Jay Ladin is a devotional poet who is also blasphemous, sometimes simultaneously. What he most surely opposes is cant. The “alternatives to history” that he examines—more accurately, celebrates—have to do with God, ethics, kabbalah, current events, happiness and absolution. His poetry offers a personal view of the big truths. Readers will find, having finished this extraordinary first book, that Ladin has explained what we did not know that we did not know. The fact is, through his poetry Ladin does the reader a favor, a great courtesy. He makes our lives more valuable.
Jay Ladin has taught writing and literature at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Princeton University, and Reed College, and currently holds the David and Ruth Gottesman Chair in English at Yeshiva University's Stern College for Women.