publication date: April 18th, 2023

Poems by Richard Michelson

Published by Slant Books.

Preorder an autographed copy of this book

With the rise of anti-Semitism, extremism, political polarization, mass shootings, the fraying of Black-Jewish-Asian alliances, and the loss of personal connections during the age of Covid, where is God, and how can we find the joy and wonder in our lives? How do we come to terms with loss? How can art and language help us to cope with life and honor the dead? How does one act responsibly in a world that is at once beautiful and full of suffering-balanced precariously on the edge of despair and ruin?

With humor, anger, and tenderness, Richard Michelson’s poems explore the boundaries between the personal and the political-and the deep connections between history and memory.

A high spirited romp with language and a tough spiritual struggle … Finishing this book I turned right around and started over—it was that rich, that good. -Alicia Ostriker, author of Waiting for the Light and The Volcano and After

Sleeping as Fast as I Can is a book where prayers are filled with history, and history is filled with the urgency of the present; a book that isn’t afraid of tragedy because it holds music as a shield. Michelson’s poems deliver an unrelenting message, one unafraid to transport “home our holy, temporary hearts.” – Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic and Dancing in Odessa

With clarity and wit their honesty touches deep into pain: … of contemporary history, of Jewish life, of Jewish history, of the violence that spoils it all. But then come the words of blessing in the midst of the dark that understands “Light is our only future.” -Rodger Kamenetz, author of The Missing Jew: Poems 1976-2022

Richard Michelson is a poet who understands the measure and music in the art of poetry. 
Sleeping as Fast as I Can brings prayers, rants, memoria, and rage against hatred, violence, racism, and anti-Semitism in a bitches brew of language on every page…. 
-Patricia Spears Jones, Author, A Lucent Fire: New and Selected Poems


Upcoming Events:

Wednesday April 19– Virtual Book Launch 8 PM (EST) Poetry Reading/Discussion with Slant Books editor Gregory Wolfe

Sunday April 23– 4 PM Publication Party and Poetry Reading with Martin Espada and Paul Mariani- R. Michelson Galleries

Tuesday April 25– 7 PM Poetry Reading – Zoom – On the Seawall- Featured Reader (link will be available April 25th)

Sunday May 7– 12:30 PM Jewish Poets of Western MA – with Joy Ladin and Jena Schwartz, Massachusetts Poetry Festival, Salem MA

Saturday May 20– 2PM Voices of Poetry with Howie Faerstein, Martha Mccollough, Suzanne Rancourt, Anthony Walton at Forbes Library

Thursday July 20Featherstone Arts Center– Oak Bluffs, MA with Martin Espada