Rudman skillfully explores his own life and past.
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry (1995)
Mark Rudman – poet, essayist, translator, and teacher – has consistently pursued questions of human relationship and identity, and in Rider he takes the poetry of autobiography and confessional to a new plane. In a polyphonic narrative that combines verse with lyrical prose and often humorous dialogue, Rudman examines his own coming-of-age through the lens of his relationships with his grandfather, father, step-father, and son. These memories emerge against the background of a family history anchored in the traditions of Judaism and the culture of the diaspora.
"An elegant, elegiac poem that recovers his relationship with his rabbi stepfather . . . a formal tour de force in which grief, memory and passion are dramatically played out."~Publishers Weekly
"A new departure in autobiographically confessional poetry . . . Relationships and characterizations are unfolded with brilliant boldness. It is striking the way this work evolves into a moving elegy for the stepfather, a rabbi manqué, in this brave, very American work."~M. L. Rosenthal
""With this lively, sometimes funny, sometimes very moving book, Rudman confirms his reputation as one of the most interesting young poets now at work. He can take intractably squalid details and bully them until they yield an undeniable magic.""~New England Review
""An elegant, elegiac poem that recovers his relationship with his rabbi stepfather . . . a formal tour de force in which grief, memory and passion are dramatically played out.""~Publishers Weekly
""A dynamic, passionate, many-textured dialogue between a writer and his ghosts, obsessive, caustic, grieving, and witty . . . the fierce dialogue between the writer and his voices propels the poem forward with psychic complexity and emotional continuity.""~Harvard Review