Cover for Roberts: The Disappearing Trick. Click for larger image
Ebook Information

The Disappearing Trick

Awards and Recognition:

Paterson Award for Literary Excellence, 2008

Sex, saints, loss of loved ones, and acceptance

In The Disappearing Trick, Len Roberts wrestles with the loss of loved ones--whether that loss be through death, a son moving away to college, or simply how people fade from our lives and memories. Hybrids of the narrative and lyric form, these poems are models of indirect statement that have, as Sharon Olds has said, “emotional courage, powerful music, and a deep balance.” Like the light shining on a face, or a girl’s thigh back in a sixth-grade class, the poems often come as Proustian flashes--lasting just a second, but seeming eternal--amid an increasing darkness.


"Autobiography is the mediocre default mode of modern American poetry, yet Roberts, who has mined his dysfunctional family of origin, Catholic schooling, libidinous longings, and other personal tribulations for decades, writes outstanding autobiographical poetry by carefully conjuring the scenes, actions, and sequences of what he reports and letting those details, rather than any stated feelings about them, evoke the reader’s empathy."--Booklist

"When Len Roberts passed away this spring, we lost one of our best narrative poets at the height of his powers."--Virginia Quarterly Review

"As all good poetry does, that of Len Roberts directs one to the inexhaustible potential of human experience as a source of imaginative enlargement, even when that experience is exclusively the author's own. His death last year was a real loss to poetry."--Poetry Salzburg Review

"Roberts’s work is among the most intelligent, moving, and expressive poetry now being written.”--Hayden Carruth

“There is always in [Roberts’s] poems a gentle sensibility, a probing intelligence, and an acute attentiveness to what is urgent in our lives that tempers the poems, and that situates them in that precious space between poet and reader which is our common bond and common exaltation.” --C. K. Williams


Len Roberts’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including the American Poetry Review, the Hudson Review, the Kenyon Review, Poetry, and the Virginia Quarterly Review. His many books include The Silent Singer: New and Selected Poems, The Trouble-Making Finch, and Counting the Black Angels.

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