presenting Who’s on First?: New and Selected Poems with an introduction by GAIL MAZUR
Harvard Book Store’s virtual event series welcomes LLOYD SCHWARTZ—acclaimed poet, scholar, and longtime classical music critic for NPR’s Fresh Air—for a discussion of his latest poetry collection, Who’s on First?: New and Selected Poems. He will be introduced by fellow poet GAIL MAZUR, author of They Can’t Take That Away from Me and Land’s End: New and Selected Poems.
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About Who’s on First?
For more than four decades, readers and critics have found Lloyd Schwartz’s poems unlike anyone else’s—a rare combination of the heartbreaking and the hilarious. With his ear for the poetry of the vernacular, Schwartz offers us a memorable cast of characters—both real and imagined, foolish and oracular. Readers experience his mother’s piercing flashes of memory, the perverse comic wisdom of Gracie Allen, the uninhibited yet loving exhibitionists of antique pornography, and eager travelers crossing America in a club-car or waiting in a Brazilian airport. Schwartz listens to these people without judging—understanding that they are all trying to live their lives, whenever possible, with tenderness, humor, and grace.
Who’s on First? brings together a selection of poems from all of Schwartz’s previous collections along with eagerly awaited new poems, highlighting his formal inventiveness in tangling and untangling the yarn of comedy and pathos. Underlying all of these poems is the question of what it takes and what it costs to make art.
Praise for Who’s on First?
“To read Schwartz’s poems is to hear voices. From his first book in 1981 to the striking new work, he plunges us into a phantasmagorical documentary. We become eavesdroppers and voyeurs of the whole human parade—desperate intimacies of parents and children, lovers, friends. His art finds its emblem in Titian’s Marsyas, the musician faun flayed alive by Apollo. In these severe poems, Schwartz is both sacrifice and sacrificer, forcing us to see into the heart of things.” —Rosanna Warren, author of So Forth
“In a series of stark, disarming poems about his mother’s dementia, Schwartz has given us a portrait of what another age would have called THE GOOD. They are collected here for the first time. You will never forget the best poems in this book.” —Frank Bidart, author of Half-Light