About the Book
An experienced and highly respected poet, Ira Sadoff crafts hard-edged scenes, honed on the stuff of real life. From the unblinking honesty of "My Mother's Funeral" to the cultural worship of "At the Movies," Sadoff carves out, with each remarkable line, an unforgettable sensuousness.
"Beyond the energetic syntax and the astonishing range of idiom and tone, what I so admire in these poems is the just yet always unpredictable weaving together of individual and collective life, the insightful, almost seamless integration of personal experience in all its unredemptive anguish with the heterogeneous realities of American culture." -- Alan Shapiro, on awarding Ira Sadoff the George Bogin Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America.
"Nowhere else in American poetry do I come across a passion, a cunning, and a joy greater than his." -- Gerald Stern
"How heartening to find an already accomplished poet inventing a new voice, with a new richness of experience and insight, and a denser, more intricate music. Reality itself, the reality of the world, and of the soul, seem intensified and renewed in Ira Sadoff's Grazing: a splendid book." -- C. K. Williams
Cover painting: The Innocent Eye Test by Mark Tansey
Too many speak of whip-poor-wills
as if they knew them.
The trout is not my friend.
Oh, I hear a whistling in the trees.
I hear them praying in their tents,
Sunday afternoons. God's creatures:
I don't even know their nesting place.
I suppose I've been a growling dog,
a dusk, a thunderstorm, an ant
creeping up a leg. Spit, testes,
pine sap, sewage, kisses, maple leaf.
God's sopranos, the whip-poor-wills,
sing for hours at a time.
Do you suppose they mate for life?
I hardly know when I'm inside you.
Don't hate the stranger in me.
I also wish the wall of skin
were just another bridge to cross.