Daniel Halpern Something Shining: Poems

ISBN 13: 9780375707209

Something Shining: Poems

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9780375707209: Something Shining: Poems

Widely praised for his earlier collections, Daniel Halpern has grown steadily in stature and attainment. Now, with Something Shining, his first collection of new poems in seven years, he gives us an ambitious, wide-ranging meditation on birth, love, and maturity, marking a turning point in both his life and his work.

These beautifully crafted poems explore relations between lovers, between friends, between fathers and children. Written by the light of a young daughter's presence, in the distinctive lyrical language that Ted Hughes described as "so free and effortless and unerring," these poems ponder the fading of the body and the struggle that consciousness wages to keep the self afloat. And into this intimate world also enter a surprising array of characters: ancient Chinese poets and modern Cuban musicians, Charlie Parker, Chekhov, and the dervish mystic Rumi. But it is the poet's awareness of his own frailty ("the days run out--no longer oneself," he writes in "Fugue"), that, together with the extraordinary beauty he discovers in environments familiar and exotic, unifies this collection. The work of a poet at the top of his form, Something Shining confirms Halpern's place in our national literature.

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About the Author:

Daniel Halpern was born in Syracuse, New York, in 1945 and has lived in Los Angeles, Seattle, New York City, and Tangier, Morocco. The author of seven previous collections of poems, Halpern is editorial director of The Ecco Press, an imprint of HarperCollins. He has received many grants and awards, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Halpern divides his time between New York City and Princeton, New Jersey, where he lives with his wife and daughter.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Zeno's Lemur
Isn't he the man with crimson socks
and the slow loris climbing
like the hour hand from his shoulder,
over his ear and up
to the pale dome of his head?

The man's face shines with affection.
He's an honest man and his pet,
lackadaisical but not dispassionate,
is devoted and clear about the nature
of their relationship. There are times

to eat and times to climb, the two things
a loris is always in the act of.
As the man turns, nearly in slow motion,
the slow loris peers
from behind his left ear and a smile

begins to spread like a sunrise
on his face. A word
takes shape in his mouth as his hands
reach into the air--reach out
as the word moves forward,

a word of arrival, recognition hovering before him.


Daughter & Chai
r

It's a sunny day in the middle of the year,
    My daughter in a new white dress
        suns herself in a very bright green beach chair.

She's too young to sit there for long,
    just long enough to pursue a dream,
        a single longing: a sweet, a new toy.

The sun is steady, late afternoon. She's an only child
    and we worry she's lonely, even when dressed up
        and dreaming. If we ask her she pretends not to hear

and pulls at her reddish hair, looking off.
    If we ask again she'll say, Yes, lonesome.
        There's only the one sun and it shines in her eyes.

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Daniel Halpern
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