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Selected Poems

Michael Hofmann

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

0374532230

9780374532239

Trade Paperback

192 Pages

$16.00

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With five critically acclaimed collections, Michael Hofmann has established himself as one of the truly original poetic voices of our time. His poetry, both public and personal, expansive and intimate, looks in three directions—toward the Germany of his birth and toward his adopted homelands, England and America—and his perspective on all three is surprising, alarmed, and alarming. Influenced by Robert Lowell and John Berryman (both of whom he has edited), Hofmann nevertheless cannot be pigeonholed in any given style or movement. Hofmann may be better known, especially in America, for his acclaimed translations than for his own poetry, but this volume promises to introduce a broad new readership to a keenly intelligent, formally rigorous, emotionally unsparing poetry that feels entirely fresh.

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Praise for Selected Poems

“Hofmann’s is one of the definitive bodies of work of the last half century, as redolent of the mood, mores and matter of its time as any I know.”—Stephen Knight, The Times Literary Supplement (London)

“These penetrating and disquieting poems should cement Hofmann’s reputation as more than just a prize-winning translator.”—Nichi Hodgson, New Statesman

“A Michael Hofmann poem is now a rare, strange, much valued item . . . One review a long time ago talked of Hofmann’s ‘rainy day voice.’ Yes, it is that, but it is a princely voice, too. Prince of nerves and manners, precise poet of desolations and furies—Hofmann’s rainy day is as authentic and valuable as the weather we go out in.”—George Szirtes, The Guardian (UK)

“Easily among the best and most adventurous poets of his generation.”—Dennis O’Driscoll, Thumbscrew

“[Hofmann’s] poem-biographies of Crassus and Marvin Gaye are true originals, in line of descent from his master, Robert Lowell, and the . . . recent work indicates, hearteningly, a poet unafraid of change or chance.”—Sean O’Brien, The Sunday Times (London)

“For anyone who remembers the poems of Michael Hofmann making their first appearances in magazines in the early 1980s, his has been one of the defining voices of the past two decades . . . It is wonderful to be reminded by this Selected of just how good, how original a poet Hofmann has always been—and to feel all over again the surprise and pleasure that new readers will feel, when they discover his wit and effrontery.”PBS Bulletin, Special Commendation

“Hofmann . . . deservedly won attention in Britain 20 years ago for his own, unsparing, autobiographical sequences, propelled by sad insights and armored with cold detail. One such poem shows romance gone bad in a tiny apartment, 'this boxroom shaped like a loaf of bread,' where 'all things tend towards the yellow of unlove' and 'Familiarity bred mostly the fear of its loss.' Many other poems concern Hofmann's (apparently cold and workaholic) father, whose vocation 'kept us fed till we were big enough to leave the nest.' Such autobiographical verse . . . reached one apex in Acrimony and another, mellower fruition in the U.K.-only Approximately Nowhere, by which time Hofmann had also perfected disillusioned-yet-observant travel poems, setting them in Mexico and Florida as well as within the U.K.: 'The nouveau oil building/ spoils the old water town, spook town, old folks' town.' This second U.S. Selected reintroduces the poet Hofmann to U.S. readers.”—Publishers Weekly



Table of Contents
From Nights in the Iron Hotel (1983)
White Noise
Pavement Artistes
Gruppenbild ohne Dame
Family Holidays
The Magic of Mantovani
Boys' Own
Lord B. and Others
By Forced Marches
l'an trentiesme de son eage
Shapes of Things
Furth i. Wald
On Fanø
Fates of the Expressionists
Nights in the Iron Hotel
Body Heat

From Acrimony (1986)
Ancient Evenings
On the Margins
Changes
Aerial Perspective
A Floating City
A Brief Occupation
Entr'acte
Nighthawks
From Kensal Rise to Heaven
Open House
This Sporting Death
Kif
Disturbances
Between Bed and Wastepaper Basket
Campaign Fever
Day of Reckoning
The Machine That Cried
My Father's House Has Many Mansions
Bärli
Lighting Out
Vortex
Withdrawn from Circulation
Giro Account
Catechism
My Father at Fifty
Author, Author
Fine Adjustments
Old Firm

From Corona, Corona (1993)
Lament for Crassus
The Late Richard Dadd, 1817-1886
Max Beckmann: 1915
Kurt Schwitters in Lakeland
Marvin Gaye
Sally
Freebird
Up in the Air
Wheels
Schönlaterngasse
Dean Point
The Day After
From A to B and Back Again
Days of 1987
Pastorale
On the Beach at Thorpeness
Postcard from Cuernavaca
Las Casas
Progreso
Sunday in Puebla
Aerogrammes, 1-5
Guanajuato Two Times

From Approximately Nowhere (1999)
For Gert Hofmann, died 1 July 1993
What Happens
Directions
Last Walk
Endstation, Erding
Zirbelstrasse
Still Life
de passage
Cheltenham
Metempsychosis
Essex
Fidelity
Ingerlund
Parerga
Vecchi Versi
Intimations of Immortality
Rimbaud on the Hudson
Scylla and Minos
Gone
Vagary
June
Megrim
Near Hunstanton
Seele im Raum
XXXX
Malvern Road
Lewis Hollow Road
Fairy Tale
Gomorrah
Night Train
Litany

New Poems
Motet
Broken Nights
Hudson Ride
Idyll
Poem
End of the Pier Show
November

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

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Michael Hofmann is the author of five books of poems and many translations from the German. He edited Twentieth-Century German Poetry (FSG, 2006) and lives in London and in Gainesville, Florida.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Michael Hofmann

  • Michael Hofmann is the author of five books of poems and many translations from the German. He edited Twentieth-Century German Poetry and lives in London and in Gainesville, Florida.

  • Michael Hofmann Thomas Andenmatten © Stiftung Leuk
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