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Taking Down the Angel

Taking Down the Angel

by Jeff Friedman

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A collection of poems by Jeff Friedman.


A collection of poems by Jeff Friedman.

Editorial Reviews

I read a lot of poetry, but I don't read poetry like I read fiction, losing track of time, staying up late, reading entire books without pause. Taking Down the Angel, however, proved to be that startling exception. Without intending to do so, I found myself reading the final poem at the end of a single sitting. Ultimately, it is the accessibility of the poems, the intimacy of the content and the comfort of Friedman's conversational style that makes this collection so compelling. These poems directly confront a world that inevitably exacts a toll. "Mr. Clark rose from his desk / and disappeared into the long corridor, / into the crowds of men dancing in the newsreel..." They are pieces that reflect our own questioning in the face of failure, our own longing. "How could I have prevented you / from saying what you felt / or stopped us from / growing apart?" They are filled with the realization of a stern but ultimately complex fate. "Only I, David, / greatest king of Israel, / understood his [God's] hunger / for human sacrifice, the love / in his murderous heart." Yet there is serenity in this world of memory and yearning. "My father comes to me as a little / bit of dust swirling in the wind. / He no longer slumps when he walks / or scrapes his heels on the pavement... / He has / survived yet another Egypt / and a thousand Pharoahs." There is a draw to these poems, an honesty in Friedman's vision, a compassion that eschews sentimentality, a universality of loss and wonder, a familiar aching, that has marvelous appeal. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2003, Carnegie Mellon, 101p.,
— James Beschta

Product Details

Carnegie-Mellon University Press
Publication date:
Carnegie Mellon Poetry Series
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

What People are Saying About This

Dzvinia Orlowsky
"There are no sleepers here. These powerful poems invite you in, pour you a cold drink, and quietly close the door behind you. For what feels like a welcomed eternity, Jeff Friedman's voices painfully confess, lovingly describe, and outside, in the dark quiet of trees, seduce. With masterful turns of phrase and surprise, these poems leave you feeling rejoined with missing relatives and friends—and prophets who still remember how to throw a punch."
David Huddle
"This book is a joy to read. Jeff Friedman's poems are so clear and unpretentious that you're already halfway through the collection before you realize what an achievement it is. The poems of Taking Down the Angel are moving, honest, masterfully crafted, and they tell a profoundly American story."
Donald Justice
"These are poems of memory; in them the past is revived in exact and painfully loving detail. We have seen and heard much of it before and it does not seem to matter: rarely has the pity of it all been so poignantly expressed, and in a style appropriately both flat and lyrical. The book holds the kind of experience you could make a movie out of, not a big box-office hit but a satisfying small family drama and of course I mean this as praise."

Meet the Author

JEFF FRIEDMAN was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in Saint Louis, Missouri. He is the author of two previous collections of poetry, Scattering the Ashes and The Record-Breaking Heat Wave. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Poetry, Antioch Review, New England Review, and other magazines, and have won him a fellowship from the New Hampshire State Arts Council, the Editor's Prize from The Missouri Review, and the Milton Dorfman Poetry Prize. He teaches at Keene State College and lives in West Lebanon, New Hampshire, with the painter Colleen Randall.

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