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Left-Handed (Borzoi Books)by Jonathan Galassi
Synopses & Reviews
An emotionally riveting collection that tells a powerful story of passion, loss, and transformation.
Left-handed unfolds in the manner of an intense, searching novella. At its center is a one-way dialogue with an elusive character who beguiles and torments but also inspires the unnamed narrator, who at midlife is telling the tale.
These poems—decisive, wrenching, exquisite—show an overpowering force, at once disruptive and creative, invading a settled existence. They take us from the streets of New York City to a house in the country, from the island of Naxos to the Roman Forum. They reach back to the sonnets of Shakespeare but find inspiration, too, in contemporary life. Naked and raw, lyrical yet formally inventive, rich with the melancholy wisdom of age, this is a work of resonant and shimmering beauty.
"FSG president and noted translator Galassi, in his third collection of poems, tells a tale of love — and a lifestyle — ended and new love and life found. The four-line poem 'Young' sums up the heterosexual life left behind: 'I tried, and each attempt was a fiasco./ I yearned, but every love of mine was wrong./ I needed, and the shame was overwhelming./ I failed, and so I hated being young.' With a light touch reminiscent of James Schuyler, Galassi's speaker free-associates his way down the page and deeper into his anxieties, addressing one or more unnamed beloveds, as in 'The Scarf': 'When or if you wear/ your Loro Piana scarf/ the one I gave you/ once upon a time why/ does it have to sit so/ heavy on your shoul-/ ders?' The poems ache with grief and guilt — and difficult acceptance — over the wife and family left: 'your neck your back your voice/ your neck your back the tears/ the girls the life I left the lost/ life all of it was ours is ours/ was ours is ours was.' Passing through this guilt, the poems emerge in celebrations of new love and Eros: 'You are toffee, you are sand in sunlight/ you are handsome, winsome, bright and lithe....' Galassi's poems are first and foremost vulnerable, and many will find this book, which reads not unlike a novel, startling." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
An elegant, emotionally riveting collection--his first in a decade--by the acclaimed poet, translator, and publisher: fifty poems that tell a powerful story of passion, loss, and transformation.
Left-Handed unfolds in the manner of an intense, searching novella: as a marriage breaks apart, a new self and new love are born. These decisive, wrenching poems take us from the streets of New York City to a house in the country, from the island of Naxos to the Roman Forum, reaching back to the sonnets of Shakespeare but finding inspiration, too, in contemporary life. Naked and raw, lyrical and formally inventive, rich with the melancholy knowledge of age, this is a work of resonant and memorable beauty.
About the Author
Jonathan Galassi is the author of two previous collections of poetry, Morning Run and North Street. He has also published translations of the work of the Italian poets Eugenio Montale and Giacomo Leopardi. A former Guggenheim Fellow, he was poetry editor of The Paris Review and currently serves as Honorary Chairman of the Academy of American Poets. He lives in New York City.
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