Corrupted into Song
The Complete Poems of Alvin Feinman
Alvin Feinman

Edited by Deborah Dorfman

With a foreword by Harold Bloom and an introduction by James Geary


According to Harold Bloom, "The best of Alvin Feinman's poetry is as good as anything by a twentieth-century American. His work achieves the greatness of the American sublime." Yet, in part because he published so sparsely, Feinman remained little-read and largely unknown when he died in 2008. This definitive edition of Feinman's complete work, which includes fifty-seven previously published poems and thirty-nine unpublished poems discovered among his manuscripts, introduces a new generation of readers to the lyrical intensity and philosophical ambition of this major American poet. Harold Bloom, a lifelong friend of Feinman, provides a preface in which he examines Feinman's work in the context of the strongest poets of his generation—John Ashbery, James Merrill, and A. R. Ammons—while the introduction by James Geary, who studied with Feinman at Bennington College, presents a biographical and critical sketch of this remarkable poet and teacher. Corrupted into Song restores Feinman's work to its rightful place alongside that of poets like Hart Crane and Wallace Stevens, with whom his poetry and poetics have so much in common.

Alvin Feinman (1929–2008) taught literature at Bennington College from 1969 to 1994. He was the author of Preambles and Other Poems and an expanded edition of that work, Poems (Princeton). He was born in Brooklyn, New York, and educated at Brooklyn College, the University of Chicago, and Yale University. Feinman's wife, Deborah Dorfman (1934–2015), taught literature at Temple University, Wesleyan University, and SUNY Albany. Harold Bloom is Sterling Professor of the Humanities and English at Yale University. James Geary is deputy curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University and the author, most recently, of I Is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See the World.