Moving through a great range of moods and modes over twenty-four years of writing, yet unified by an unmistakable voice - lyrical, colloquial, ardent, irreverent - Tell it to the Rabbis and Other Poems 1977-2000 is a generous revelation of Stephen Kessler's heteroformalist poetics.
From the erotic to the satiric, the surreal to the prosaic, the journalistic to the intimate, the sentimental to the cynical, the epigrammatic to the incantatory, the author's versatility, passion, wit and imagination are alive on every page.
"Kessler's style," critic Valerie Ross wrote of his previous collection, After Modigliani, "spans a remarkable breadth of paradoxical perspectives: He is an epicure and a perfectionist, a social critic and a romantic visionary, a postmodern philosopher and a street musician singing the eternal songs of the human soul." Three books in one, this companion volume shows the continuing evolution of a spirited poet in his prime.
Review: "Stephen Kessler gives poetic form to those 'endangered deities' threatened by disappearance in the oblivion of the rapid California globalized Now. A love poet of sensitive memory, he constructs his poems as bastions of feeling amid crumbling values and collapsing affirmations."
-Jack Hirschman, author of Endless Threshold
"Stephen Kessler's wry observations on the contemporary world, his existential awareness of its ironies and exigencies, are often caustic, sometimes painful, always urbane. His fluid and sensual love poems reveal a passion for life that delights."
-Maude Meehan, author of Chipping Bone
"Kessler has mapped the emotional expanses determined by the harsh borders of longing and loss, sexual attraction and release, mystical union and mystical dissolves, and his poems - by turns tender, ironic, furious, and wry - pulse with the soulful syncopation of the heart."
-Gary Young, author of No Other Life
Bio: STEPHEN KESSLER is the author of six previous books and chapbooks of original poetry and ten of translation from Spanish. His poems, translations, essays, criticism and journalism have appeared widely and variously in literary magazine and alternative newspapers for more than thirty years. He lives in Northern California, where he edits The Redwood Coast Review.