Synopses & Reviews
“Without a Claim
is a modern Book of Psalms. Indeed, the glory in these radiant sacred songs meld an art of high music with a nuanced love of the world unlike any weve heard before. No matter your mood upon entering this world youll soon be grateful, and enchanted. In any such house of praise, God herself must be grateful.” — Philip Schultz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Failure
and The God of Loneliness
Grace Schulman, who has been called “a vital and permanent poet” (Harold Bloom), makes new the life she finds in other cultures and in the distant past. In Without a Claim, she masterfully encompasses music, faith, art, and history. The title poem alludes to the Montauk sachem who sold land without any concept of rights to property, and meditates on our own notion of ownership: “No more than geese in flight, shadowing the lawn, / cries piercing wind, do we possess these fields, / given the title, never the dominion.” She traces the illusion of rights, from land to objects, from our loves to our very selves. Alternatively, she finds permanence in art, whether in galleries or on cave walls, and in music, whether in the concert hall, on the streets of New York, or in the waves at sea.
Here is a landmark collection celebrating the remarkable range of Maxine Kumin, one of America's greatest living poets. Where I Live gathers poems from five previous books, together with twenty-three new poems that pay homage to Kumin's farm life and also to poets of the past.
from "The Taste of Apple"
I could hardly see as he hoisted the great swaying body aloft
and bore it across the road to the hole and in the cold dark I poured
a libation of apple juice for the earth to welcome his corpse--
some drops spilled on his chestnut flank and some dribbled
on his cheek and splashed onto his yellow teeth as he lay
deep on one side and my hand shook--I could hardly see--
rocking my grief back and forth over this kind death
the taste of apple wasting in his mouth.
"The power that Kumin draws from and brings to literature is potent and seemingly inexhaustible."--
Grace Schulman, already known as "an elegiac, highly original religious lyricist" (Harold Bloom), elegantly weaves between generations and continents in her new collection.
About the Author
GRACE SCHULMAN is the author many acclaimed books of poetry, including Days of Wonder: New and Selected Poems, a Library Journal Best Book of the Year. For her poetry she has received a Guggenheim fellowship, the Aiken-Taylor Award, the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award, New York Universitys Distinguished Alumni Award, and three Pushcart prizes. Schulman is a distinguished professor of English at Baruch College, CUNY. She is a former director of the Poetry Center (1978-1984) and a former poetry editor of The Nation (1971-2006).
Table of Contents
The Sound 4
Moon Shell 8
Antiques Fair 9
Before the Fall 13
Variations on a Line by Whitman 15
Letter Never Sent 19
Poets Walk, Central Park Mall 23
Street Music, Astor Place 25
Woman on the Ceiling 27
My Fathers Watches 30
Charles Street Psalm 35
Walking to Elijah 37
Handels Messiah 46
The Last Crossing 50
At the Physical Therapists 52
In Praise of Shards 57
Love in the Afternoon 61
The Visit 63
Green River 68
Fools Gold 69
Abbaye de Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire 70
The Night Dancers 75
Cool Jazz 76
At the House of Jackson Pollock 77
God Bless the Child 81
The Printmaker 85
The Unbuilder 87