Acclaimed as both a poet and a novelist, Nicholas Christopher began publishing poems in The New Yorker in his early twenties. Since then, he has published eight poetry collections. He has been praised over the years, by poets and critics, as one of America’s most important writers. Reviewing his selected poems, Crossing the Equator, the Washington Post wrote, “To read his richly honed and sensuous work, which has so much tensile strength, is to visit other worlds and then to return to our own disturbed time, but also refreshed and reawakened.”
On Jupiter Place is Christopher’s first book since that collection, and its poems are among his most personal and intimate. A section of beautifully lyric and narrative poems is followed by a series of twenty-one interconnected poems set in Paris. The title poem reads almost like a mini-autobiography of the poet’s earliest experiences — his mother’s near fatal illness, his subsequent life with his grandparents in a multiethnic working-class neighborhood, teeming with characters: a Holocaust survivor who resides next door to a former German-American Bund member, a flashy mobster raises his family across the street from a failing car salesman, a night nurse and a domineering widow. Other poems explore issues of travel, love, loss, and death. Christopher draws on his skills as a novelist to construct his long poems and to assemble the intricate sequences at the heart of his collection.