Available at Spuyten Duyvil Press


“In Status of the Mourned, the American poet Hugh Seidman pays tribute to poets, love, art, memory, desire, and the legacy of a maimed century. Through this book, in which poems of great gravitas intercut strings of darkly playful lyrics, contemporary readers will learn what poets have long known: Seidman is a master.”

—Susan Wheeler


“He finds the luminosity in the darkest of matter.”

—Michael Heller


Hugh Seidman’s poetry develops out of the writing of Louis Zukofsky and George Oppen, two “Objectivists,” the first of whom was his teacher. However, Seidman’s poetry is expressionistic, and existential. On one level, Seidman is a New York City poet, closer to Paul Blackburn than to Frank O’Hara: his writing carries the bruise and negative reality of having lived in the city for an entire lifetime. But he is also not a “street poet.” His writing is sophisticated and profound. He has, for example, written extraordinary poems about his aging and ultimately senile parents that are unique in American poetry. There is no insincerity in Seidman’s work. He has earned every poem that he has written.

—Clayton Eshleman


Status of the Mourned, Hugh Seidman’s seventh book, is, like each of his books, a masterpiece. Seidman’s gift of making poems into objects of visionary intensity, fiery intellect, and almost tangible word-sounds, is unparalleled in our poetry. Confronting, at the boundaries of history, the horrors inflicted on the body politic, and presenting, with astonishing fervor and intimate exactness, poems powerful enough in dream power to raise the dead to a life that is forever living, Status of the Mourned is truly radical, deeply set in our oldest karma—that of hope and of love.

—Lawrence Joseph


Few contemporary American poets, if any, speak for Walter Benjamin’s Angel of History as does Hugh Seidman in Status of the Mourned. As if caught in the storm called progress, pulled backward into the future by the “incorrigible, leveraged absolution of witness” (“New Year”), Seidman invariably confronts the “debris of the universal Kaddish” (“Millennial”). What is mourned, in the process, is the status of the child within, abandoned at birth and feeling motherless, become Angelic by virtue of a strong and un-relinquishing grip on the persons and the poems it has loved.

—André Spears