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Alan Feldman

The Four Lakes Prize in Poetry
Ronald Wallace, Series Editor

Winner of the 2015 Four Lakes Prize in Poetry

“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.”

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, Massachusetts.





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

“Alan Feldman is our greatest American poet of the household and family, as a loving, growing, struggling, and essential institution. He manifests the kind of love we rarely see in our poetry, and this familial love pours into the world around him. I am personally thankful every time I read an Alan Feldman poem, and Immortality, the book you are holding in your hands right now, makes us understand that immortality lies all about us, in everything we experience as a human being.”
—Bill Zavatsky, author of Where X Marks the Spot

“A richly engaged, near flawless collection. Like those magic mineral waters pumped from deep in the earth, Feldman’s poems can cure emotional arthritis and ventilate the soul. Better poems than these cannot be written in this confiding, intelligent humanist mode.”
—Tony Hoagland, author of Twenty Poems That Could Save America and Sweet Ruin

“These poems enact with grace and intelligence the process by which one comes to possess the life one is actually living. This is an enlarging journey that no reader of poetry will want to miss, offering the pleasures of discovery every step of the way.”
—Carl Dennis, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Practical Gods

“Alan Feldman’s poems offer the companionship of a witty, thoughtful, sometimes bewildered friend testing his life in language; telling it all. This is a heartening, deeply satisfying collection from a seasoned poet at the top of his game.”
—Linda V. Bamber, author of Taking What I Like



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Of Related Interest


Otherwise Unseeable
Betsy Sholl



March 2015
LC: 2014030774 PS
104 pp.   6 x 9

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Paper $17.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-30334-1
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