Drastic Dislocations (Paperback)
New and Selected Poems
NYQ Books, 9781935520436, 226pp.
Publication Date: February 15, 2012
-Drastic Dislocations- is the title poem of the section of new poems in this SELECTED POEMS by Barry Wallenstein, and this title is consistent with many of his concerns registered in the poetry he began writing in his teens. His first publications were in the old TRANSATLANTIC REVIEW in 1964, but it wasn't until 1977 that BOA Editions published his first book of poems, BEAST IS A WOLF WITH BROWN FIRE. This new volume includes the author's choices from each of his six previous books, poems reflecting the socio-political life of the time as well as the perennial, transcendent themes of eros and thanatos. For the past 40 years this poet, who was also a professor of modern poetry at the City University of New York for that many years, has worked closely with jazz artists in the performance and recording of his work. The late poet William Matthews noted about Wallenstein's poetry, -There is an off-handed canniness of phrasing about these poems, a way of registering both emotional freight and the time it takes to carry it, that identifies a Barry Wallenstein poem right away. It's a tribute, I suspect, to his lifelong love of jazz, and the source of both jazz and poetry, the syncopated heart.- Another poet, Alicia Ostriker said, -Barry Wallenstein's voice is unique in American poetry: magic, seductive, cryptic, more than a little frightening, as if some perfume from the Les Fleurs du Mal clung to its overtones.- As if extending this observation, the poet and critic, M. L. Rosenthal wrote about this poetry, - it's] a pure distillation, vivid, buoyant, and serious. What it distills is the whole psyche of an illusionless dreamer, a man of the present moment, very American yet a blood-brother to modern Mediterranean poets as well.-