New Release Books by Brad Leithauser

Brad Leithauser is the author of Rhyme's Rooms (2022), The Promise of Elsewhere (2020), The Oldest Word for Dawn (2013), Darlington's Fall (2012) and other 16 books.

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20 results found

Rhyme's Rooms

release date: Feb 22, 2022
Rhyme's Rooms
From the widely acclaimed poet, novelist, critic, and scholar, a lucid and edifying exploration of the building blocks of poetry and how they''ve been used over the centuries to assemble the most imperishable poems • “Anyone wanting to learn how to remodel, restore, or build a poem from the foundation up, will find this room-by-room guide on the architecture of poetry a warm companion.” —Tomás Q. Morín, author of Machete We treasure our greatest poetry, Brad Leithauser reminds us in these pages, "not for its what but its how." In chapters on everything from iambic pentameter to how stanzas are put together to "rhyme and the way we really talk," Leithauser takes a deep dive into that how—the very architecture of poetry. He explains how meter and rhyme work in fruitful opposition ("Meter is prospective; rhyme is retrospective"); how the weirdnesses of spelling in English are a boon to the poet; why an off rhyme will often succeed where a perfect rhyme would not; why Shakespeare and Frost can sound so similar, despite the centuries separating them. And Leithauser is just as likely to invoke Cole Porter, Stephen Sondheim, or Boz Scaggs as he is Chaucer or Milton, Bishop or Swenson, providing enlightening play-by-plays of their memorable lines. Here is both an indispensable learning tool and a delightful journey into the art of the poem—a chance for new poets and readers of poetry to grasp the fundamentals, and for experienced poets and readers to rediscover excellent works in all their fascinating detail. Portions of this book have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The New York Review of Books.

The Promise of Elsewhere

release date: Feb 25, 2020
The Promise of Elsewhere
A comic novel about a Midwestern professor who tries to prop up his failing prospects for happiness by setting out on the Journey of a Lifetime. Louie Hake is forty-three and teaches architectural history at a third-rate college in Michigan. His second marriage is collapsing, and he''s facing a potentially disastrous medical diagnosis. In an attempt to fend off what has become a soul-crushing existential crisis, he decides to treat himself to a tour of the world''s most breathtaking architectural sites. Perhaps not surprisingly, Louie gets waylaid on his very first stop in Rome--ludicrously, spectacularly so--and fails to reach most of his other destinations. He embarks on a doomed romance with a jilted bride celebrating her ruined marriage plans alone in London. And in the Arctic he finds that turf houses and aluminum sheds don''t amount to much of an architectural tradition. But it turns out that there''s another sort of architecture there: icebergs the size of cathedrals, bobbing beside a strange and wondrous landscape. It soon becomes clear that Louie''s grand journey is less about where his wanderings have taken him and more about where his past encounters with romance have not. Whether pursuing his first wife, or his estranged current wife, or the older woman he kissed just once a quarter-century ago, Louie reveals himself to be endearing, deeply touching, wonderfully ridiculous . . . and destined to find love in all the wrong places.

The Oldest Word for Dawn

release date: Feb 19, 2013
The Oldest Word for Dawn
From one of our most universally admired poets: a generous selection from his five acclaimed books of poetry, and an outstanding group of new poems. From the outset, Brad Leithauser has displayed a venturesome taste for quirky patterns, innovative designs sprung loose from traditional forms. In The Oldest Word for Dawn, we encounter a sonnet in one-syllable lines (“Post-Coitum Tristesse”), a clanging rhyme-mad tribute to the music of Tin Pan Alley (“A Good List”), intricate buried rhyme schemes (“In Minako Wada’s House”), autobiography spun through parodies of Frost and Keats and Omar Khayyám (“Two Summer Jobs”). In a new poem, “Earlier,” the poet investigates a kind of paradox: What is the oldest word for dawn in any language? The pursuit ultimately descends into the roots of speech, the genesis of art. “Earlier” is part of a sequence devoted to prehistoric themes: the cave paintings of Altamira, the disappearance of the Neanderthals, the poet’s journey with his teenage daughter to excavate a triceratops skeleton in Montana . . . The author of six novels as well, Leithauser not surprisingly brings to his verse a flair for compelling narrative: a fateful romantic encounter on a streetcar (“1944: Purple Heart”); the mesmerizing arrival of television in a quiet Detroit neighborhood (“Not Lunar Exactly”); two boys heedlessly, joyfully bidding permanent farewell to a beloved sister (“Emigrant’s Story”). The Oldest Word for Dawn reveals Brad Leithauser as a poet of surpassing tenderness and exactitude, a poet whose work, at sixty, fulfills the promise noted by James Merrill on the publication of his first book: “The observations glisten, the feelings ring true. These poems by a young, unostentatious craftsman are made to something very like perfection. No one should overlook them.”

