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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

Book cover for Act V Scene I
Book cover for Act V Scene IBook cover for Act V Scene I

Vibrant new poems from the award-winning nonagenarian poet who Rosanna Warren calls "Undaunted, outrageously alive..."

At 95 years old, Stanley Moss, winner of the 2016 National Jewish Book Award for Poetry, is writing some of the best poems of his life. Enclosed in Act V, Scene I are new poems written in 2018 through early 2020 and some rediscovered earlier poems never-before published.

Death is ugly, to hold Christ's dying
for all of us is beautiful. I believe
in the nothingness of everything--crumbs
ashes, the date, dust, under a female moon.
I consider notes, words, pigments,
rocks have a certain significance.
Bet your life creation is inconsequential.
I read Goethe for beautiful meanings.
Seeing one painting, he wrote, changed his life.
What can one person do? Damn proximity,
compose before you decompose,
shout help! help! in the ear of Moses,
make a hero of an ant in a wild rose.
—from "A Shout" in Act V Scene 1

Book cover for Act V Scene I
Book cover for Act V Scene IBook cover for Act V Scene I

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“Open Act V, Scene I or any of Stanley Moss's books anywhere, and you will come shockingly upon wisdom and beauty, a diversity of styles--a unity of voice, a voice that was there since the begninning. I love Stanley Moss's work. The pace, the strategy, the wit, the knowledge are astonishing. Of the generation that is gradually leaving us, those born in the mid- and late-1920s, he has a prominent place. He loves donkeys. He owns Ted Roethke's raccoon coat. He is an original.”

“Magisterial. . . this book is magnificent. I've read it several times with greater and greater pleasure. Its verbal generosity and bravura, its humaity, the quality and quantity of information which it generates into poetry of the highest order make it a continuing delight.”

“I've loved Stanley's poems since I first encountered a poem of his in Poetry magazine in John Berryman's office when I was nineteen.”

“These are poems made of experience and high intellect. From the first measured trope to the last haunting moment, in which God equals a question, these poems curse and sing about the blessings and tragedies of personal life. Embracing the larger world, they're also hardy psalms that make me say, Thanks for this important, gutsy collection.”

“Like any sensible person, I've been reading Stanley Moss's poetry for many years, during which time the force of his work—its liveliness, its swerves and hilarity, the rich religious, artistic, and literary references, and its vivid, sensual worldliness—has never diminished an iota. In our epoch of turmoil, crisis, and grief, I find Moss's poetry still, always, brings me a little closer to happiness.”

“Moss rewrites the received idea of religion and the religious poet: his psalms may be exactly the new songs needed to illuminate sombre new times.”

Stanley Moss

Born in New York City, Stanley Moss was educated at Trinity College and Yale University. He has been writing poetry for over a half-century. In addition, Moss is a private art dealer specializing in Italian and Spanish old masters, as well as the publisher and editor of The Sheep Meadow Press, a non-profit publishing house devoted to poetry. Moss lives in Clintondale and River Corners, New York.