Falling from Silence: Poems

Falling from Silence: Poems

by David R. Slavitt


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Falling from Silence is the seventy-third book by David Slavitt, the prolific poet, novelist, translator, and editor. His amazing rate of production has only amplified and refined the power of his art. This is the work of an accomplished veteran, a craftsman who laments the limitations of what his hard-earned talent can do in the face of age and loss. He turns to religion, reads the classics, and in moments of cheer that may not be mere mania, he horses around and fools with the words that have been his toys, but nothing helps—or, more accurately, nothing helps enough. It is nevertheless true that, as he says in “Pen,”

The letters that danced in the light like gnats will suddenly light on some twig of a notion a held breath can make tremble in an unpredictable motion—like this pen’s—
that no one would think could bear the fruit of truth.

Ranging in tone from devilish and droll to dignified and desolate, the poems here examine death and aging and bespeak the reassuring connection between the generations. In “Angel of Death,” the speaker remarkably balances grief and joy in describing the birth of his grandson, who bears the name of the poet’s father: “I hold him in my arms, the precious, breathing / weight, and admire the tiny hands / that will bear the weight one day of my coffin’s corner. . . . / That a Sam once more will carry me is a comfort.”

Slavitt’s wry wit, profound humanity, and agile intellect illuminate every page of Falling from Silence. In contrast to its title, it is, indeed, a resounding poetic triumph.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807126738
Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
Publication date: 02/01/2001
Pages: 87
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

Born in White Plains, New York, and educated at Andover, Yale, and Columbia, David Slavitt is the author or editor of seventy-three volumes of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. He has been the Newsweek film critic, has written best-selling popular novels, and has taught at Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Bennington College.

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