Darlington's Fall

release date: Nov 21, 2012
Darlington's Fall
The hero of this one-of-a-kind novel is Russel Darlington, a born naturalist and an unlikely romantic hero. We meet him in the year 1895—a seven-year-old boy first glimpsed chasing a frog through an Indiana swamp. And we follow this idealistic, appealing man for nearly forty years: into college and over the Rockies in pursuit of a new species of butterfly; through a clumsy courtship and into a struggling marriage; across the Pacific, where on a tiny, rainy island he suffers a nightmarish accident; through the deaths of friends and family and into a seemingly hopeless passion for an unapproachable young woman. Darlington’s Fall is ultimately a love story. It is written in verse that—vivid, accessible, and lush—imparts an intensity to the story and its luminous gallery of characters: Russel’s rich, taciturn, up-right, guilt-driven father; Miss Kraus, his formidable housekeeper; Ernst Schrock, his maddening, gluttonous mentor; and Pauline Beaudette, the beautiful, ill-starred girl who becomes his wife. Leithauser’s embracingly compassionate outlook invites us into their world—into a past so sharply realized it feels like the present. In Darlington’s Fall, Brad Leithauser offers an ingeniously plotted story and the virtues long associated with his elegant stanzas: wit, music, and a keen eye for the natural world. His independent careers as novelist and poet come together brilliantly here, producing something rare and wonderful in the landscape of contemporary American writing: a book that bends borders, a happy marriage of poetry and fiction.

The Art Student's War

release date: Nov 02, 2010
The Art Student's War
The Art Student''s War is Brad Leithauser''s finest novel to date, deeply moving in its portrayal of a young aspiring artist and her immigrant family during Detroit’s wartime heyday. The year is 1943. Bianca Paradiso is a pretty and ambitious eighteen-year-old studying to be an artist while her bustling, thriving hometown turns from mass-producing automobiles to rolling out fighter planes and tanks. For Bianca, national and personal conflicts begin to merge when she is asked to draw portraits of the wounded young soldiers who are filling local hospitals. Suddenly she must confront lives maimed at their outset as well as her own romantic yearnings, and she must do so at a time when another war—a war within her own family—is erupting.

Curves and Angles

release date: Mar 25, 2009
Curves and Angles
Brad Leithauser’s “most satisfying collection in years” (Library Journal), a bracing poetic journey that begins in a warm, peopled world and concludes in a cooler and more private place, embracing love of the human and natural world in all its states.

A Few Corrections

release date: Dec 18, 2007
A Few Corrections
According to his obituary, Wesley Sultan died at the age of 63, leaving behind three children, a wife, an ex-wife, a brother, a sister, and a life-long business career. According to his obituary, Wesley Sultan led a quiet, respectable, and unremarkable life. Our narrator, however, is about to discover that nothing could be further from the truth. Using Sultan’s obituary as a road map to the unknown terrain of the man himself, our narrator discovers dead-ends, wrong turns, and unexpected destinations in every line. As he travels from the bleak Michigan winter to the steamy streets of Miami to the idyllic French countryside, in search of those who knew Wesley best, he gradually reconstructs the life of an exceptionally handsome, ambitious, and deceptive man to whom women were everything. And as the margins of the obituary fill with handwritten corrections, as details emerge and facts are revised, our mysterious narrator–whose interest in his quarry is far from random–has no choice but to confront the truth of his own life as well.

Toad to a Nightingale

release date: Jan 01, 2007
Toad to a Nightingale
The Leithauser brothers are at it again, which is cause for considerable celebration. The author and illustrator duo of Lettered Creatures, have once more collaborated to produce another witty and worldly confection of light verse and delicate drawings. Toad to a Nightingale is a fantastic catalogue of creatures plant, animal, and object on whom poet Brad Leithauser has bestowed song and spirit and his brother Mark beauty and bodily form. The subjects, grouped under the headings Plant Creatures, Four from the Forest Floor, Periodic Riddles, Furnishings of the Moon, Cosmogonies, and Creature Creatures range from the lyrical but lowly (discounted cantaloupes of "Cantaloupes: ''$1 Each, 3 for $2''") to the utterly unexpected ("An Alarm Clock Powered by AAA Batteries").The verse is clear and charming, the drawings of extraordinary precision and invention. Framing this catalogue of surprises is a spirited exchange between the toad and nightingale, suggesting that a soiled toad can sometimes trump the celestial songbird. With the lightness and lyricism of Mozart and the fantasy and invention of Dal, these verses and their figurations prove that sibling collaborations can certainly provide their rewards, especially for the reader.

