Bluestone’s poems do miraculous things, by force of language
directed through his fierce peculiar rhythm; best, they preserve what
they value. Because our civilization loves speed, change, loss, and
forgetfulness, a poet’s obligation is also a poet’s opportunity–to hold
and keep, to make a stillness despite noise–to praise, to celebrate, and
to enact endurance. In Stephen Bluestone’s old opera singers, in his
its way into history,’
and in his recovered
of the Porch,’
he provides what the age never demands but deeply requires.”
forgive me–you will–but make it new, original, your own,/ no matter how
strange or beautiful, or far from home,’
advised Robert Hayden in a poem of Stephen Bluestone’s.
And he did. Poem after poem [in The Flagrant
strange–and original and beautiful–whether translations or dramatic
speeches, whether of love or machinery, or old technologies, or
outrageous lists, whether influenced by Robert Browning or Hart Crane.
We have, in our language, poems of passion and poems of the mind, but
they are not too often combined. Bluestone has found a way to combine
them. He is a steady student of our culture, as he is of our history. He
“Stephen Bluestone’s new book,
Dead, has a
startling and I think incontrovertible idea:
the dead are with us, whether it be the pattern of the carpet in a
look in the eye of a young girl listening.’
Whatever has happened must still be happening–the making of a great
automobile, the Maserati, and the ingenuity of the
of the Rose Theater in March 1598, who brought dead scenes to life. In
Bluestone’s poetry the plays of Ben Jonson and the escapades of Harpo
Marx go on forever. The Flagrant Dead
is a delightful
and astonishing book.”
"The eponymous first half of
The Painted Clock is simply a
tour de force, having the paradoxical mixture of dead-on particularity
and obliquity one associates with the Psalms, which it remembers.
So often have the horrors of the Nazi death camps been chronicled that
one would think they beggar fresh presentation. Not so: si monumentum
requiris, circumspice. And the pure range of the second half, which
brings to life figures as disparate as baseball great Ichiro Suzuki,
Tolstoy, and Lorca, is equally formidable. The agonies of human
existence abound here, but as Bluestone writes at one point: 'the world
is a lyre; / its music heals me; / its melodies comfort my soul.'"
Happy to report that
The Painted Clock
is now out, with a fabulous cover designed by Burt & Burt.
Release date was March 1. Formal launch: March 13, at the Connell
Student Center, Mercer University. Other events in the NYC area
afterwards. Watch this space or Facebook for further details. In the
meantime, you can order The
Painted Clock either from Mercer University Press at
or Amazon at
--Here are four links to four segments of a double reading on
August 8, 2013 at the Cornelia St. Cafe that I did with Anya
a fabulous poet. We read on the same night that Arietha
the NYC premiere of Curtis
"The Laughing Monkeys of Gravity." Anya was terrific, as usual. I've
added text crawls of the poems, which really help. Great audience.
--Color-corrected, audio enhanced, titled, and
edited from the raw Cornelia St Cafe footage, "The Laughing
Monkeys of Gravity" song cycle video is up on Youtube at last. Arietha
in excellent voice that evening. And
the music, thanks to Curtis
is gorgeous. I’m not objective, I know, but this is one of the
great pieces of American music and deserves to be widely performed.
In fact, as of March 2018, Curtis Bryant is a finalist for this piece in
the American Composers Prize competition, which is still underway. Thanks, as well, to Sunny
Knable for his outstanding work at the piano. See link.
--Recent work has appeared in The Hudson Review,
The New Criterion, Letra Franca, and Mizmor L'David Poetica Anthology.
Of recent anthologies in which work has appeared, I very much admire Kevin Cantwell’s
excellent collection Writing on Napkins at the Sunshine Club. "The
Pitcher," one of my favorites, dedicated to Sal Maglie, which originally
appeared in Aethlon and then in The Flagrant Dead has
also appeared in a new Aethlon sports literature anthology.
--In May 2010 my
new version of Psalm 104 ("I Sing of
Light"), set by
Curtis Bryant, had
its world premiere at the Cathedral of Christ the King, in Atlanta.
This four-minute work was performed by the Schola Nova (Women's
Choir) and culminated an array of liturgical compositions for the
Atlanta Faith Partners Residency, sponsored by the American Composers
--On January 30, 2010, at the Woodruff House,
on the Mercer University campus, friends, family, colleagues, and
students (past and present) celebrated my retirement after many years at
Mercer. Stanley Roberts led a chamber group of the Mercer Singers in
"Holiness Everywhere," and Arietha Lockhart, accompanied by
sang Curtis Bryant's "Laughing Monkeys of Gravity" suite. After
the music there were roasts and toasts. Here's a link to a slide show of
the evening (thanks to Jerome Gratigny for the photos):
--Here's an album of the Louis Simpson 2008 AWP Tribute.
Fellow panelists included Peter Stitt, Peter
Makuck, Mark Jarman, and Michael
Waters. Louis Simpson was present and read his
poetry. The "Tribute to Louis Simpson" session was selected by AWP for
its digital archives.
--At the Georgia Writers Association's 2008 annual meeting
The Flagrant Dead
received the Taran Memorial Poetry Prize.
--See Menu on this page for "Art Gallery."
A selection from an exhibition entitled "Ut Pictura Poesis"
(as in painting so in poetry) that took place at the Hardman Hall Art
Gallery on the Mercer University main campus in January and February
2009. The show featured the work of thirty Mercer students in painting,
print making, and digital imaging in response to my poetry. On the "Art
Gallery" page, texts of the interpreted poems are linked with the
--Happy to report that
The Laughing Monkeys of Gravity (1995) has been reprinted by Mercer
University Press. To order this book, as well as
The Flagrant Dead, please click on the
links on this page.
Many thanks to Keith Bluestone, Jerome
Gratigny, and Robert Allen for their work in
designing and maintaining this Web site.