By John Godfrey
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
ISBN# 9781940696317 (6x9 192pp, paperback)
ISBN# 9781940696263 (6x9 192pp, limited edition hardcover)
John Godfrey's masterful body of work has sustained its attentive, lovesick, unruly energy for over 50 years. The City Keeps: Selected and New Poems 1966-2014 brings together the best poems from his 13 collections, plus some previously uncollected. "Dedicated to those who people the City of New York," Godfrey's work is populated, elusive, and geometric, but also full of tenderness and light.
While selected poem collections are often problematic because the selected poems are displaced from the resonances they had with their original manuscripts, Godfrey’s poems resist losing any of their original verve because of their stubborn peculiarity, continual formal invention, and unerring logic.
Jess Mynes, The Poetry Project
Godfrey has rather skirted along at the fringes of small press publishing for decades, all the while steadily amassing a significant body of work. While his poems indeed never sound anything other than truly original, his influence is clear upon many younger poets, especially those with some New York affiliation who no doubt came of age making their way through Godfrey's work. With this Selected and New, Godfrey's poems are assured to have an even broader lasting impact.
Patrick James Dunagan, Bookslut
Though there are various ways to sum up a career, Godfrey… and Wave have wisely taken the greatest hits route with this thorough and emotionally stirring volume.
Unlike Frank O’Hara and Ted Berrigan, whose poems are also inspired by the city, specifically New York, Godfrey seems more interested in capturing layers of atmosphere in his poems than in writing about himself and his life. . . . His poems are more like patterns than traditional narratives, suggesting an attitude over a story.
John Godfrey was born in Massena, N.Y. in 1945. He is the author of 14 collections of poetry, including The City Keeps: Selected and New Poems 1966-2014 (Wave Books, May 2016). He received an A.B. from Princeton University in 1967, and took a B.S. in Nursing from Columbia University in 1994. He has received fellowships from the General Electric Foundation (1984), the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (2009), and the Z Foundation (2013). He retired in 2011 after 17 years as a nurse clinician in HIV/AIDS. He has lived in the East Village of Manhattan since the 1960s.
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