Bart Edelman’s latest poetry collection, The Geographer’s Wife, explores how our sense of environment creates and frames the world we choose to inhabit. The speakers in Edelman’s poems perpetually find themselves in conflict with the world around them. The choices they make sometimes free them to discover a life full of promise, sometimes cast them into uncertainty, and sometimes condemn them to regression. Again and again, the landscapes they visit serve as both boundary and horizon. This sense of place—east, west, north, and south—directs the physical and spiritual movements we often take for granted, as we pass through the days and nights that dictate each one of our journeys.
Bart Edelman is currently a professor of English at Glendale College, where he edits Eclipse, A Literary Journal. His poetry appears frequently in newspapers and journals, as well as in textbooks and anthologies published by City Lights Books, Etruscan Press, Harcourt Brace, McGraw-Hill, Simon & Schuster, Thomson/Heinle, the University of Iowa Press, and Wadsworth. He teaches poetry workshops across the United States and was poet-in-residence at Monroe College of the State University at New York. Collections of his work include Crossing the Hackensack (Prometheus Press, 1993), Under Damaris’ Dress (Lightning Press, 1996), The Alphabet of Love (Red Hen Press, 1999), The Gentle Man (Red Hen Press, 2001), and The Last Mojito (Red Hen Press, 2005). He was born in Paterson, New Jersey, and currently resides in Pasadena, California.
“The way magnetism draws the needle of a compass, yearning pulls the poems in this collection through the cardinal directions of a world in which time is not linear but circular, cyclical. Hunger draws lost loved ones to the table, calls lovers away from home and onto the open road. A peculiarly American manifest destiny directs Colonel Sanders to proselytize chicken trinity to the streets, while Raggedy Ann rips her stockings and aches for danger. Quirky characters, popular culture, and memory align here in a topography at once hilarious and haunting. Bart Edelman’s The Geographer’s Wife orients the reader in the body as a map of desire, where the individual life becomes a locus of its own, a point from which the world demarcates itself.”—Amy Sage Webb, editor, Flint Hills Review
“Bart Edelman’s sixth book, The Geographer’s Wife, is chock-full of stunning, stand-out poems. In ‘Holiday,’ the poet explores the soulful textures of loss present in the first Mother’s Day after his mother has passed. In another, the poet compares modern dating to ‘The New Math,’ a system that has changed so profoundly as to make the addition of romance nearly impossible. In this collection, Bart Edelman is single-minded in his purpose. He takes in the popular language of America—East, North, South, and West—and creates buoyant melodies of ‘coolness,’ a popular verbal chill that also diagnoses our deepest troubles—contemporary isolation and a profound longing for love.”—Todd James Pierce, author of Newsworld, winner ofthe Drue Heinz Literary Prize
“Bart Edelman understands how words should taste, how sounds strung with precision can create a universe of meaning far beyond denotation. These poems are etched into mirrors—transparent, but with surprises built to stand up through reading after reading. You will see your reflection smiling back in recognition on every page. With a cast of characters ranging from acrobats on speed to lumberjacks with wings, The Geographer’s Wife is an accomplished collection.”—Tom Chandler, Poet Laureate of Rhode Island emeritus
“I fell in love on first reading The Geographer’s Wife. It promises and delivers—such riches to follow. Then I met Uncle Irv from ‘The Contiguous 48’ and was taken, forever. In this wonderful and wide-ranging collection of poems, Bart Edelman charts the elusive latitudes and longitudes of desire. With antic humor and often rueful insight, he takes the reader on an emotional journey through time and space. So leave your suitcase and your fears behind, pick up your compass and open the door. Adventure awaits!”—Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, author of A Woman of Independent Means