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Joe Milford Hosts David Lehman

  • Broadcast in Poetry
Joe Milford Show

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David Lehman grew up in New York City, the son of European refugees. His father came from Furth (near Nuremburg, in Bavaria); his mother in Vienna; they met in New York City and married in 1941. After attending yeshiva (Jewish day school) and then Stuyvesant High Schhol, Lehman went to Columbia University. Upon graduating he spent two years in England on a Kellett Fellowship at Cambridge University. A second grant permitted him to live briefly in Paris. When he returned to New York, he became Lionel Trilling’s research assistant at Columbia, where he worked toward a PhD in English (1978). He left academe in 1981 to pursue a career as a freelance writer. He wrote articles and reviewed books regularly for Newsweek and often for other magazines and newspapers. In 1988 he initiated The Best American Poetry and continues as general editor of the annual anthology. The most recent of Lehman’s books of poetry are Yeshiva Boys (Fall 2009) and When a Woman Loves a Man (2005), both from Scribner. Both The Evening Sun (2002) and The Daily Mirror (2000) are “journals in poetry” consisting of poems from the five-year period when Lehman wrote a poem a day as an experiment. His earlier books include An Alternative to Speech (1986), Operation Memory (1990) and Valentine Place (1996). He has written six nonfiction books, most recently A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs (Nextbook, Fall 2009). He is also the author of The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets (Doubleday), Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man (Simon and Schuster), and The Perfect Murder (University of Michigan Press), among other books of nonfiction. Lehman has edited The Oxford Book of American Poetry (Oxford University Press, 2006), The Best American Erotic Poems (Scribner, 2008), and Great American Prose Poems (Scribner, 2003), and several other collections. In 1994 he succeeded Donald Hall as the general editor of the University of Michigan’