The Poems Of Charles Reznikoff: 1918-1975

Title

The Poems Of Charles Reznikoff: 1918-1975

Department

English

Document Type

Book

Files

Description

Charles Reznikoff (1894-1976), the son of Russian garment workers, was an American original: a blood-and-bone New Yorker, a collector of images and stories who walked the city from the Bronx to the Battery and breathed the soul of the Jewish immigrant experience into a lifetime of poetry. He wrote personal memoirs, family history, and tenement tales in verse. He wrote narrative poems based on Old Testament sources. Above all, he wrote spare, intensely visual, epigrammatic poems, a kind of urban haiku. The language of these short poems is as plain as bread and salt, their imagery as crisp and unambiguous as a Charles Sheeler photograph. But their meaning is only hinted at: it is there in the selection of details, and in the music of the verse. Reznikoff was sincere and objective, a poet of great feeling who strove to honor the world by describing it precisely. He also strove to keep his feelings out of his poetry. He did not confess, he did not pose, he did not cultivate a myth of himself. Instead he created art-an unadorned art in praise of the world that God and men have made-and invited readers to bring their own feelings to it. In an age of ephemera, of first drafts rushed into print and soon forgotten, Reznikoff's poetry is a sturdy, well-wrought thing-"a girder, still itself / among the rubble." A timeless testament-impersonal, incorruptible, undeniably American-it will survive every change in literary fashion. Book jacket.

ISBN

1574232045

Publication Date

11-30-2005

Publisher

David R. Godine

City

Boston

Citation for published book

Reznikoff, Charles, and Seamus Cooney. The Poems of Charles Reznikoff: 1918-1975. Boston: David R. Godine, 2005. Print.