A selection of recent work as well as the best from thirteen volumes of poetry published across four decades, Change of Address highlights the magnitude and scope of David Slavitt's poetic achievement. Meditating on both the quotidian and the sublime and ranging from brilliant satire to tender elegy, this retrospective collection brings into sharp relief Slavitt's intelligence, strength of voice, and ease in varied poetic forms. From the beginning of his career, Slavitt has displayed a rare technical virtuosity, and his verse has long confronted—with urbanity and poise—questions of love, grief, loss, and death. Though he is an exuberantly playful poet, his gamesmanship is earnest, toying wisely and bravely with the largest experiences of joy and heartbreak. And his gestures, while seemingly effortless, are carefully considered. The result is a body of poetry that haunts us as only the best literature can.
A splendid capstone to Slavitt's copious output, Change of Address grants readers access to the extraordinary spectrum of his poetry in a single volume.
body betrays, and even a mind can rebel,
but against what? What remains? Slowly but surely,
we are forced to suppose a soul, which serves us well,
while we serve it unfaithfully and impurely.
Infinitely regressive? Or merely shy?
Call it what watches, suffers, and remains
our subject/object, despite whatever pains
we may impose upon it, an inner I.
Or is it a mere fiction that one may admit
as useful or even necessary? Its truth
is theoretical, a series, a trend,
almost algebraic: and one conjures it
from the motes that fly in the thin air of his youth
to create the granite block that marks his end.
David R. Slavitt has published more than one hundred books, including The Seven Deadly Sins and Other Poems, Change of Address, and William Henry Harrison and Other Poems. Born in White Plains, New York, and educated at Andover, Yale, and Columbia, Slavitt has worked at Newsweek and has taught at Temple University, Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Bennington College.
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