Daniel Halpern

b. 1945
Daniel Halpern

An influential editor and publishing executive, Daniel Halpern is also a poet of considerable acclaim, writing poems that treat daily life—household tasks, nature, friends, pets—in fresh, accessible language. He is the author of nine books of poetry, including Tango (1987) and Something Shining: Poems (1999).

Both Tango and Something Shining: Poems were praised for their formal ambition and control, as well as their revelation of the ordinary. Reviewer Frank Allen wrote in the Library Journal that the poems in Something Shining “reveal how much he cares about classic writers (Chekhov, Li Po, Machado), the New England coast (‘the hillside terraced to the sea / with flowers’), and things of light (in language and nature). Like art itself, the subjects of this poetry—conversation, music, vintage wine—are composed of ‘things fitting together, whether in the hand / or mind.’”

Halpern has edited anthologies of both poetry and prose, including Dante’s Inferno: Translations by Twenty Contemporary Poets (1993). According to America contributor Andrew J. Krivak, the volume provides evidence of Dante’s lasting influence in “an eclectic—in the best sense of the word—collaboration by some of the finest poets writing today.” Halpern has also edited the short-fiction collections The Art of the Tale: An International Anthology of Short Stories, 1945–1985 (1986) and The Art of the Story: An International Anthology of Contemporary Short Stories (1999), which includes works by Bobbie Ann Mason, Joyce Carol Oates, and Martin Amis.

The founder and long-time editor of the influential literary magazine Antaeus, Halpern is the president and publisher of Ecco Press. A recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, he has taught in Columbia University’s graduate writing program. Halpern was born in Syracuse, New York, and lives in New York City and Princeton, New Jersey.

Career

Editor, poet, and translator. Ecco Press, editor-in-chief and co-founder (with Drue Heinz), 1971-91, editorial director, 1991—; New School of Social Research, New York City, instructor in poetry and fiction workshops, 1971-76; Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, instructor in poetry workshops, 1975-76, 1987-88; Columbia University, Graduate School, New York City, instructor in poetry workshops, 1976—, chair of graduate writing, 1980-84. National Poetry Series, New York City, founder and director, 1978—; freelance editor, Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1971-81.

Bibliography

POETRY
  • Traveling on Credit, Viking (New York City), 1972.
  • Street Fire, Viking (New York City), 1975.
  • Life among Others (poems), Penguin, 1978.
  • Seasonal Rights: Poems, Viking, 1982.
  • The "Antaeus" Anthology, Bantam (New York City), 1986.
  • Tango: Poems, Viking, 1987.
  • Foreign Neon: Poems, Knopf (New York City), 1991.
  • Selected Poems, Knopf (New York City), 1994.
  • Something Shining: New Poems, Knopf, 1999.

OTHER

  • (Co-editor) Borges on Writing, Dutton (New York City), 1973.
  • (Translator with Paula Paley) Songs of Mririda, Unicorn Press (Greensboro, NC), 1974.
  • (Editor) The American Poetry Anthology, Avon (New York City), 1975.
  • (With Julie Strand) The Good Food: Soups, Stews, and Pastas, Viking, 1985.
  • (Editor) The Art of the Tale: An International Anthology of Short Stories, 1945-1985, Viking, 1986.
  • (Editor with Annie Dillard and others) On Nature: Nature, Landscape, and Natural History, North Point Press (San Francisco), 1987.
  • (Editor) Journals, Notebooks, and Diaries, Ecco Press (New York City), 1988, published as Our Private Lives: Journals, Notebooks, and Diaries, Vintage (New York City), 1990.
  • (Editor with Joyce Carol Oates) Reading the Fights, Holt (New York City), 1988.
  • (Editor) Writers on Artists, North Point Press, 1988.
  • (With Jeanne Wilmot) Halpern's Guide to the Essential Restaurants of Italy: From Milan to Rome with Notes on the Food and Wine, Addison-Wesley (Reading, MA), 1990.
  • (Editor) Plays in One Act, Ecco Press (Hopewell, NJ), 1991.
  • (Editor with Joyce Carol Oates) The Sophisticated Cat: A Gathering of Stories, Poems, and Miscellaneous Writings about Cats, Dutton, 1992.
  • (Editor) Not for Bread Alone: Writers on Food, Wine, and the Art of Eating, Ecco Press, 1993.
  • (Editor and author of preface) Too Far from Home: The Selected Writings of Paul Bowles, introduction by Joyce Carol Oates, Ecco Press, 1993.
  • (Editor) The Autobiographical Eye, Ecco Press, 1993.
  • (Editor) Dante's Inferno: Translations by Twenty Contemporary Poets, introduction by James Merrill, afterword by Giuseppe Mazzotta, Ecco Press, 1993.
  • (Editor with Jeanne Wilmot Carter) On Music, Ecco Press, 1994.
  • (Editor) Holy Fire: Nine Visionary Poets and the Quest for Enlightenment, HarperPerennial (New York City), 1994.
  • (Editor) Tomas Transtromer, For the Living and the Dead: New Poems and a Memoir, translated by Joanna Bankier, Ecco Press, 1995.
  • (Editor) Who's Writing This?: Notations on the Authorial I, with Self-Portraits, Ecco Press, 1995.
  • (Editor with Dan Frank) The Nature Reader, Ecco Press, 1996.
  • (Editor) The Art of the Story, Viking, 1999.

Editor, Antaeus, 1969-94. Contributor of poetry to periodicals, including American Poetry Review, Esquire, New Yorker, and Harper's.

 

 

Further Reading

BOOKS

  • Contemporary Poets, sixth edition, St. James (Detroit, MI), 1996.

PERIODICALS

  • America, October 30, 1993, Andrew J. Krivak, review of Dante's Inferno, p. 17.
  • Library Journal, October 15, 1999, Lisa Rohrbaugh, review of The Art of the Story, p. 109.
  • Nation, December 19, 1994, Ray Gonzalez, review of Holy Fire, p. 766.
  • New Yorker, June 28, 1993, p. 103.
  • New York Times Book Review, May 1, 1983, Richard Tillinghast, review of Seasonal Rights, p. 15; April 23, 1998, Michiko Kakutani, review of Reading the Fights, September 18, 1988, Bruce Bennett, review of Tango, p. 42; December 26, 1999, Melanie Rehak, review of Something Shining.
  • Publishers Weekly, September 6, 1991, pp. 10, 87; August 31, 1992, p. 63; January 18, 1993, p. 451; April 19, 1993, p. 54; May 30, 1994, review of Selected Poems, p. 47; September 12, 1994, review of Who's Writing This, p. 77; October 31, 1994, review of Holy Fire, p. 55; October 25, 1999, reviews of The Art of the Story and Something Shining, pp. 51, 76.
  • Whole Earth Review, spring, 1988, p. 66.

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Poet Categorization

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

LIFE SPAN 1945–

Daniel Halpern

Biography

An influential editor and publishing executive, Daniel Halpern is also a poet of considerable acclaim, writing poems that treat daily life—household tasks, nature, friends, pets—in fresh, accessible language. He is the author of nine books of poetry, including Tango (1987) and Something Shining: Poems (1999). Both Tango and Something Shining: Poems were praised for their formal ambition and control, as well as their revelation . . .

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