The Re-Learning

James Humphrey, Helical Press, Providence, 1976; 85 pages; cover art by Jay Bolotin

“In his best poems, James Humphrey takes such risks and dares such simplicity that as nearly as possible he succeeds in saying the unsayable. It would be foolish and ridiculous to call his work sentimental. What it says is attained by crashing into raw feeling head-on, and somehow coming out the other side. It doesn't always work, but when it does it can raise the hair.” –Andrew Glaze

“The poetry of James Humphrey is direct and personal in tone and subject. Here is a poetry that does not evade and at its best suggests important confrontations.”–James Schevill

“I find James Humphrey’s poems very personal and emotionally honest—which is not always the same thing. They work more powerfully for me in a cumulative way—that is, as the life they directly come out of unfolds and begins to ramify in my mind, the voice of the man behind the words becomes familiar, dependable, and sweetened by his uses of joy and adversity. Reading Humphrey is like making a friend.” –Theodore Solotaroff


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