Lettered Creatures

release date: Jan 01, 2004
Lettered Creatures
"On the left of each spread is an eight-line poem; opposite it is a delicate, complementary pencil drawing, reproduced here in exacting duotone"--Publisher''s website, viewed on October 10, 2014.

The Odd Last Thing She Did

release date: Mar 28, 2000
The Odd Last Thing She Did
A collection of poems probes the relationships between lovers, husbands and wives, friends, enemies, and fathers and sons.

The Friends of Freeland

release date: Sep 08, 1998
The Friends of Freeland
In this roomy, bawdy, exuberantly comic novel, Brad Leithauser takes us to an imaginary island-country, Freeland, during a crucial election year. Freeland occupies its own place in the North Atlantic, somewhere between Iceland and Greenland. A geological miracle, it is desolate ("What green is to Ireland, gray is to Freeland") -- and inspiring. The "friends" of the title are Hannibal, an expansive, lovable, unruly giant of a man who has been President of Freeland for twenty years, and Eggert, his shrewd, often prickly, always devious sidekick and adviser, who is Poet Laureate of Freeland and the book''s narrator. As the book opens, Freeland -- long happily isolated and stubbornly independent -- is in trouble. The sins of the rest of the world have begun to wash up on its shores in the form of drugs, restless youth, and a polluted, fished-out ocean. And, to add to the complications, when Hannibal, who has promised to step down as president, decides to run again, the opposition imports three "electoral consultants" from the United States. As the story unfolds, the histories of the friends are revealed. While Hannibal is Fate''s adored, Eggert travels perpetually under a cloud. Orphaned early, he must make his way by his wits. We follow him from his youth as he adventures Down Below (any place south of Freeland), collecting women, lovers, children, restlessly churning out fifty books in his search for love and admiration, returning home at last to raise a family and to serve his friend in his political hour of need. This huge, stunning, magical book brims with pleasures: delicious satire as the independent-minded natives meet the U.S.-trained "spin doctors"; a vibrant comic-strip vitality; and an edgy poignancy. Best of all, Leithauser has created a whole world, at once uncannily like and unlike our own. Readers who journey to Freeland will find it both a land of wonders and an ideal place from which to view the world they''ve left behind.

Penchants & Places

release date: Jan 01, 1995
Penchants & Places
Essays discuss H.G. Wells, Italo Calvino, Thomas Pynchon, Salman Rushdie, Flannery O''Connor, ghost stories, and life in Japan and Iceland

The Mail from Anywhere

release date: Jan 01, 1990
The Mail from Anywhere
The scenery of Iceland, the South seas, and the American South, the awakening of first love, and the meaning of speech are some of the topics treated in this collection of poems by the novelist and critic

Hence

release date: Jan 01, 1989
Hence
In 2025--although books are obsolete--a book on the famous chess match between a man and a computer is reissued, an event that sparks serious debate about the place of technology as opposed to human creativity

Between Leaps

release date: Jan 01, 1987
Between Leaps
Brad Leithauser is among the most celebrated of the young American poets. Between Leaps is the first collection of his work to be published in Britain. The range of his subjects is wide, from delicate observations of nature, to impressions of Japan and lively accounts of summer jobs as a student in America.

Seaward

release date: Jan 01, 1993
Seaward
A year after his beloved wife''s drowning, Terry Seward, a Washington lawyer and Princeton grad, spends a weekend in Virginia''s Dismal Swamp, where his wife appears to him in a glow of white light. 10,000 first printing. BOMC Alt. Tour.

A Seaside Mountain

release date: Jan 01, 1985

Cats of the Temple

release date: Jan 01, 1986
Cats of the Temple
Explores the delights and lessons of nature and the intricacies and wonder of things Japanese

Hundreds of Fireflies

Hundreds of Fireflies
Witty poems present the author''s observations about his life and the natural world
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