The poet, and President and Publisher of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Jonathan Galassi takes one by total surprise with his heartbreaking, deeply stabbing " Left-Handed: Poems ". Not only has the man been the poetry editor of "The Paris Review," he is also able to create poignant and ardent poems himself. It’s an amazing skill to be able to see and be seen all at once.
The Seattle-born writer famously got fired at Random House many moons ago, only to have an incredible career elsewhere in the city of literature. His ability to then also write a number of superb poetry books is just a sign of his true and innate talent that just could not be suppressed. Rocky, even nasty, roads do lead to beautiful poetry. So would say T. S. Eliot at least. And definitely Ingrid Jonker -- but here Galassi just speaks his desires.
"Somewhere you shimmer like the lake,
the picture on the glass is real,
and one of us says what we didn’t say,
feels what we didn’t feel."
In this selection of poems the man explores a deeper homosexual side of himself, and it comes through as sincere and damn right brave. And with this valiant attempt opens himself up like a ripe fruit, ready for picking. Finally.
"I tried, and each attempt was a fiasco.
I yearned, but every love of mine was wrong.
I needed, and the shame was overwhelming.
I failed, and so I hated being young."
The poems are lovely and loving. They sweep through you and stay embedded deep inside your inner thoughts, only to surface much later when you least expect them to. Reciting them whilst riding your bike to the park, or while sipping the first coffee of the day will remind you what love, and anti-love can do to a man. His work is painful to read, but beautiful to behold, the poet has ensnared his readers with his brute force of good old honesty.
by Jonathan Galassi