Songs of Himself

Poems 1959–2009
Frederick Seidel
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $40, 509 pp.

I should declare an interest, as parliamentarians used to say. Years ago in New York City, I was introduced to Frederick Seidel by our mutual friend Richard Poirier. Some time after, Seidel invited me to join a small dinner party he was planning to give at Elio’s. I had never heard of that restaurant, but it turned out to be a fashionable, high-toned place on New York’s Upper East Side. It was crowded that night, but one table was ostentatiously empty, held sacrosanct...

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About the Author

Denis Donoghue holds the Henry James Chair in English and American Letters at New York University. His most recent book is Irish Essays (2011).