Poetry. A reprinted edition of the celebrated 1987 Penguin edition (a collection) by the 1985 winner of the Academy of American Poets Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award. “Blumenthal’s new collection moves surely through the contradictions implied by its title. Belonging to the “central” modernist tradition of Wallace Stevens and informed by both wit and intelligence, the poems take us through a variety of topics and moods without losing sight of the book’s pivotal experience, a divorce. Urbane, sophisticated, sometimes self-deprecatory, Blumenthal sustains an observant distance, which only emphasizes the romantic yearning underlying the book’s theme. The best poems work well, arching toward an ethereal, metaphysical tone, as in these lines from the title poem: “and when life turns its dimmed lights up/ once again and the theater empties,/ they find the stranger love always delivers up.” Other poems feel like exercises, but Blumenthal’s voice is growing more authentic” – Ivan Arguelles, Univ. of California at Berkeley, Library Journal
Michael Blumenthal holds the Darden Distinguished Endowed Chair in Creative Writing at Old Dominion University. He is author of eight other poetry books, one novel, one memoir, an essay collection, and translations of poems by Peter Kantor. Publications include The New Yorker, and Paris Review. A graduate of Cornell Law School and formerly Director of Creative Writing at Harvard, he is the author of No Hurry: Poems 2000-2012 (Etruscan Press). the memoir All My Mothers and Fathers (Harper Collins, 2002), and of Dusty Angel (BOA Editions, 1999), which won the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award. His collection of essays from Central Europe, When History Enters the House, was published in 1998. A frequent translator from German, French and Hungarian, he practices psychotherapy with Anglophone expatriates in Budapest and spends summers at his house in a small village near the shores of Lake Balaton in Hungary. In May of 2007, he spent a month in South Africa working with orphaned infant chacma baboons at the C.A.R.E. foundation in Phalaborwa, an experience about which he has written for Natural History and The Washington Post Magazine. He is currently a Visiting Professor of Law at the West Virginia University College of Law, where he has taught since 2009.
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More on Blumenthal~
“I write poetry,” Blumenthal once commented, “quite unashamedly, because I believe, as Howard Nemerov has said, that ‘the beautiful is still among the possible,’ and that it redeems us…”
“Vendler pointed out that while Blumenthal’s subjects, such as the Holocaust or mental doubt, might be termed “tragic,” the approach he takes in his poetry creates “poems exhilarating to read, full of lifts and turbulence.” Blumenthal’s later books have also been praised for their gentle wit and penetrating insight.”