"Nicholas Samaras' first book is remarkable..."

"Samaras' poems are unique in their orientation and display a linguistic sense..."
"Samaras composes provocatively, challending our imagination..."


“Nicholas Samaras’s first book is remarkable, chosen by James Dickey for the Yale Series of Younger Poets, which has a long history of publishing the first books of poets who have had distinguished careers—among them James Wright, Robert Hass and Carolyn Forche. Mr. Samaras deserves to be in good company. He is a stern and original poet, whose seriousness and morality seem almost foreign, like that of the Turkish writer Nazim Hikmet or Czeslaw Milosz or Pablo Neruda. He shares with them a sense that politics is a natural obsession . . . .His poetry combines social and personal intensities, ancient reverberations and American intonations . . . .this is a poetry of beauty and purity, often painterly. Mr. Samaras can sweep from one country to the next, from ancient history to now in America, and yet create a methodical, weighted sense of time and place. “Hands of the Saddlemaker” is an ambitious book. There is a familial resemblance between Mr. Samaras and the Southern poet Andrew Hudgins—in their concern with history (personal and national), their keen sense of place and their masterly use of complex, dense rhythms and rhymes.”

—Liz Rosenberg, New York Times Book Review 

“Nicholas Samaras’ poems are unique in their orientation and display a linguistic sense that should earn him a wide and discriminating audience. The most engaging quality of his work is his metaphysical internationalism, the note of the eternal exile who yet finds remarkable and life-enhancing particularities in the countries through which he passes.”

—James Dickey  

 “Selected by James Dickey as this year’s winner of the Yale Younger Poets competition, Samaras’ book might have deserved the prize merely for his stunning `In the Shell of a City Cathedral,’ one of the most magnificent longer poems of recent years. . . . Powerful visionary states are difficult, nigh impossible, to capture in time-centered languages like ours, but Samaras comes close.” 

—Pat Monaghan, Booklist  

“These meditative, searching poems, often strikingly set in the shelter of churches or in the Greek countryside, are full of images of displacement and allusions to the religion and culture of...

—Library Journal 

“For the pilgrims that inhabit Samaras’s first collection . . . travel is an encounter with the strange and the familiar which, in the immediacy of recovery, has the quality of the uncanny. . . . [Samaras’] poetry often eloquently chronicles how exploring what is unknown enables one to experience again 

—Publisher’s Weekly 

 “Samaras’ voice seems at once fresh and aged, speaking across cultures, traditions, and oceans. . . . Meditative, deliberate work which honors the past and yet carries us forward into our own. 

—Bruce Murphy, Poetry 

“Samaras is acutely perceptive, and his descriptions are bright, vivid, and economical. . . . Samaras composes provocatively, challenging our imagination and our emotions. Even more, he drives us to seek the inner, deeper meaning of our transience and our relationships with fellow human beings. 

—Hellenic Journal


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