Born, raised, and educated in New York City, Irving Feldman has since lived in Spain, France, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere, and his poetry resonates with European influences as well as a profound awareness of cosmopolitan issues. As a teenager, he watched from across the Atlantic as the atrocities of World War II unfolded in Europe, and the Holocaust and its attendant questions haunt much of his work, which poet-critic John Hollander calls “amazing in its moral intensity.”
Feldman’s many collections of poetry include Teach Me, Dear Sister (1983), All of Us Here (1986), Beautiful False Things (2000), and Collected Poems 1954-2000. His poetry shows no fear of form or tone—he has written everything from essays to jokes to prose poems to aphorisms to psalms—in his pursuit to illuminate all facets of the human condition. As John Gross wrote in a New York Times review of his book All of Us Here (1986), his “idiom [can] extend from the elegiac to the racily colloquial” in a single poem.
The recipient of many awards, including fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation, Feldman has also been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and was twice a finalist for the National Book Award.