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Dreamlife of a Philanthropist (ND Ernest Sandeen Prize Poetry) Paperback – February 15, 2011

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About the Author

Janet Kaplan is the author of two previous poetry collections, The Groundnote and The Glazier's Country, and her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, online and in print. She is the recipient of the Poets Out Loud Prize from Fordham University Press, the Alice James Books New England and New York prize, and grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Vogelstein Foundation, and Rattapallax Press (The Godot Grant in Poetry). She teaches at Hofstra University and Fordham University, where she is currently Poet in Residence.

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Product Details

  • Series: ND Ernest Sandeen Prize Poetry
  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press; 1st edition (February 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0268033226
  • ISBN-13: 978-0268033224
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,309,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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In her third full-length poetry collection, Dreamlife of a Philanthropist, Janet Kaplan has created a smart and mischievous world. In prose poems and prose sonnets that fill the book, titles often sit at the bottom of the page as if she were serving the reader a dish on a platter and saying, "Try this." And each poem seems to serve up a quirky universe concerned only with its own laws and logic. Between the "ant-infested" covers of the book, roams an intellectual wildness, such as in "Life and Times": "I began like hens in sunlight, their brief souls in which there is almost a spark. I'm winding down like a basement: shelves of urns and tablets, ashtrays, human forms." Certain poems have a fable-like quality to them, as in the title poem of the book, but this fable is turned on its ear, refusing earnestness: "In the dream, God so loves the world the people are turned to fish. Jellyfish, suitable for inlets. The birds naturally remain birds. Suitable for trees, which remain trees." Other poems detonate quietly with opening likes like, "Old Rose and her toenail's length of luck. A tooth--false but hers--screwed into her jaw. A titanium screw that will outlast Styrofoam and Rose" ("Rose World"). Or "Cake"--which is both disturbing, downright weird and also manages to tell unflinchingly about the tug-of-war between mother and daughter. The matter-of-fact, almost surgical coolness of the narrator often allows her to prod and pinch the world she is in but not without a love for it--a restless hope that allows the poems to sing even while their thesis sets out to prove uneasiness. "Fourteen lines with fewer cares than raindrops/ About to be devoured by a rose" ("Fourteen Lines") is Kaplan's own reference to the sonnet form she revises in her prose sonnets and is an apt display of the illuminating wit pervading this daring and imaginative collection of poems.
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Format: Paperback
Are you telling me that in the months since this book was published, there has only been ONE review, and that not so surprisingly from someone whose own book was favorably reviewed ("a magician!") by the current author? Poetry is in worse shape than I'd imagined! (Personally I recommend Giacomo Leopardi, who is safely dead and therefore incorruptible, as paradoxical as that may sound.)
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