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The Laughing Monkeys of Gravity


The Flagrant Dead
The Painted Clock

 

STEPHEN BLUESTONE was born in New York City. An earlier volume THE LAUGHING MONKEYS OF GRAVITY was nominated for the National Book Award in Poetry. THE FLAGRANT DEAD, his second book, also nominated for the National Book Award, has been called original and beautiful” by Gerald Stern. Louis Simpson has called the same volume delightful and astonishing.” The title poem of Bluestone's third volume THE PAINTED CLOCK has been described by William Heyen as "a profound symphony that comes close to silence." Stephen Bluestone has won The Greensboro Review Poetry Prize, The Thomas Merton Prize, two Hopwood Prizes, and second prize in the Robert Penn Warren Competition, in addition to an NEH Award, a Pushcart Prizes Special Mention, and other awards.

In November, 2002 “Holiness Everywhere,” his free adaptation of a 12th-century work by Jehudah Halevi, set to music by Atlanta composer Curtis Bryant, was given its New York City premiere.  “O City!” a tribute to the victims of the 9/11 tragedy) was performed by the Gregg Smith Singers in New York City in February, 2003.  In September 2003 the world premiere of Curtis Bryant’s setting of The Laughing Monkeys of Gravity” was performed at McCorkle Hall on the Mercer University campus. In addition, a collaboration with composer David H. Johnson  resulted in "Jerusalem Trilogy," which was first performed in the fall of 2007.

In 2010 Stephen Bluestone's adaptation of Psalm 104 ("I Sing of Light"), also set by Bryant, was performed as part of the Atlanta Faith Partners Residency, sponsored by the American Composers Forum. Recent work has appeared in "The Sewanee Review," "The Hudson Review," and "The New Criterion." Various poems have also appeared in "The Southern Poetry Anthology (Volume V: Georgia)," "Writing on Napkins at the Sunshine Club: An Anthology of Poets Writing in Macon," and "The Posen Anthology of Jewish Culture." 

Stephen Bluestone taught English and film in the College of Liberal Arts at Mercer University for many years and now lives and works in New York City.

Stephen Bluestone is a poet of enormous range and a passionate imagination. The Flagrant Dead (a wonderful oxymoron!) is a stunning and accomplished book.  Read it."                                                          

–Thomas Lux

“Stephen Bluestone’s poems, haunted by voices from the far and recent past, take us through the difficult passages from melancholy and loss toward love. They are religious poems in the widest and best sense–searching, intelligent, expansive–poems whose achievement is beauty and spiritual wisdom.”

–Susan Ludvigson