If this World Falls Apart
"Startling and vital", as Lou Lipsitz says of a friend's music, are words best suited to his own poems. One by one they seize the reader and express their vibrant meanings.
- Elizabeth Spencer
A grave serenity attends the poems in Lou Lipsitz's If This World Falls Apart. Like an archeologist of the heart, Lipsitz examines those obdurate fragments the past tosses 'into the shattered / treasure house of another day,' and reassembles them with a clear—eyed, buoyant affection. This book is a gift.
- Gary Young
There are no contrivances in these poems, no easy answers.Lou Lipsitz takes us down, down, down where everything is stripped away. Whether he’s writing about fatherhood or marriage or dreams or the transformative power of grief, Lipsitz brings a sharp eye and a courageous heart.
- Sy Safransky, editor, The Sun
He evokes the poets of the ages…all of them cutting to the heart of things with “poetry’s dark knife.”
- Dorianne Laux
Lou Lipsitz's most recent book of poetry, "If This World Falls Apart," is by turns serious and witty, sorrowful and joyful. It takes both artistry and courage to write poems like these---and I was pulled along, wanting to read the next one and the next. This does not mean that I thought they were easy, or merely entertaining---although they were actually a pleasure to read, even the painful ones. (Perhaps they are all painful). Here is a poet, aging but still youthful and in love with life, who wants to communicate rather than obfuscate. He speaks not only of the loves, regrets and losses of a lifetime, but of the restorative power of poetry itself.
- Caroline Trippe, painter, writer and illustrator
Lou Lipsitz has been publishing excellent poetry for over forty years, and it is fascinating to watch how his work has evolved in those decades: the spare, lean poems which make up his first powerful collection, COLD WATER (Wesleyan University Press, 1967) have filled out and become more narrative in the intervening years… while the poems often appear to be sprung from very personal, singular experiences, he has the deft ability of a master craftsman to turn the poem--sometimes in a mere line or two--into an awareness or observation that seems to encompass all of humanity, moving us to read our own experiences in these lines.
- Michael Hanson, author of Nate’s New Age and other novels
Seeking the Hook
"He's in the boat along with crazy Hungarian aunts and Brooklyn grandfathers. But he's in the water more and more, a large fish longing for the hook of truth."
- Robert Bly
"These are poems of clarity, wit and passion. the best of them are the equal of anything being written now in America. In his first book of poems in 20 years, Lou Lipsitz has again turned out splendid and evocative work.
- George Hitchcock
Lou Lipsitz...has written with an acute consciousness of men's’ issues for many years....In poems spanning 30 years, SEEKING THE HOOK demonstrates the depth and power of Lipsitz’ honesty and toughness. In his story-telling, self-knowledge and lack of naivete, Lipsitz is reminiscent of two other contemporary fabulists, David Ignatow and Louis Jenkins. Every reader will find something here to touch his or her heart with pain or delight.”
- From a review in DRAGONSMOKE published by the Ally Press
which focuses on literature related to “men’s work”
So many poets begin in a a burst of glory - and then their subsequent books are weaker and weaker. It is as if all they had to say, all their originality went into the first book. The rest is imitation and repetition. So it is a pleasure to encounter after a long hiatus between books, these new and selected poems by Lou Lipsitz....The new poems are bolder and fresher than anything he accomplished before. Part of the freshness is his imagery; the fishhook of the title poem is “a beautiful lie” too powerful for the fish to resist. A middle-aged man experiencing spring has an inner eye “Like the top of a convertible...drawn back.” A brooding poet is “anxious like the patient in the dentist’s chair about to get the injection, or the welfare family waiting for the third eviction notice.” An estranged husband trembles in his narrow bed “like an auto part in a dusty box.”
Moreover his subject matter has broadened. Lipsitz is not your usual MFA academic poet... The new poems deal with such topics as divorce. abandonment, father-child relationships and male bonding.
Lipsitz's separation and divorce obviously inspired a number of these poems, and we follow a persona from pain and loneliness to release.
SEEKING THE HOOK is a remarkable comeback from someone who obviously never went away. It’s a book that was well worth the wait.
- Robert Phillips, in THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE
"Of Lou Lipsitz' first volume little need be said except buy, read, be grateful, for this is the pure, renewing elixir, 200 proof, coming out of nowhere like children's wisdom...Lipsitz continually gives us...outrageously predictable rightness..."
- Barry Spacks, POETRY
"This awareness, the quality of toughness, helps Lipsitz in his political poems to overcome the mass of rhetoric that surrounds the issues...he penetrates beyond the abstractions ...rediscovering the individual and his fate..."
- Charles Simic, kayak
"It is invigorating to read poetry from as sure a hand as Lipsitz...the distinctive poet's mark is a quiet and often comical surrealism...At times the poet seems to defy the structures of the poems...and the scenarios proposed, while absurd are pointed and meaningful."