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VALENTINE PLACE: Poems Paperback – February 5, 1996

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Infidelity, failed marriage, attempted romance, elusive trysts, American Jewish identity and boyhood's lost innocence absorb the attention of the middle-aged, middle-class New York City man whose lightly ironic voice speaks in Lehman's third poetry collection. On the whole, however, the poems stall in facile philosophizing (" 'Sometimes what you thought was an interruption/ Turns out to be your life' "), a too-clever tone and a tired formula of male-female interaction ("His mind was the most masculine part of him./ She told him, hating herself for loving him"). Flashes of rich sardonic insight and occasional biting observations, such as in the poetry-focused "Wedding Song," prevent the collection from sinking under its own weight.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Lehman's (series editor of Best American Poetry) poems explore the idiosyncrasies of love and marriage, separation and divorce. Many of the poems possess a witty outlook and others push to the extreme of sarcasm; however, Lehman allows us to contribute our own definition of love. These poems reveal how "life is a public event," and we must confess to ourselves as well as to our friends and lovers that "love is a speechless joy/That lasts until it dies." After reading these poems, we realize "there's a shiver of mortality in the air." We should walk away from them, forlorn over our willingness to let down that which is most important. However, Lehman asserts that "ten years later he was still sleeping/With one woman while dreaming of another." Is there justice in keeping a faithful marriage when the resolve to faithfulness has long died? The author examines this question while allowing us to provide the answer. Recommended for poetry collections of larger public libraries.?Tim Gavin, Episcopal Acad., Merion, Pa.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (February 5, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684822792
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684822792
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,331,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
David Lehman runs a reading series, writes criticism, and edits anthologies, but what he does best is write poems, and Valentine Place is a brilliant collection of some of his best work. Lehman's poems are funny, moving, and full of drama. He is a master of many forms, yet the work itself never seems formal or stilted. Read "Wedding Song," the villanelle that opens the book ("Poetry is a criticism of life/As a jailbreak is a criticism of prison"), to sample what the book has to offer. "A Little History," "Dark Passage," and the title sequence are among the book's highlights. Sex, love, death, politics, baseball---Valentine Place has it all. My only complaint is that there are none of Lehman's sestinas in this book---he's written some of the best.
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By A Customer on April 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
"Sometimes what you thought was an interruption/Turns out to be your life./And sometimes what you thought was your life/Turns out to have been an interruption./and yet you have to act/As if you were back in the fourth grade/And knew the right answer was Pittsburgh/But put down Bethlehem just to see what would happen-/How it would be feel to be wrong."
One reviewer termed the lines facile. They saved my life.
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Format: Paperback
Without question, the depth of emotion revealed and examined by this poet is remarkable. I laughed and cried with recognition. The book drew the feelings out of me. I felt the poet's joy pain misery and glorious resolutions and made them my own. No better choice for the lovestruck or lovelorn in this reviewer's opinion. Get it today.
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