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“Love’s language is hyperbole, but whispered,
sibilant similes and promises sotto voce.
It’s easy to imagine you’ve misheard…”

“An extraordinary book. Hoffman knows poetic forms, and he handles them deftly. His poems move beyond form to inhabit the places where our human selves reside, the country of the heart, the city of the mind. I admire this poet for his verve, and I follow where he leads.” —Pablo Medina, author of The Man Who Wrote on Water

“If Anton Chekhov returned as a modern-day poet, Richard Hoffman would be his name. His poems reverberate with the same lucid witness and precision. Bridging histories local and cultural, they draw on literary traditions while simultaneously heralding experiment and invention. Both rooted and transcendent, Emblem is a marvelous new book.” —Terrance Hayes, author of National Book Award winner, Lighthead

“Richard Hoffman is a fiercely gifted poet whose stanzas revel in the infinite possibilities of language, and jolt, surprise, and satisfy at every turn. Each syllable in Emblem is stamped with the poet’s signature, a heady combination of skill, vulnerability and unerring wit. This is work to be savored and embraced.” —Patricia Smith, author of National Book Award finalist, Blood Dazzler

“Richard Hoffman’s Emblem is an extraordinary book. Hoffman knows poetic forms, and he handles them deftly. His poems move beyond form to inhabit the places where our human selves reside, the country of the heart, the city of the mind. I admire this poet for his verve, and I follow where he leads.” —Pablo Medina, author of The Man Who Wrote on Water

“Richard Hoffman earns highest praise for brilliantly resuscitating emblems, a genre that flourished from the Renaissance until the 19th century. His point of departure is Andrea Alciati’s Emblematum Liber (1531), the earliest and most important emblem book. Like Alciati, Hoffman begins each with a motto, and the range of his subjects is broad, bearing on aspects of life that seem to be, in his words, “either immutable or peculiarly contemporary.” Readers will relish them, and all of Hoffman’s poems, and return to them time and again.” —Seymour Slive, Professor of Fine Arts Emeritus, Harvard University; former Director, Harvard Art Museums