Frederick Seidel

Penguin Modern Poets 5
  • Penguin Modern Poets 5

  • Occasional Wild Parties brings together Sam Riviere, one of the most discussed of the new generation of British poets, whose 'post-internet' poetry sees him acting now as scribe, now as DJ, taking in everything from technologized romance to celebrity culture as filtered through Kim Kardashian's make-up routine; the 'elegant ghoul' Frederick Seidel, zooming through the dark underbelly of international high society on his Ducati racing bike; and the wonderfully observant Kathryn Maris, whose work ranges with a dark wit over incomprehensible deities, wayward mothers, the politics of children's sports contests, and psychoanalysis. All three lift the lid on their corners of civilized society to show the less glittering realities that lie just beneath the surface.

    "On the verge of perpetrating acts of artistic barbarism

    "I perceived a spoon as the title of a plate of food"
    - SAM RIVIERE, 'Mindfulness'

    "Deer garter-belt across our vision
    And stand there waiting for our decision.

    "Our only decision was how to cook the venison.
    I am civilized but
    I see the silence
    And write the words for the thought balloon."
    - FREDERICK SEIDEL, 'Kill Poem'

    "The man in the basement wrote stories about heroin.
    The woman in the attic read stories with heroines.
    The woman in the attic noticed a bruise that ran from the top to the base of her thigh.
    The bruise looked like Europe.
    The man in the basement was in love with the sister of the secretive man who loved him more.
    He whooped to the woman, 'You killed your student?'
    To himself he wept, 'I killed my father.'"
    - KATHRYN MARIS, 'The House with Only an Attic and a Basement'

Frederick Seidel was born in St Louis and lives in New York City. His first book of poems, Final Solutions, initially won and then was denied the Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association Poetry Prize amid controversy in 1962, before being published in New York the following year. The collections that followed are Sunrise (1980); These Days (1989); My Tokyo (1993); Going Fast (1998), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; The Cosmos Trilogy, comprising The Cosmos Poems (2000), Life on Earth (2001) and Area Code 212 (2002); Ooga- Booga (2006), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, was shortlisted for the International Griffin Poetry Prize, and won the L. A. Times Book Prize for Poetry; the limited edition chapbook Evening Man (2008); Nice Weather (2012); and Widening Income Inequality (2016). A Selected Poems was published by Faber & Faber in 2006. He received the PEN/Voelker Award for Poetry in 2002, and The Paris Review 's Hadada Award in 2014.

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