All of Us Here (Magill's Literary Annual 1987)
When Irving Feldman’s prodigal verbal gifts are under control, which is most of the time, his poems provide some of the richest pleasures available in contemporary literature. In an earlier book, Leaping Clear (1976), Feldman occasionally overindulged his affection for playful sound effects; in this collection, though the sound effects are frequently dazzling, there are no more than three words which seem likely to set some teeth on edge. Along with this greatly increased tact, one finds here a profound wisdom, an ability to speak clearly and compassionately of the nearly unspeakable. This wisdom is not at all new in Feldman’s work; he has been a keen observer of the urban scene for a long time, and his sense of the tragicomic, as well as of the purely tragic, is among the gifts that have sustained him the longest.
Feldman writes often of the city, and sometimes of the academic world, with its shifting notions of what ethics and good sense might be. These worlds are not everyone’s, and there are things one needs to know in order to enter Feldman’s poems. This is especially true in the case of this book’s title sequence, a group of twenty poems arising from an exhibition of sculptures by George Segal. Fortunately for Feldman and his readers, this necessity has been brilliantly dealt with in the design of the book, whose cover photograph is of The Brick Wall, a 1970 Segal sculpture in which his characteristic plaster casts of...
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1987)
Booklist. LXXXIII, October 1, 1986, p. 184.
Choice. XXIV, October, 1986, p. 306.
The Economist. CCC, September 20, 1986, p. 102.
Library Journal. CXI, July 16, 1986, p. 88.
The New Republic. CXCV, July 14, 1986, p. 28.
The New York Times. CXXXV, July 15, 1986, p. C13.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXIX, May 16, 1986, p. 65.
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