Immortality

Paperback | March 12, 2015

byAlan Feldman

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“Drop the personal,” Alan Feldman’s best friend advises. But what else does he have? Feldman takes his title from Zhivago’s interpretations of the afterlife: “Your soul, your immortality, your life in others.”
            In a collection where the dead do speak, Feldman’s poems in his first segment, “Self-Portraits,” are more likely to be about others than about himself. The segment “Partners” reflects on marriage and divorce, the latter an “uncontested victor over marriage, / the way the flood is champion over the flood plain.” In the section “Offshore” Feldman writes about travel to Uruguay, his impractical love of sailing, and his wonder at Walter Cronkite’s obtuseness about Vietnam. In his final segment, “What Now?,” he asks about meaning itself. Babysitting his tiny granddaughter, he thinks of sailing—hours of boredom punctuated by moments of terror—and wonders if even this suggests something world-encompassing he’s “still hoping to find a name for. / If it isn’t joy.”

Winner of the Mass Book Award for Poetry, Massachusetts Center for the Book

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“Drop the personal,” Alan Feldman’s best friend advises. But what else does he have? Feldman takes his title from Zhivago’s interpretations of the afterlife: “Your soul, your immortality, your life in others.”             In a collection where the dead do speak, Feldman’s poems in his first segment, “Self-Portraits,” are more likely to...

Alan Feldman is a professor emeritus of English at Framingham State University and previously taught creative writing at Harvard University. He is the author of many collections of poetry, including A Sail to Great Island, also published by the University of Wisconsin Press, Frank O’Hara, and Lucy Mastermind. He lives in Framingham, Ma...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:104 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.5 inPublished:March 12, 2015Publisher:University of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299303349

ISBN - 13:9780299303341

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
 
I. Self Portraits
Just Once
Two Walks
The Coyote 
At the Dentist 
Pathetic, Those Chickadees 
Sincerity and Authenticity 
The Terrible Memory 
Hate 
A Little Ode to Television 
How Big? 
The News 
A Message from My Mother 
 
II. Partners
“The River Merchant’s Wife” 
To Vocabulary 
A Walk to the Spring 
Uncontested 
Quintet 
Oxytocin 
Married to Me 
The Tiny Couple 
Ashore in Oak Bluffs 
The Afterlife 
 
III. Offshore
Imagining Uruguay 
Flight from Cyprus 
Reading Taha by Lamplight 
Oaxaca 
The Blessing of the Poodles 
House of Refuge 
What the Pig Meant 
Walter at the Wheel 
Watch Battery 
Lunch at the Brew Moon 
In Response to My Fear That I’ll Receive
Another Cal from the Yacht Salesman 
 
IV. What Now?
My Happiness 
Landlocked 
The Blue Boat 
When My Book Group Reconvened after
So Many Years 
In November 
The Reason for the Child 
The Bad Singers of San Miguel de Allende 
The Rowboat, The Girl, The Light 
Love Poem 
Fame 
To Teaching 
How to Improvise 
A Summer Afternoon 
The Light

Editorial Reviews

“An outstanding master of the free verse form and one whose work is both thoughtful and thought-provoking.”—Midwest Book Review/Reviewer’s Bookwatch