Earthling: Poems


Product Details

W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
5.4 X 0.4 X 8.0 inches | 0.31 pounds
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About the Author

James Longenbach is a poet, literary critic, and the Joseph Gilmore Professor of English at the University of Rochester. He is the author of five books of poems, most recently, Earthling, and eight critical works, most recently, The Virtues of Poetry and How Poems Get Made.


Longenbach's language remains sparse, calm, and graceful even as his poems confront the finiteness of individual human lives.
Longenbach gives his readers a route to follow, and its turns are precise.
Earthling is a gift--wise, aching, unafraid of pleasure and the less-than-pleasurable things that pleasure may commit us to. The whole thing is both grounded and airborne. A wonderful book.--Matthew Bevis
Earthling stuns me with its clarities, it fascinates me to no end. Is it Longenbach's passionate precision? Is it his absolute unmixed attentiveness that's akin to prayer? To my mind, Earthling is far more than just another brilliant, elegant book of verse: this is elegance at the edge of the abyss. This is a human voice that has come to the middle of life's desert to find that "In the middle of the desert / you might be anyone." Longenbach finds here the crystalline, transformative, pure pitch of a lyric poet: his voice in this book becomes any earthling's voice. How does he do it? How does he give clarity to the human in us? In another century people used to call this effect visionary work: the poetry of a true mystic.--Ilya Kaminsky