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Stanley Moss

Stanley Moss was born in Woodhaven, New York, in 1925 and studied at Trinity College and Yale University. In 1969, he published his first poetry collection, The Wrong Angel (Anvil Poetry Press). Eight years later, he founded the nonprofit poetry publisher The Sheep Meadow Press. According to John Ashbery, “Stanley Moss is American poetry’s best-kept secret, better known as the innovative publisher of other poets than for his own highly charged, stingingly beautiful lyrics.”

Moss’s poetry collections include It's About Time (Carcanet Press, 2015), God Breaketh Not All Men’s Hearts Alike: New & Later Collected Poems (Seven Stories Press, 2011), Rejoicing: New and Collected Poems (Anvil Press Poetry, 2009), New & Selected Poems: 2006 (Seven Stories Press, 2006), and Songs of Imperfection (Anvil Press Poetry, 2005), among others.

Citing travel as one of his interests, Moss traverses the world in his poems, which are set in New York, Jerusalem, China, Greece, and beyond. Full of everyday ruminations and broader questions of spirituality, Moss’s poems investigate and interrogate the mundane and inevitable. In his review of God Breaketh Not All Men’s Hearts Alike, W. S. Merwin writes, “Again and again, coming upon a poem of Stanley Moss’s, I have had the feeling of being taken by surprise. Not simply by the eloquence or the direct authenticity of the language, for I had come to expect those in his poems. The surprise arose from the nature of his poetry itself, and from the mystery that his poems confront and embody, which makes them both intense and memorable.”

His honors include a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship. Through The Sheep Meadow Press, he has published books by poets such as Stephen Berg, Hayden Carruth, Stanley Kunitz, and Alberto Ríos, in addition to a number of international translations. Moss also works as a private art dealer and lives in Clinton Corners, New York.


It's About Time (Carcanet Press, 2015)
God Breaketh Not All Men’s Hearts Alike: New & Later Collected Poems (Seven Stories Press, 2011)
Rejoicing: New and Collected Poems (Anvil Press Poetry, 2009)
New & Selected Poems 2006 (Seven Stories Press, 2006)
Songs of Imperfection (Anvil Press Poetry, 2005)
A History of Color: New and Collected Poems (Seven Stories Press, 2003)
Asleep in the Garden: New and Selected Poems (Seven Stories Press, 1997)
The Intelligence of Clouds (Harcourt, 1989)
Skull of Adam (Horizon Press, 1979)
The Wrong Angel (Anvil Poetry Press, 1969)

By This Poet


Paper Swallow

Francisco Goya y Lucientes,
I dedicate this paper swallow to you and fly it
from the balcony of San Antonio de la Florida
past the empty chapels of the Four Doctors of the Church.
My praying hands are fish fins again,
one eye a lump of tar, the other hard blood,
my flapping lids sewed down to my cheekbones.
Time, the invisible snake, keeps its head
and fangs deep in the vagina of space.
Reason blinded me, banished me.
I fight the liar in me, selective desire,
my calling nightmares ‘dreamless sleep.’
Blind, coño, I made a musical watch,
the image of Don Quixote points the hours,
Sancho the minute hand. I hear the right time
when I listen to my watch play church bells.
Mystery this, mystery that.
I have another watch—wolves howling and dogs barking.
Now the invisible snake swims in the Ebro.
I look out of my window to see time
as if it were not in my mouth
and all my other two-timing orifices.
Don Francisco, I swear at the feet of the dead who maim me
and the living who heal me that the least sound,
a page turning, whips me. I owe my blindness,
this paper swallow, to you, because I lived
most of my life, a marrano, in your deaf house.
I pull open one of my eyes like the jaws of a beast.