Winner of the 2017 National Jewish Book Award, poetry category
What is it like living today in the chaos of a city that is at once brutal and beautiful, heir to immigrant ancestors "who supposed their children's children would be rich and free?" What is it to live in the chaos of a world driven by "intolerable, unquenchable human desire?" How do we cope with all the wars? In the midst of the dark matter and dark energy of the universe, do we know what train we're on? In this cornucopia of a book, Ostriker finds herself immersed in phenomena ranging from a first snowfall in New York City to the Tibetan diaspora, asking questions that have no reply, writing poems in which "the arrow may be blown off course by storm and returned by miracle."
About the Author
Alicia Suskin Ostriker is a major American poet and critic. She is the author of numerous poetry collections, including, most recently, The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog; The Book of Life: Selected Jewish Poems, 1979–2011; and The Book of Seventy, winner of the National Jewish Book Award. She has received the Paterson Poetry Prize, the San Francisco State Poetry Center Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, and has twice been a finalist for the National Book Award, among other honors. Ostriker teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Drew University and is currently a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
“‘Let us now praise famous cities,’ says Alicia Ostriker in Waiting for the Light. Indeed, let us now praise these poems, their ferocity, tenderness, intelligence, compassion, and joy. A seeker and seer in the tradition of Whitman, Ostriker searches for the ‘light that stabs me with joy’ amid the sidewalks, schoolyards, marketplaces, and many tongues of her beloved New York, spurred by ‘ancestors who remember tenements.’ A walker in the city and a walker in the world, she knows about the flow of dollars and blood through the streets, speaking fearlessly against whoever crushes the body and the spirit. Wait for the light no longer; the light is right here, in the pages of this book.”
“Ostriker so loves the world, its griefs, traumas, praises, mysteries, and joys, that she teaches us to love the world with her—sometimes desperately, heartbrokenly, never despairingly. Ostriker is an essential poet, writing at the height of her powers.”