New York Poems is dedicated to "The City of New York: embattled, gallant, enduring" by celebrated poet D. H. Melhem, who calls the Upper West Side her "muse." D. H. Melhem's sharp eye looks at neighborhood struggles with blight and urban renewal (chastised as "Negro Removal"). She examines her city from the World Trade Center disaster to the present to the city's future. New York Poems combines her seminal book of poetry, Notes on 94th Street, with her second volume about the neighborhood, Children of the House Afire, whose emblematic title poem describes a tragic fire she witnessed from her second-floor window. "Requiescant 9/11" ("let them rest"), a tribute sequence lamenting the martyrs of the World Trade Center closes Melhem's last collection, Conversation with a Stonemason. The author's preface and poem, "Prospect," survey the urban terrain. Melhem concludes with a lyrical panorama of her city's dynamic changes.
|Publisher:||Syracuse University Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)|
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D. H. Melhem's New York Poems is a great gift to readers and makes a great gift?
Poet and scholar D. H. Melhem brings what many call the City of the World to life. Through her elegant and sensitive use of language, she provides not only a rich history of New York but a true rendering of what it means to live, work, study and just simply be a part of this city. D. H. Melhem has created a richly textured poetic documentary. This is no small measure. She brings readers a remarkable gift¿to share the authentic pulse of this city. Readers can feel and sense joy, frustration, and sorrow, most particularly when she describes 9/ll. Yet, her book is about a having a feeling of hope, of better days in front of us if we work toward creating changes. D. H. Melhem is a writer of enormous range and vision she cares deeply about social justice. Her writing is about addressing issues that get readers thinking, and in the process she also inspires writers to be more pro-active. If you are a reader and not a writer, you feel the need to make a difference in your own community. D. H. Melhem¿s New York Poems lead us and remind us of what we can do not only as writers but also as citizens to encourage dialogue on a variety of political and social issues. Technically, this is the finest poetry book I have encountered by one author with endless examples of various styles and forms, all of which are accessible to those who simply read poetry for enjoyment. Also, this book has the feel of an anthology by diverse contributors, but this is the work of one woman with impeccable credentials. She is a woman with tremendous leadership skills and is currently the vice-president of the International Women¿s Writing Guild. I would describe D. H. Melhem as one of the finest poets of this generation. This is a book that can be thought of as a ¿mentor¿ for the aspiring poet, and for the seasoned writer/scholar, having this book in your possession is like having a good and trusted friend/colleague with you as you explore your own writing. A writer can and should explore many forms to get her truth on paper. I highly recommend this book because it has a classic quality that invites the reader to reflect, but most importantly, to embrace so many possibilities. D. H. Melhem¿s writings remind each of us to cherish our own roots and our sense of place in this world. This collection confirms that poetry is more than art it is another form of creative anthropology and sociology. In essence, D. H. Melhem not only honors the past with brutal honesty and compassion but speaks to how we must respond to our world today. In her Epilogue, Earth Speaks, she ends with ¿Love is the sternest prayer. All life deserves respect.¿
Melham's world is expansive and diverse, filled with teeming humanity, hopeful, indefatigable life. She's the 'daughter of Lebanese immigrants and a native of Brooklyn [who feels she is] quintessentially American.' The abundant life in her poems is mostly in the upper West Side of New York, where she now lives. It has come to her as traditional immigrant groups and newly arrived ones, and the myriad activities and behaviors of the huge population of a vibrant and crowded city. 'Broadway Music' goes in part, 'And the old men sing with her/they dream through the curving wood and metal/and the forms of the sounds that go out/as if the dirty newspapers and today's news/the people running up subway stairs/the dogs the pimps the hustlers....' This calls to mind Lorca's vision of New York, the eye of a newcomer. The bustle and melange of street life is not the hollow motions of idlers and the aimless, but the music of the infinite dreams and constant negotiations of the nameless, but not faceless nor anonymous, population.