90 pages, $15
Review by Stanton Hancock
In Amulet, Jason Bayani issues a loud and defiant declaration that he has come to claim his place amongst the ranks of the best modern poets. While his credentials alone are impressive – he has an MFA in creative writing from St. Mary’s College, he’s a Kundiman Fellow, and he’s a co-founder of the Asian American spoken word collective Proletariat Bronze – it’s the startling power contained within the pages of Amulet that serve to stake his claim.
Bayani covers so much poetic ground in his first collection that it is startling to reach the last page and realize that it clocks in at less than 100 pages. After my first read-through, I was sure I had read a much longer book based purely upon the multitude of stylistic choices Bayani makes throughout the book. While the use of many disparate styles can sometimes cause a collection to lack cohesion, Amulet does not suffer from this problem. In fact, the strength of Bayani’s voice envelops these pages and gives the reader a sense that the many various styles do not reflect a lack of direction but rather a poet sharing the many facets of his personality. Continue reading