Peter Balakian ESB ’69
University of Chicago Press
For four decades, Peter Balakian’s poetry has received critical acclaim in the United States and abroad for its inventive language and its forays into history. The evolution of Balakian’s form from book to book encompasses an expansive imagination and a unique voice — one that is both personal and cosmopolitan. His poems envelope the discordant and the harsh, as well as the organic and the beautiful. His collage forms and dialogical, layered poems open up terrains of lyrical interrogations that bring us to startling places. In poems that are sensuous and elliptical — layered and daring, Balakian has taken on large aftermaths of violent histories (from the Armenian genocide to 9/11), and the complexities of trauma and memory across generations. The long poem “Ozone Journal” in his new book is the second part of Balakian’s New York trilogy. Ozone Journal is the most accomplished book of a distinctive American voice.