Leonard Schwartz
b. 1963
Leonard Schwartz is an American poet, essayist, and translator. He attended Bard College, where he earned a BA in creative writing and poetry, and Columbia University, where he earned an MA in philosophy.

Heavy Sublimation

116 p.

"Intricate in its intelligence, lyricism, truth and intimacy, Heavy Sublimation offers us incandescent maps where the mind explores the nature of its own materials, its attempt and architecture of meaningfulness. Chiseled by craft and thought, this collection achieves a wild, symphonic philosophy of poetics that is, at once, humorous and profound.” - Rachel Eliza Griffiths



81 p.

"Leonard Schwartz follows a swarm of 'ifs' that lead through a series of hypotheses to a subjunctive space where hope and doubt lovingly and painfully intertwine.” - Catherine Taylor

"Kierkegaard wrote Either/Or, and then he said If/Then. His If was singular, but Schwartz's is plural: If we are one or many. If we are prisoners or free. If we live on forever or we end. If there is a center of the world or not. If we can understand. If we are human or divine or both. If we are magic. If we can love can love past death or nothing can. If failure is the proof that we are alive. This is a profound and moving book, a modern book of wisdom that merits rereading again and again and again." - Rebecca Brown


At Element

133 p.

"As Schwartz posits in his introduction, true nature poetry is not that which stands outside nature and addresses it, but that which recognizes that we speak, always and inevitably, from within it. Acting upon this insight, he has created a nature poetry that upends all previous understandings of the term through an engagement with language that underscores it as an act of nature. Full of startling observations and illuminating non sequiturs, this work is composed of disarmingly simple assertions that build into complex, irreducible, and unparaphrasable towers of idea and impression. Often warm, often charming, they emanate a generosity and an intimacy so penetrating that they make the generous and the intimate modes of thought in their own right." - Cole Swensen


Ear and Ethos

82 p.

"Sometimes an artist's work distills into its purest concentrate. Such is the case in this magnificent new collection. At the heart of these often witty poems is a fierce protest, but there is also a tender, brilliant music."
- Cynthia Hogue


The Tower of Diverse Shores

117 p.

"When a young empire for the first time suffers invasion, hurt, pain, a casting off of symbols, trauma before the closing of ranks, vessels, values, there is also a reconsideration - at best a reconstitution - of the very tissues of language as if the culture has to learn how to speak all over again. A beginning which is made here, in these remarkable poems by Leonard Schwartz." - Kamau Brathwaite


Words Before the Articulate: New and Selected Poems

114 p.

"I can't imagine any problems more worth solving than the ones Schwartz has set himself here. Analytic under his daily knife, his days don't stop their thinking. I want to follow these thoughts as far as he takes them, because they lead so often and so kindly to my favorite place: pure contradiction." - Fanny Howe

e. 1987

Distinguished Books in Poetry,
Fiction, Theory, and Criticism