If, as Oscar Wilde said, ""nothing ages like happiness,"" then nothing rejuvenates like a pursuit. That is certainly the American way, and in The Promised Folly, Judith Hall takes a fresh look at our American pursuits, our supreme fictions. She explores the folly that follows mere existence and gives it back to her readers in different voices - Venus, Walt Whitman, Julius Caesar, ""Ma"" Rainey - voices that contain multitudes. Whitman will become Falstaff, for example, and Venus becomes Mars Absurdities and incongruities, such as these, constitute for Hall, opportunities for lyric pleasure. The resulting poems are puckish, sumptuous, and austere, by turns, and not incidently compassionate.
JUDITH HALL is the author of To Put The Mouth To (William Morrow, 1992), which was selected for the National Poetry Series, and Anatomy, Errata (Ohio State, 1998), winner of the Ohio State University Press publication award. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ingram Merrill Foundation. Her poems have appeared in such magazines as The New Republic, The Paris Review, The Yale Review, and The Best American Poetry anthology series. She serves as poetry editor of The Antioch Review and teaches at California Institute of Technology.