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 poets. 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 by 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 constructed lyric and narrative poems is followed by a series of twenty-one interconnected poems set in a Paris that is both real and nearly real. 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, death. There is a “notebook” that chronicles, by way of short poetry entries, the turbulent, reflective year after the poet’s father dies, and a long poem in which we take a feminist look at Lois Lane as a cultural icon. As in all his poetry books, Christopher draws on his skills as a novelist to construct his long poems and to assemble the intricate sequences at the heart of this collection. As W.S. Merwin has written: “His poems are vibrant with light and the surprise of recognition. He shows us again and again the luminous nature of the familiar.” On Jupiter Place is a rich, powerful collection from one of our premier poets.
On Jupiter Place
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NICHOLAS CHRISTOPHER is the author of the acclaimed novels Franklin Flyer, A Trip to the Stars, Veronica, and The Soloist and eight poetry collections, including Crossing the Equator: New and Selected Poems 1972-2004. He teaches at Columbia University and New York University and lives in New York City.