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The poems in The Stone Cicada reveal a man constantly engaged in the long pilgrimage to the unknown but hallowed shrine that marks the end of life. Wolf asks the questions and struggles to arrive at the answers that make the "examined life worth living." The poems are about words, about how they tell the truth even as they lie; they are about love, its necessity, its rewards, its betrayals; about the failed hunger for religious faith; about the dark healer, death.
What is always clear in these poems is that his mind and heart have been touched by various of the world's folklore; by the wisdom (meaningful but often tragically useless) we acquire by entanglements, as well as sobered by its darker implications. We get to experience Wolf's awe of the process by which feelings, framed by form, become poems.
Language about poetry is langauge largely wasted. Read the poems. Hear their music; respond to their themes.
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Leonard Wolf was born in Vulcan, Romania, where he spent his early childhood. He moved to the United States in 1930 and grew up in Cleveland, Ohio.
Wolf has spent most of his adult life as a university teacher and writer, who has published poetry, fiction, social history, and biography. His poetry and fiction have appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Atlantic, Harper's, The New Yorker, The Yale Review, The Hudson Review, and other literary magazines. He has been a James Phelan Poetry Prize winner, an O. Henry Fiction Award Winner, and has twice received the Ann Radcliffe Award for Literature for his work in Gothic literature.
He is the author of a wide range of books. The New York Times said of his Voices of the Love Generation (1968), a social history of the hippy movement,that it "humanizes the subject. His observations...constitute some of the clearest and most level-headed commentary currently available." His The Passion of Israel (1970), is a graphic account of a euphoric and tragic year in Israel's history. His The False Messia (1982), a historical novel about Shabbatai Tsvi, a messianic figure of the seventeenth century whose brief career shook and nearly shattered the Jewish communities in Europe and the Turkish empire in the middle of the seventeenth century, was praised by The New York Times for its "graphic recreation of Shabbatai's world." Wolf's most recent novel, The Glass Mountain (1983) is a dream retelling, for adults, of the children's tale of the princess on the glass hill.
Wolf is, according to the late Irving Howe, the finest translator of Yiddish literature in America. He is the translator of Pantheon's Yiddish Folktales (1988). He has published translations from the work of most of this century's greatest Yiddish poets as well as novels by such Yiddish classic writers as Itzik Manger, Der Nister, Israel Rabon, and Isaac Bashevis Singer. His Yiddish version of Winnie-the-Pooh is his first English-into-Yiddish translation. In 2001, Yale University Press will publish Itzik Manger: Selected POetry and Prose in Wolf's translation from the Yiddish.
Wolf's translations from the French include works by Gaston Leroux, Theophile Gautier, and most recently, the medieval chant-fable, Aucassin and Nicolette.
The National Foundation for Jewish Culture commission Wolf's verse play, "Queen Esther". In addition, he has written plays for children that were commissioned by the San Francisco Children's Theater.
Wolf has served as historical consultant to Francis Ford Coppola ("Bram Stoker's Dracula") and Kenneth Brannagh ("Mary Shelley's Frankenstein").Review:
...Wolf whistles traditional rhymes round his head like a whip. He tames the tigers of Freud, Grimm and himself... -- Ron Smith, author of Running Again in Hollywood Cemetery
...an unerring ear, a sharp eye and a deft hand...the full-bodied poetry we've been waiting for. -- George Stade, author of Confessions of a Lady Killer
...often frightening in its perfectly sensible examination of the human imagination, of the psychosexual fallen angels that we are... -- Ron Smith, author of Running Again in Hollywood Cemetery
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Book Description Medusa Press, 2001. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110970707401
Book Description Medusa Press, 2001. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0970707401