Life on Earth by Frederick Seidel

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The second book of an extravagant work-in-progress

What's Joel
Got to do but let the jewel
The light and hook

It to the flesh
It will outlast
And point the staring woman
At a mirror?
--from "The Master Jeweler Joel Rosenthal"

Dante's Divine Comedy begins with a journey through Hell and ends in Heaven. Frederick Seidel's trilogy The Cosmos Poems begins in the heavens and descends.

Life on Earth is the second book in this trilogy. It includes natural and human history, which are the history of the self, and biography, which is the history of everything else, told in vignettes of beauty, sublimity, horror, and regret.

About Frederick Seidel

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Frederick Seidel's previous books of poems include The Cosmos Trilogy; Final Solutions; Sunrise, These Days; and Poems, 1959-1979. He received the 2002 PEN/Voelker Award for Poetry.
Published April 9, 2001 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 80 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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(Here he gives us Joan of Arc, and the lines comment provocatively on the radical naïveté at the heart of any religious fanaticism: “She feels / Her own emptiness but oddly / It feels like love / When you have no insight at all / Except that you are good.”) The author’s more common strategy is to...

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Publishers Weekly

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It spans the heights and depths of human history, from space travel to the Nazi regime, from Hollywood to Polynesia to ""James Baldwin in Paris."" Seidel is at his best here when teasing the psychological out of the political: ""Joan of Arc"" explains, with deliberate anachronism, ""Nobody wants ...

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