The Regatta in the Skies

Selected Long Poems

Title Details

Pages: 192

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 01/01/1999

ISBN: 9-780-8203-2035-9

List Price: $19.95

Related Subjects

POETRY / American / General

The Regatta in the Skies

Selected Long Poems

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  • Description
  • Reviews

The Regatta in the Skies is a wonderful, complex collection of the best long poems from each phase of Laurence Lieberman's distinguished but still developing career, from his midwestern American childhood to his travels to the exotic landscapes of the underwater world, Japan, and the Caribbean.

In a number of recent poems, Lieberman view islands of the West Indies through the eyes of intriguing local artists. Using cross-cultural relationships on individual and national levels to create a new kind of "poetry as witness," he weaves stories into the poems. No less engaging than his subjects are his cadences, ordered in intricately textured lines and original syllabic stanza patterns.

"Orange County Plague: Scenes" focuses on the plight of the orange trees in southern California, blending motifs of politics, social history, civil rights of ethnic minorities, and the mythology surrounding them with descriptions of nature and landscape. This linked progression of seventeen poems, structured like a sonnet sequence, establishes the primacy of place in Lieberman's continuing canon.

The longest poems deal with Jamaica, but others take as their settings a number of the smaller Caribbean islands, including Montserrat. In the poem "The Factories of Bay Leaf and Lime" Lieberman celebrates instinctive beauties of Montserrat's culture and workplace, and helps memorialize its national character at a time when the entire country is threatened with extinction by a volcano.

The Regatta in the Skies is a bold and unforgettable collection from a poet at the top of his form.

He has the grace to make his voyage into the eye of the world and bring back a communion for the reader. Lieberman is a poet who serves the spirit of life.

American Poetry Review

Laurence Lieberman represents the new generation of cosmopolitan poets whose themes and imagery cover every region of a wide experience. A poet of strong and brilliant creative energy, he bears comparison to no other American poet of our time. Like Walt Whitman or the French poet St. John Perse, Lieberman is best enjoyed in long strong drafts, not in quoted particles.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Lieberman's writing is without boundary. It's hard to name a more distinctive and original American poet working today.

Chicago Sun-Times

Lieberman's poems are made edgy by history—there is a saving impatience here with history's unspeakable lessons. . . . Yet, in the end, what shapes these poems the most is a humane warmth and humor which serve to underwrite all the wonderfully imagined narratives.

Partisan Review

There is such a fullness to his art that our reading becomes as much an adventure as the voyage itself—breathless, invigorating, enlightening.

Publishers Weekly

Lieberman is most satisfying as a descriptive poet of the senses, and his discovered measure serves that talent beautifully, winding sinuously down the page. He is wholly, perilously, at the service of the world—and so able to engage everything on a primary, rapt level.


Among the few genuinely narrative American poets writing today, Lieberman is never likely to intrude on subject matter. His responsibility is to depiction, his inclination to describe. . . . The point of view is unique. This narrator gives the impression that he must assimilate everything and speak of it with the celebratory zeal of Walt Whitman.

Hudson Review

As a poet, Laurence Lieberman has made his presence an important one on the American literary scene. These are poems that can't resist their own stories. While many contemporary narrative poems find their origins in a theory of narrative, a defiant decision to invoke narrative, then to search for a story to tell, Lieberman seems always to ‘naturally' yield to a basic human need for story.

—Bin Ramke, author of Massacre of the Innocents

About the Author/Editor

LAURENCE LIEBERMAN is a professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of eleven volumes of poetry, including Dark Songs: Slave House and Synagogue, and his work has appeared in the New Yorker, American Poetry Review, and the Hudson Review.