With a poet's eye for language and nuance, Lehman takes a personal journey into the past of American music, showing how the songs that we view as quintessentially American were almost all written by Jews, many of them immigrants. Recounting the stories behind numerous songs and shows, the author explains how Jewish songsmiths combined their native plaintiveness and wit with Black blues to create a distinctively American musical form. With analytical skill, wit, and exuberance, Lehman helps readers understand how natural it is that Wizard of Oz composer Harold Arlen was the son of a cantor who incorporated "Over the Rainbow" into his Sabbath liturgy Annotation c2010 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
A prose poem is a poem written in prose rather than verse. But what does that really mean? Is it an indefinable hybrid? An anomaly in the history of poetry? Are the very words "prose poem" an oxymoron? This groundbreaking anthology edited by celebrated poet David Lehman, editor of The Best American Poetry series, traces the form in all its dazzling variety from Poe and Emerson to Auden and Ashbery and on, right up to the present. In his brilliant and lucid introduction, Lehman explains that a prose poem can make use of all the strategies and tactics of poetry, but works in sentences rather than lines. He also summarizes the prose poem's French heritage, its history in the United States, and the salient differences between verse and prose. Arranged chronologically to allow readers to trace the gradual development of this hybrid genre, the poems anthologized here include important works from such masters of American literature as Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, e. e. cummings, Hart Crane, Ernest Hemingway, James Schuyler, Allen Ginsberg, Frank O'Hara, and Elizabeth Bishop. Contemporary mainstays and emerging poets -- Robert Bly, John Ashbery, Charles Simic, Billy Collins, Russell Edson, James Tate, Anne Carson, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Lydia Davis, among them -- are represented with their best work in the field. The prose poem is beginning to enjoy a tremendous upswing in popularity. Readers of this marvelous collection, a must-have for anyone interested in the current state of the art, will learn why.
The story of how four young poets reinvented literature and turned New York into the art capital of the world. A richly detailed portrait of one of the great movements in American arts and letters, the book covers the years 1948-1966 and focuses on four fast poet friends Lehman brings to vivid life the extraordinary creative ferment of the time and place and the powerful influence that a group of visual artists had on the literary efforts of the New York School.
A major collection of poems from one of our most accomplished poets, the prominent man of letters behind The Best American Poetry series.Drawing from a wealth of material produced over the course of more than forty years, David Lehman's New and Selected Poems displays the remarkable range of his poetic genius. From the beginning Lehman has combined the traditional with the experimental, intellect with passion, creating a singular body of work in a manner all his own. Beginning with a selection of compelling new poems that feature the poet's customary wit and ingenuity and add a layer of surprise and suspense, the book follows with carefully selected pieces from Lehman's seven full-length books of poetry since 1986: Yeshiva Boys (2009), When a Woman Loves a Man (2005), The Evening Sun (2002), The Daily Mirror: A Journal in Poetry (2000), Valentine Place (1996), Operation Memory (1990), and An Alternative to Speech (1986). A group of uncollected works, including hard-to find early poems from the late 1960s and 1970s, rounds out the volume. These are poems that captivate as they stimulate thought, poems that capture the romance, irony, and pathos of love, and poems that are lyrical and lovely in unexpected, sometimes even comic ways. A master of his craft, Lehman is as fluent in the prose poem as in the sonnet, the sestina, the villanelle, and verse forms of his own invention. He departs from autobiography not only in fictional forays but in poems that ponder the lives of World Historical Individuals (Napoleon, Wittgenstein, Freud), the persistence of ancient myths in modern life, the mysteries of love and desire, and his own heritage as the son of Holocaust refugees. Lehman's poems are dazzling in their evocation of the recent past. As Mary Jo Bang has written, "the whole of a world is here, and the remnants of an era--from Dinah Shore to Bob Dylan, from Hitler to Nixon." This is as inspiring and thought-provoking and beautiful a book as any David Lehman has written.
These poems capture the romance, irony, and pathos of love; they movingly chronicle days in post-9/11 New York and bring a fresh perspective to an array of subjects -- from the Brooklyn Bridge to Gertrude Stein to Buddhism. When a Woman Loves a Man is playful, inventive, and as amusing as it is clever; it is the work of a poet at the height of his lyrical and reflective powers.
David Lehman, a poet of wit, ingenuity, and formidable skill, draws upon his heritage as a grandson of Holocaust victims and offers a stirring autobiographical collection of poems that is his most ambitious work to date. It covers an expansive range of subjects -- from love, sex, and romance to repentance, humility, the meaning of democracy, Existentialism, modern European history, military intelligence, and the rituals associated with faith and prayer. The title poem, "Yeshiva Boys," is a work in twelve parts that blends the elements of espionage fiction, memory, history, and moral philosophy. It reflects David's experience as a student in an orthodox Yeshiva, and it, along with many other poems in the book, explores what it means to be a Jew in America, what is gained and lost in assimilating to secular culture, how to understand the peculiar destiny of the Jewish people, and how to reconcile the existence of God with the knowledge of evil. Beautiful, provocative, and accessible, this is David Lehman's most inspired collection.
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