“In the dynamic, sensual language of these poems, we are reminded that the history of atrocity, trauma, and forgetting is both global and ancient; but we are reminded, too, of the beauty and richness of culture and the resilience of love.”—Pulitzer Prize committee
(2016 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry
“Balakian is blessed with an eerie ability to connect seemingly unrelated events separated by vast amounts of time and space. . . . Balakian’s work is one of contrasts: the contrast between day and night, earth and sky, love and hate, the temporary and eternal, between inner war and outer peace.”
(Alexander Oliver The Literary Review
“Balakian is a master of—the drifting, split-second mirage, the cinematic dissolve and cross-cut as well as the sculptural, statuesque moment chiseled out of consonant blends and an imagistic, jazzman’s ear for vowels. . . . Beautiful, haunting, plaintive, urgent. In our dying world’s age, these poems legislate a vital comportment to the demands of our shared present, timely and untimely both.”
(Keith Jones Consequence
“While Balakian’s essays [Vise and Shadow] reveal the ways history and its discontents inscribe themselves in the smallest features of familiar texts, his poems [Ozone Journal] offer a mournful silence in the face of these social upheavals, and their aftermath, that is only possible within the realm of art. Readers will find both texts equally necessary and equally moving.”
(Kristina Marie Darling Colorado Review
"[Ozone Journal] is a mix of intense sensory, even sensual, experience and cerebral force, the verse both meditative and urgent. Balakian’s long lines pick up and draw out thoughts, clauses, notes, in the rhythms of exploratory prose, then snap back at unexpected line-breaks, maintaining a gut-level as well as an intellectual tension."
(Jamie Osborne PN Review
“Few American poets of the boomer generation have explored the interstices of public and personal history as deeply and urgently as has Balakian, and his significance as a poet of social consciousness is complemented by his work in other genres.”
(David Wojahn Tikkun
"In his new book, Ozone Journal, Balakian masterfully does the things nobody else does―derange history into poetry, make poetry painting, make painting culture, make culture living―and with a historical depth that finds the right experience in language."
(Bruce Smith, author of Devotions