Stuart Kestenbaum, author of Only Now, Prayers & Run-on Sentences, and House of Thanksgiving, which came out in 2003. All these books are available on this Website. Read more about Stuart on the Only Now page.
What pleasures are to be found and found again in Stuart Kestenbaum’s tender, attentive poems! They testify with assured lyric grace to the beauty always to be found in the homely, to the "golden days of the dump" which the nostalgic gulls remember as they survey the officious organization of the present, to the transformation of maple sugaring "so sweet/...I can’t believe I could/ have been a part of it." For me, this work is profoundly satisfying—it never rests on the easiest part of images or ideas or music, but presses on toward a deep grasp of the poet’s choices of how to live and what to love.
Stuart Kestenbaum says in one poem he is a simple man, but this book assures us he is also a man of wry wisdom and imagination. With humor and compassion, he finds mystery in the mundane, and celebrates our shared humanity "stained with those things that feed us while we are here"--the natural world, family, "the graffiti of dreams, the rust of education." In the beautiful sequence that ends the book, Kestenbaum creates for our longing and grief a series of houses which, like tabernacles, enlarge our vision and allow us to glimpse the divine. Here angels move "past irony into full-on love" and we can, with all our jumbled prayers, approach that edge "where this world flows into the next." These poems are a cause for thanksgiving.