David Lehman

(June 11, 1948 / New York City)

David Lehman
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David Lehman grew up the son of European Holocaust refugees in Manhattan's northernmost neighborhood of Inwood. He attended Stuyvesant High School and Columbia University, and Cambridge University in England on a Kellett Fellowship. He later received a Ph.D. in English from Columbia, where he was Lionel Trilling's research assistant. Lehman's poem "The Presidential Years" appeared in The Paris Review No. 43 (Summer, 1968) while he was a Columbia undergraduate. His books of poetry include Yeshiva Boys (November 2009), When a Woman Loves a Man (2005), The Evening Sun (2002), The Daily Mirror (2000), and Valentine Place (1996), all published by Scribner. Princeton University Press published ... more »

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  • Jargon is the verbal sleight of hand that makes the old hat seem newly fashionable; it gives an air of novelty and specious profundity to ideas that, if stated directly, would seem superficial, stale,...
    David Lehman (b. 1948), U.S. poet, editor, critic. "Archie Debunking," ch. 3, Signs of the Times (1991).
  • ''Obscurantism is the academic theorist's revenge on society for having consigned him or her to relative obscurity—a way of proclaiming one's superiority in the face of one's diminished influence.''
    David Lehman (b. 1948), U.S. poet, editor, critic. "Archie Debunking," ch. 3, Signs of the Times (1991).
  • ''There is an air of last things, a brooding sense of impending annihilation, about so much deconstructive activity, in so many of its guises; it is not merely postmodernist but preapocalyptic.''
    David Lehman (b. 1948), U.S. poet, editor, critic. "The End of the Word," ch. 1, Signs of the Times (1991).
  • Words can have no single fixed meaning. Like wayward electrons, they can spin away from their initial orbit and enter a wider magnetic field. No one owns them or has a proprietary right to dictate how...
    David Lehman (b. 1948), U.S. poet, editor, critic. "The End of the Word," ch. 1, Signs of the Times (1991).
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