Michael Cantor poetry




Life in the Second Circle

Life in the Second Circle


“Michael Cantor uses words to paint and sculpt the world. .. Life in the Second Circle is a sensory kaleidoscope where the poems are more like movies. In Jump-Cut, the speaker says that film absorbs a life; you could say the same of Cantor’s poetry. And, although another poem refers to life being life, the bitch it wants to be, life for this poet is irresistibly wonderful.... [more]

Deborah Warren


With their verve and humor, these capacious poems do just the opposite, moving nimbly from Brighton Beach to a tea house in Tokyo, a shell-pocked Antwerp to Navajo country, a Gloucester pub to a Venetian piazza, and accommodating along the way a retired Genghis Khan, an aubade to an eggplant, Andrew Wyeth’s Christina (translated from Maine to Mexico), a basketball-dunking rabbi’s son, and that “cockamamy, cracked conquistador” Ponce de Leon, still brooding in spirit over the kitsch of Key West. [more]

Catherine Tufariello


"In Cantor's poems samurai actors mingle at a buffet lunch; the sturdy bicycle girls of Antwerp ride by with unshaven legs. Even when merely trying to evoke a sense of place, as in Navajo Country, Cantor tucks a story into a line or two: “Some teenage girls with angry skin/ are talking family with a tribal cop.” This poet knows things that writers of fiction know about writing, and that other poets ignore at their peril." [more]

Alfred Nicol


"This is not your mother's book of poems."

Wendy Videlock


"Dante’s second circle of hell was reserved for sins of lust, but Cantor’s narrator does not judge his infernal cast of characters; rather, he causes us to identify with their essential human neediness. What’s more, he does so through a cinematic gift for storytelling and a mastery of poetic form." [more]

Julie Kane