Elton Glaser is the author of seven other poetry collections: Relics, Tropical Depressions, Color Photographs of the Ruins, Winter Amnesties, Pelican Tracks, Here and Hereafter, and The Law of Falling Bodies. His poems have appeared in the 1995, 1997, and 2000 editions of The Best American Poetry. Among Glaser’s awards are two fellowships from the NEA, seven fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council, the Iowa Poetry Prize, the 1996 Ohionana Poetry Award, and the Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize. He is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Akron, former director of the University of Akron Press, and former editor of the Akron Series in Poetry.
Translations from the Flesh, Elton Glaser’s seventh full-length collection of poetry, is driven by the powerful engines of love and desire. In poems long and brief, playful and intense, Glaser evokes what it feels like “to fall into / Love and its infinite mistakes.” In a style that might be described as “flamboyant stoicism” (a phrase from Simon Callow,) he explores our human urgencies and weaknesses, following wherever our appetites lead us, whether hormonal or spiritual, cravings that we struggle to understand. The voice that says “Apprentice me to mysteries of the flesh” speaks for everyone intent on making sense of the body’s restless yearning for fulfillment. These poems, with their witty brio and passionate precision of language, agree with Gerald Stern that “the brain / is the best organ for love.” At the same time, they are not afraid to get down in the dirt, among the more primitive pleasures. Whatever their bent, from moony aspirations to “rare positions only the wicked know,” the poems express Glaser’s mission to give voice to those deep pressures that move us, body and soul: “I put my native tongue / To work, open to / The dark instincts of ecstasy.”