“He brings something ancient and compelling . . . a kind of rare Sephardic wisdom, a brilliance traveling at the speed of Los Angeles light. He is one of America’s very best poets. A true visionary.”—Tomaz Salamun
“Angel’s poems are deceptively quiet, deceptively calm. Beneath their carefully constructed surfaces, they are wild, even intimidating. The power of restraint in poetry cannot be overestimated. . . . These poems burn from within.”—Carol Muske-Dukes, LA Times
With the publication of his award-winning volumes, Anxious Latitudes, Neither World, and Twice Removed, Ralph Angel has won the admiration of readers of contemporary poetry for the extraordinary abstract lyricism of his poems. There is a superb grace, speculative intelligence, and a wry philosophical wisdom to Angel’s poetry. There are few poets so accomplished at creating an elegant yet innovative and provocative voice. Now, in Ralph Angel’s Exceptions and Melancholies: Poems 1986–2006, we find ourselves again in the presence of poetry that will move us even closer to a new and renewed promise of the American sublime. As Mark Doty has written, “These are the poems of a casual, down-to-earth philosopher who’s been spun around and turned inside out by loss, by the desolation of life in the late [and early] hours of the century. . . . Angel’s poems are stamped indelibly with the mark of a unique, shaping imagination, and they’re fresh with news of how it feels to live right now. He creates himself and his poems’ characters, strange people in a strangely familiar place. We recognize them, of course, as well we might since they are ourselves and the city where they live is ours.
Ralph Angel is the author of three previous collections of poetry: Anxious Latitudes; Neither World, which received the 1995 James Laughlin Award of The Academy of American Poets; and Twice Removed; as well as a translation of Federico García Lorca’s Poem of the Deep Song.
Angel’s poems have appeared in scores of magazines and anthologies, both here and abroad, and recent literary awards include a gift from the Elgin Cox Trust, a Pushcart Prize, the 2003 Willis Barnstone Poetry Translation Prize, a Fulbright Foundation fellowship, and the Bess Hokin Award of the Modern Poetry Association.
Mr. Angel is the Edith R. White Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Redlands, and a member of the MFA Program in Writing faculty at Vermont College. Originally from Seattle, he lives in Los Angeles.