself, in the ancient tradition of Japanese linked verse, provides the form of this historic conversation among the poets, as they meditate, within ten lines, on a moment in America. Crossing State Lines begins with Robert Pinsky's recounting of a line of poetry by Lincoln as fall deepens and "maples / kindle in the East," and ends some five hundred lines later, with Robert Hass's "greeny April" on the Pacific coast.

All proceeds from sales go to America: Now and Here.


Praise for Crossing State Lines

Crossing State Lines: An American Renga . . . [is] a fascinating book . . . As it turns out, the renga is a surprisingly appropriate genre for America--its lower 48 states are themselves a kind of chain poem, connecting and referencing each other in literal and metaphorical ways. Crossing State Lines goes after these links on formal and thematic levels . . . The strength of the book is the diversity of voices. Between the same covers you find a poet like Rae Armantrout snuggling up to Nicole Cooley and Billy Collins poetically spooning Rita Dove. Anne Waldman rolls over to find Vijay Seshadri alongside Marilyn Hacker. There is a fantastic foursome of David St. John, Marie Howe, C. K. Williams, and Heather McHugh--sort of a paginated Bob, Carol, Ted, and Alice. Since most of the poets incorporate a line or a trope from the previous poem into their own, this lyrical interlacing gets accentuated in pleasing (and surprising) ways . . . If Crossing State Lines has a theme, it's probably just that--motion. Movement. Crossing. Changing. Even the final poem by Robert Hass, which I will not give away, turns on the whole notion of turning. Where are we going? What are we pivoting toward? What, exactly, are we turning in to? This collection does a fantastic job of exploring these questions on poetic, cultural, and national levels.” —Dean Rader, The Rumpus

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Edited by Bob Holman and Carol Muske-Dukes

The renga was overseen by BOB HOLMAN and CAROL MUSKE-DUKES, co-curators of the poetry stream of America: Now and Here, which is bringing art and artists to large and small communities across America.

Bob Holman

Carol Muske-Dukes

From the Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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