Provocations by David Schloss


“Provocations” explores arguments about literary and spiritual Creations, through definitions of selves and others, and the self with others. Questions of resistance and transcendence, both internal and interpersonal, and to the “facts” of our existence are addressed throughout. Questions about mortality are the convergent points, ultimately, of the ‘provocations’ in the self-questioning that is the central thrust of the text.



“David Schloss seems to be reinventing classical forms and meter to speak profound truths on vital issues of our day.  But for all this he hasn’t lost the cool, calm lyricism of his love poems and quirky meditations on how the world happened to turn out the odd way it did.”  —John Ashbery

“David Schloss delivers a blistering “report” on disaster and war. This is a monumental and challenging work, wider in scope, yet readers will be pleased that his customary rigor, polish  and sometimes strikingly lyrical turns of phrase are in evidence. Reflective and big-hearted as well, they are the work of a mature, passionate, deeply engaged artist.” —Lesley Hardy

While impassioned gods cast their eyes over the entire collection, the core is a human-sized trial of long memory, and a tense conversation about a marriage in ruins. This book is a cry in the dark, a calling upon clearly rattled faith… and ‘the greater pain of our wandering.’ —Erica Reid


Outside Phoenix

Blindfolded, beside a ravine,
cold winds within a darkness
beating into wet open wounds,
a people gathering, sucking up
so much of their virtual worlds
they find inside this unreal one,

these dying wander into craters,
eaten forever in stadiums full of
dust and weapons creating death

on this earth: whatever wretched
prayer they place to placate them,
halfway hesitant, bright, halftone,

they’ll always have their religions,
until it’s just them crawling home
in a daze, into some farther room.


David SchlossDavid Schloss was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1944, and educated at Columbia University, The University of Southern California Cinema School, Brooklyn College (BA), and The Iowa Writers Workshop (MFA). He taught at the University of Cincinnati and Miami University (Ohio) from which he retired as Emeritus Professor of English in December, 2014.

He has published five full-length poetry collections:

The Beloved (Ashland Poetry Press, 1973), Sex Lives of the Poor and Obscure, (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2001), Group Portrait from Hell (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2009), Reports from Babylon and Beyond (Dos Madres Press), 2015), The Heartbeat as an Ancient Instrument (Dos Madres Press, 2020; plus three chapbooks, Legends (The Windmill Press, 1976), Greatest Hits (Pudding House Press, 2004), Behind the Eyes (Dos Madres Press 2005), as well as scores of poems in literary journals and anthologies over the years.

Additional information

Weight 7.1 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .25 in