Foster, Edward, ed. Talisman 19 (1998). [Armand Schwerner Special Issue.] Gingerich, Willard. "Sacred Forgeries and Translation of Nothing in The Tablets of Armand Schwerner." Talisman 21/22 (2001): 18-26. Lazer, Hank. "Sacred Forgeries and the Grounds of Poetic Archeology: Armand Schwerner's The Tablets." Chicago Review 46.6 (2000): 142-154. Schwerner, Armand. "Armand Schwerner: An Interview by Willard Gingerich." American Poetry Review 24.5 (1995): 27-32.
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SEIDMAN, HUGH (1940- ) Hugh Seidman is an important heir to Louis zukofsky and the objec-tivists on one side, and yet his work is also influenced by the Peruvian poet César Vallejo. Seidman joins a direct, unsentimental poetic style with a strong historical sense and social conscience. In both form and content, he plays with perspective, moving from the intensely personal to the universal and back again in an effort to document both subjective experience and the abstract theory, timeless moment, or wider historical context to which it is ironically or tragically juxtaposed. "Scientist of poetry," he writes, "they're burning Newark." ("The Last American Dream" ).
Seidman was born in Brooklyn, New York. In 1969 he won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. Since then his poetry has won numerous awards, and his collection, Selected Poems, 1965-1995, was chosen as one of "25 Favorite Books of 1995" by the Village Voice.
Seidman's primary terrain is that of difficult or conflicted emotion—the personal triumph marred by echoes of global disaster, the joyous new love undercut by memories of loss. In his early work he approaches these subjects through precise, even scientific, dissection of the moment and its feelings. Academically trained in mathematics and physics, he often uses the vocabulary of these disciplines to redefine objects and how they are seen. A heart becomes "the long sought / perpetual engine, entropy zero, here" ("Blood Lord" ). What we sense is the desire of the poet (and humanity) to name and control experience through the discipline of language, poetry, or science, while remaining aware of the impossibility or danger of doing so. In his middle work, he adds an archetypal dimension by making connections to Egyptian, Greek, and other mythologies: "Let the light be the gilt sistrum / Let a waitress be Egypt's sixty centuries" ("Cult of Isis" ). More recently, he has continued to explore these themes but has shifted the balance in his poems toward the personal. one of the strongest series of poems in his work is that exploring his complicated relationship with his parents as they lived, fell ill, and died: "Forgive me if I lift my hand to affirm. / Or is it to question?" ("Did I Say Father?" ), he writes to his father. "But who shall speak for her? / Who shall say her name?" ("The Senile" ), he asks of a mother who remembers nothing due to Alzheimer's.
At his best Seidman combines poetic virtuosity with an eye that creates experiences an almost dizzying change in perspectives, as when a toy bear near a pair of lovers becomes an icon of a benevolent Ursa Major ("Mr. Bear" ). What results is a complex voice that is compassionate, powerful, intelligent, and exacting.
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