This Constellation Is a Name – Collected Poem 1965 – 2010.
Publication date: May 1, 2012
Nightboat Books; Distributed by UPNE (www.upne.com)
Paper │ $22.95
6 x 9″ │ 600 pages │ Poetry
A landmark volume gathering 45 years of work by one of our leading poets
From his early spare poems written in Spain to the recent ruminative work exploring language, tradition (often Jewish and diasporic) and the self, this book collects four decades of Michael Heller’s “tone perfect poems” as George Oppen described them. Enriched with the detailed landscapes of the phenomenal world and mind, This Constellation Is a Name confirms Michael Heller’s place at the forefront of contemporary American poetry.
If any readers of poetry doubt that eros and ethos are opposites that can only exist in each other’s mutual embrace, then Michael Heller’s This Constellation is a Name will come as genuine revelation. Seldom has the erotic gift of intimate portrayal coincided so fully with the ethical gift of objective attention.—Dan Beachy-Quick
a collected poems like this offers is the revelation of a life of poetry and what such a life can mean in discovering and creating the details of a world too often hidden from us by its legislated realities. In this pursuit Michael Heller takes his place alongside “Objectivist” predecessors like Williams and Oppen, to emerge here as the conduit of personal and historical memories and visions that make a rich and needed composition for his time and ours. He stands in this with the very best among us. —Jerome Rothenberg
“To conceive otherwise,” says Michael Heller, is the poet’s essential task, to which he has apprenticed himself for nearly fifty years. No matter if the poem is brief or extended, the line long or short, the setting Manhattan or the Colorado Rockies, a lost Bialystok or an imagined Tibet—what arises from the page is an action of mind, an asking, questing trajectory, tracked with uncanny surety by movement of the poetic line. This is no language-locked adventure, but an impassioned, ethical listening to the mind—and the world—at work in words. —Susan Tichy
Full-throated praise for this remarkable accomplishment, a generous tome of over a half century’s life and astute consciousness in poetry. Michael Heller is one of our best poets and thinkers who has carried Oppen’s dictum that poetry embodies “precise information on existence” forward. His erudition and scope astound: Jewish mysticism finds company with Baudelaire and Tibet His modes are various and true, and constellate fully realized an experimental/ philosophical/profound Lyric. —Anne Waldman