Valse Triste Songs and Ballads

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Poetry by the author of Blackbird, Metropolitan Icons, and Holderlin and the Golden Chain of Homer.


"One never forgets that the poems in Emery George’s brilliant collection Valse Triste are songs hallucinatory, highly melodic, and free-spirited, almost begging one, as it were, to hum along. This is not to say that technique alone distinguishes these poems: George is an accomplished poet who is able to take the reader in by promising more and more in each verse and delivering a philosophical and spiritual denouement in his final words. He steers clear of didacticism, allowing subject and theme to unravel freely. Spanning the work of three decades, these poems, for the most part are reactions to ‘calamitous news’ during the past thirty years, notably ‘Ballad of the Oklahoma Bomber’ and ‘Song of Jessica.’ A number of poems are reactions to great literature: for example, Goethe’s Faust and the Faust tradition. The opening poem in the section entitled ‘songs from Faustus’ is a hilarious satire on the intellectual snobs in the Ivy League. . . . The result is profound and touching. . . . In short, George’s collection should garner numerous awards." World Literature Today

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