"In all these rotten shops, in all this broken furniture..."

Gerald Stern

The Dancing

Gerald Stern was born in 1925 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Eastern European Jewish immigrants. The author of 15 books of poetry, Stern's work reveals ideas and memories that are intensely personal yet profoundly universal. Relying heavily on irony, and a sometimes bitter sense of humor, Stern's starkly realistic style of poetry has been described as "doomsday among the tricylces and kittens." "The Dancing," from his 1984 collection Paradise Poems, captures the discord between the poet's relatively carefree all-American upbringing and the suffering endured by his fellow Jews during the Holocaust. Stern's recent books of poetry are Save the Last Dance: Poems (2008), Everything is Burning (2005), American Sonnets (2002), Last Blue: Poems (2000), and This Time: New and Selected Poems (1998), which won the National Book Award. Among his other honors are a Guggenheim Fellowship, a PEN award, and the 2005 Wallace Stevens award. Stern was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2006. He lives in Lambertville, New Jersey.

To read this and other poems by Gerald Stern, as well as biographical information about the poet, please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.