The Education of A Young PoetBook - 2017
"Biespiel's supple memoir of becoming a poet will surely inspire other writers to embrace the bodily character of writing and feel the power and, sometimes, the emptiness of the act of writing poetry." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
The Education of a Young Poet is David Biespiel's moving account of his awakening to writing and the language that can shape a life. Exploring the original source of his creative impulse--a great-grandfather who traveled alone from Ukraine to America in 1910, eventually settling as a rag peddler in the tiny town of Elma, Iowa--through the generations that followed, Biespiel tracks his childhood in Texas and his university days in the northeast, led along by the "pattern and random bursts that make up a life."
His book offers an intimate recollection of how one person forges a life as a writer during extraordinary times. From the Jewish quarter of Houston in the 1970s to bohemian Boston in the 1980s, from Russia's Pale of Settlement to a farming village in Vermont, Biespiel remains alert to the magic of possibilities--ancestral journeys, hash parties, political rallies, family connections, uncertain loves, the thrill of sex, and lasting friendships. Woven throughout are reflections on the writer's craft coupled with a classic coming-of-age tale that does for Boston in the 1980s what Hemingway's A Moveable Feast did for Paris in the 1920s and Broyard'sKafka Was the Rage did for Greenwich Village in the 1950s.
Restless with curiosity and enthusiasm, The Education of a Young Poet is a singular and universal bildungsroman that movingly demonstrates, "in telling the story of one's coming into consciousness, all languages are more or less the same."