This winter, two books that showcase Halpern's dual talents as writer and editor have been released, both of which show the fruits of several decades of literary labor. Something Shining is his eighth book of verse, and in it, for the first time, Halpern writes about the wonders of fatherhood. With a series of poems about his daughter's fingers, questions, and fears, Halpern details the change a young child can bring to a worldview. The Art of the Story, a lively anthology of contemporary short stories selected by Halpern, offers a peek into the varied worlds of writers from around the globe.
Something Shining: Poemsby Daniel Halpern
These beautifully crafted poems/b>
Widely praised for his earlier collections, Daniel Halpern has grown steadily in stature and attainment. Now, with Something Shining, his first collection of new poems in seven years, he gives us an ambitious, wide-ranging meditation on birth, love, and maturity, marking a turning point in both his life and his work.
These beautifully crafted poems explore relations between lovers, between friends, between fathers and children. Written by the light of a young daughter's presence, in the distinctive lyrical language that Ted Hughes described as "so free and effortless and unerring," these poems ponder the fading of the body and the struggle that consciousness wages to keep the self afloat. And into this intimate world also enter a surprising array of characters: ancient Chinese poets and modern Cuban musicians, Charlie Parker, Chekhov, and the dervish mystic Rumi. But it is the poet's awareness of his own frailty ("the days run out--no longer oneself," he writes in "Fugue"), that, together with the extraordinary beauty he discovers in environments familiar and exotic, unifies this collection. The work of a poet at the top of his form, Something Shining confirms Halpern's place in our national literature.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
- Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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Read an Excerpt
Isn't he the man with crimson socks
and the slow loris climbing
like the hour hand from his shoulder,
over his ear and up
to the pale dome of his head?
The man's face shines with affection.
He's an honest man and his pet,
lackadaisical but not dispassionate,
is devoted and clear about the nature
of their relationship. There are times
to eat and times to climb, the two things
a loris is always in the act of.
As the man turns, nearly in slow motion,
the slow loris peers
from behind his left ear and a smile
begins to spread like a sunrise
on his face. A word
takes shape in his mouth as his hands
reach into the air--reach out
as the word moves forward,
a word of arrival, recognition hovering before him.
Daughter & Chair
It's a sunny day in the middle of the year,
My daughter in a new white dress
suns herself in a very bright green beach chair.
She's too young to sit there for long,
just long enough to pursue a dream,
a single longing: a sweet, a new toy.
The sun is steady, late afternoon. She's an only child
and we worry she's lonely, even when dressed up
and dreaming. If we ask her she pretends not to hear
and pulls at her reddish hair, looking off.
If we ask again she'll say, Yes, lonesome.
There's only the one sun and it shines in her eyes.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Meet the Author
Daniel Halpern was born in Syracuse, New York, in 1945 and has lived in Los Angeles, Seattle, New York City, and Tangier, Morocco. The author of seven previous collections of poems, Halpern is editorial director of The Ecco Press, an imprint of HarperCollins. He has received many grants and awards, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Halpern divides his time between New York City and Princeton, New Jersey, where he lives with his wife and daughter.
From the Hardcover edition.
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