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Songs of Imperfection
Imprint: Anvil Press Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (96 pages)
(Pub. Oct 2004)
Many tensions are at work in the playfully unconstrained poems of Stanley Moss: ordinary and mythical lives, the political and the personal, high art and low comedy intermingle, achieving an effect that is often surreal and always striking. Here God and Death are not matters for detached speculation but constant and vivid presences, whether centre-stage or waiting in the wings. An engagement with history is brought to bear on legend and on current affairs: a poem addressing 9/11 summons up the figure of Walt Whitman, whose exuberance and resolute faith in humanity Moss echoes throughout the book. Serious and optimistic, light and dark, Songs of Imperfection is an uplifting and celebratory book.
Praise for Stanley Moss 'Magisterial... God Breaketh Not All Men's Hearts Alike is magnificent. I've read it several times with greater and greater pleasure. Its verbal generosity and bravura, its humanity, the quality and quantity of information which it integrates into poetry of the highest order make it a continuing delight.'
Marilyn Hacker ''Death is a many-colored harlequin', asserts Stanley Moss on his 92nd birthday. Undaunted, outrageously alive, Moss in these poems flaunts more colors than the Grim Reaper ever dreamed of, laughs in his face, rhymes with abandon, makes a joyful noise unto the Lord, and struts with Baudelaire. This is a book to hold onto for dear life.'
Rosanna Warren 'Moss is the kind of poet who tries to find words that help us live, that tell us directly how to laugh down folly or take courage.'
New York Times reviews US edition of Almost Complete Poems 'Unthinkable questions [...], but when he formulates them they take on the quiet urgency of common daylight.'
John Ashbery 'It is time to celebrate the singular beauty and power of Stanley Mossâs poetryâ¦ The damp genius of mortality presides.'
Stanley Kunitz 'Again and again, coming upon a poem of Stanley Mossâs, I have had the feeling of being taken by surprise. Not simply by the eloquence or the direct authenticity of the language, for I had come to expect those in his poems. The surprise arose from the nature of his poetry itself, and from the mystery that his poems confront and embody, which makes them both intense and memorable.'
W.S. Merwin 'This is a book made of experience and high intellect. ... these poems curse and sing about the blessings and tragedies of personal life ... an important, gutsy collection.'
Yusef Komunyakaa 'I've loved Stanley's poems since I first encountered a poem of his in Poetry magazine in John Berrymanâs office when I was nineteen.'
W. S. Merwin
'Unthinkable questions, but when he formulates them they take on the quiet urgency of common daylight.'
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