Allan Peterson's "Anonymous Or" wins the
2001 Defined Providence Press Book Competition
Here's the judge's commentary that will appear on the cover of Anonymous Or.
Allan Peterson has accomplished that rare thing; he has learned how to enter "the uneasy feudal kingdoms of the mind," and track the tactile elements of his own thought. And his epistemological mind is drawn toward the mirage of identity and self; the fleeting, inconclusive passage of human existence; the violent unknowability of history; the inescapable facts and lessons of science; the tenuous rotation of planets; the insouciance and freedom of the natural kingdom; the momentary grounding in physical love. Peterson is not a poet terribly at home on earthfor he experiences life as organized chaos without the assurances of final truth. Yet out of his restlessness and search for "knowing," he creates a language infused with invention and surprise, delight and disharmony all cast in a tough and tender compression that gives Anonymous Or a verbal velocity that feels utterly fresh and original, apocalpytic and personand impressively new in American poetry. Never a dispassionate, painterly observer, Peterson aims to sort out what living here means, but he won't settle for easy comforts, glib answers, headlines, sermons. In other words, he is very much a poet of his time who is needed in this long global hour of transitions. Read one poem in this remarkable debut collection and you'll ask yourself, "Where did this poet come from?" "Where is he going?" "Could I spend a few minutes talking to him about what he knows?"
-J.P. White, author of "In Pursuit of Wings;" "The Salt Hour;" "The Pomegranate Tree Speaks from the Dictator's Garden."