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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

Book cover for Not Yet
Book cover for Not Yet

Not Yet by Stanley Moss is best described metaphorically: it is a freight train loaded with poetry that includes Poems on China (Stanley Moss taught English in China thirty years ago), a compartment of Two Raw Fish Poems from Japan, then there's an extra long boxcar, a lifetime of American Poems Seasoned with Chinese Experience. Finally, there's the club car, Not Yet, a section of new poems written June 20th 2020 - May 1st 2021. Not Yet includes a preface by Stanley Moss, an afterword by Fu Hao, visiting scholar of Chinese at Cambridge University. Much of the book will be translated by him into Chinese for the many millions of Chinese who read English poems.

Book cover for Not Yet
Book cover for Not Yet

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“Combining poems written during 2020—2021 with works from two previous collection dealing with Chinese experience (Moss taught English in China 30 years ago), this thoughtful assemblage celebrates Moss's deep love for Chinese culture and writing. Speaking of Chinese characters in "The Hawk, the Serpant, and the Cloud," he writes: "Writing contains painting and painting writing./ Each is bird and sky to the other, soil and flower." In "Alexander Fu, Musing," one of many poems about a child, the speaker touchingly recollects, "My mother rocks me to sleep, singing/ a Chinese lullaby about crickets playing./ It's not easy to know so little,/ but I wake to wonder, I touch wonder,/ I play with wonder. I smile at wonder./ I cry when wonder is taken from me." In contrast, "Alexander Fu to Stanley" opens: "Big fool, my ancestors understood/we live in two societies: time and that other society/ with its classes and orders, which you, Mr. America,/ like to think you can ascend or descend at will." These poems offer a touching tribute to an endlessly rich culture Moss has spent his life admiring and engaging with on the page.

“I have been enjoying Stanley Moss’s work ever since his first collection The Wrong Angel finally reached England in 1969. He is one of those very rare poets who have got better and even better as they have grown older, as the experiences of life accumulate and are interrogated and blessed by them. Ever since Whitman, America has now and again produced a poet who can celebrate the abundance of life with joy and inquisitive detail, laying his soul out naked on the page. Moss is one of these. He is moving, surprising and funny, with a relaxed free style that can catch you off guard and tell you things that you didn’t know you half-knew. The new book is full of this infectious eagerness to catch things before they go, in a spirit of “not yet” that is not only a beautiful defiance but a kind of mysticism of the bodily life, an ambition to redeem the world before he is required to leave it.”

“Magisterial. . . . This book is magnificent. I've read it several times with greater and greater pleasure. Its verbal generosity and bravura, its humanity, the quality and quantity of information which it generates into poetry of the highest order make it a continuing delight.”

“Like any sensible person, I've been reading Stanley Moss's poetry for many years, during which time the force of his work . . . has never diminished an iota. In our epoch of turmoil, crisis, and grief, I find Moss's poetry still, always, brings me a little closer to happiness.”

“In Not Yet it seems each poem has been searching for a master architect and wordsmith with deep feeling and practice to say it right. The profound and mischievous topics seem to be saying to a foreboding modern reality that Stanley Moss, a mature poet who dares to get the questions and the answers right, that the masterplan engages only true feeling in a state of playful wisdom.”

“Open Not Yet or any of Stanley Moss's books anywhere, and you will come shockingly upon wisdom and beauty, a diversity of styles--a unity of voice, a voice that was there since the begninning. I love Stanley Moss's work. The pace, the strategy, the wit, the knowledge are astonishing. Of the generation that is gradually leaving us, those born in the mid- and late-1920s, he has a prominent place. He loves donkeys. He owns Ted Roethke's raccoon coat. He is an original.”

“Moss rewrites the received idea of religion and the religious poet: his psalms may be exactly the new songs needed to illuminate sombre new times.”

Stanley Moss

Born in New York City, Stanley Moss was educated at Trinity College and Yale University. He has been writing poetry for over a half-century. In addition, Moss is a private art dealer specializing in Italian and Spanish old masters, as well as the publisher and editor of The Sheep Meadow Press, a non-profit publishing house devoted to poetry. Moss lives in Clintondale and River Corners, New York.