“PS3569.L3 confirms [Slavitt’s] reputation and virtuosity and stands as his most elegantly constructed book of poems thus far, opening doors that have been closed too long to much contemporary poetry. This is a book to cherish and admire.”—George Garrett
PS3569.L3, David R. Slavitt’s sixtieth book, is a collection of poems, translations, imitations, parodies, jeux de mots, and jeux d’esprit—work that ranges from grief-stricken brooding to exuberant clowning around. The odd title, for instance, is nothing more or less than the author’s Library of Congress identification, which he adopts now that it has adopted him. Few contemporary poets display his range of sensibility and response to the various occasions of chaotic existence in our time, and Slavitt offers us his reactions to those stresses and cultural shocks that have not so much engaged his attention as ambushed it. He writes poetry that ascends to Pindar and Meleager, or descends some traditional prosodic scale even to the point where it risks gibberish—or basks in it—and he makes no apology for this. As he writes in “The Art of Translation”:
Performance is, perforce, a misconstruction,
but better than none. As consonants drop away
the vowels will howl the same in your mouth or mine,
in a babe’s or sage’s: ooooh, eeeee, and aaaaah!
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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