Reviews

“Here is a mind operating in open air, unimpeded by fashion or forced thematic focus, profoundly catholic in perspective, at once accessible and erudite, inevitably compelling. All of which is to recommend Moss’s ability to participate in and control thoroughly these poems while resisting the impulse to center himself in them. This differentiates this compelling work from much contemporary breast-beating. Moss is an artist who embraces the possibilities of exultation, appreciation, reconciliation, of extreme tenderness. As such, he lays down a commitment to a common, worldly morality toward which all beings gravitate.”
—G.E. MURRAY, AMERICAN BOOK REVIEW

“These are poems meant to be read aloud, poems full of echoing shadows, intertwined lives, doubts that must be dealt with…Stanley Moss is now a marked man; he has already made a number of poems that challenge the very best.”
—DAN JAFFE, SATURDAY REVIEW

“To re-assert a Rimbaldian alchimie du verbe is one thing, to deliver the promise of its ‘hidden miracles’ is another, but Moss knows where to search. His work ranges from Beijing to New York, ancient Greece to modern Italy, from the Jerusalem of the Arabs to the Jerusalem of the Jews. Each site has its rich, troubled language, resources for Moss, who finds America in a swarm of butterflies and God in a bath-tub. This is not to say anything goes; the poet’s own baroque language is intricate and resolutely historical. When the ‘hidden miracle’ is unearthed, it emerges as a tentative credo: ‘I believe poetry, / like kindness changes the world, a little.’”
—LAWRENCE NORFOLK, TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

“It’s a bit hard to understand why Stanley Moss is not more famous…As neither a sentimentalist nor an ironist but a Shelleyan humanist, Stanley Moss deserves much more critical attention.”
—J.T. BARBARESE, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“One thinks of Auden, Roethke, Berryman, Amichai. It is in this distinguished company that Stanley Moss belongs… In the complex landscape of contemporary poetry we often are asked to choose between profound engagement and satirical bite. It’s a pleasure to read a poet who refuses to choose, who solders the one to the other, often in the same poem.”
THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE

“Moss is oceanic: his poems rise, crest, crash, and rise again like waves. [His] voice echoes the boom of the Old Testament, the fluty trill of Greek mythology, and the gongs of Chinese rituals as he writes about love, nature, war, oppression, and the miracle of language. He addresses the God of the Jews, of the Christians, and of the Moslems with awe and familiarity, and chants to lesser gods of his own invention, such as the ‘God of paper and writing,’ with jocosity and gratitude… In every surprising poem, every song to life, beautiful life, Moss, by turns giddy and sorrowful, expresses a sacred sensuality and an earthy holiness.”
—DONNA SEAMAN, BOOKLIST

“In Moss’ latest collection, intellect and imagination are melded into one… A virtuoso performance by one of our country’s best.”
—JIM ELLEDGE, BOOKLIST

“These phrases pass through my mind: The sadness of biblical loss: the prophet in Gaza without his God: the melancholy of the modern finding its beauty in loss itself. I realize that Moss has struck upon one theme that preoccupies us all and fills our days: we are adrift between two shores. We no longer have the assurance of a spirit world and we do not have the confidence in ourselves to go it alone. In this book, Moss captures the theme in poem after poem with poignancy and keeps me reading to the last page, and then to reread them all for their sweet melancholy which is their beauty and so much a pleasure to experience. It is a paradox that only a master of his art can command.”
—DAVID IGNATOW

“Stanley Moss is an altogether different case… He never lapses into confession or sentimentality. Instead, he conducts a ritual of preparation for the unpredictable coursings of spirit, acknowledging that “Flesh is a ghost, inarticulate… Concerned about the meaning he conjures, Moss does what other poets are supposed to do: he puts life into words and gives words a life of their own.”
THE NATION

“With such a long career, and such lively writing, Moss is to my mind a splendid poet who speaks to the Jewish American experience with depth, varied culture, passion and humor. And wisdom… His poems are full of arguments, not only with babies, but with mortality and with God, and these impassioned inner debates between intimations of heaven and sensations of the earth remind me greatly of the Psalms.”
—ROGER KAMENETZ, THE FORWARD

“In a highly condensed form, Stanley Moss’s poetry is of much the same nature as the best Jewish fiction of Saul Bellow or Bernard Malamud.”
—EDOUARD RODITI, JUDAISM

“Stanley Moss’ poetry shows a development in a lifelong quest, which is derivative of biblical themes, but by no means overshadowed by them; his sources reach beyond these, drawing on zoology, paleontology, and anthropology, for example. The result, after an absorbing and entertaining journey, is a triumphant consummation in old age. He achieves an almost prophetic sense of vocation….Henry Adams would have approved.”
—SEBASTIAN BARKER, PN REVIEW

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