Samuel Hazo was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame and received his graduate degrees from Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh. He is presently a Professor in the English Department of Duquesne University. Since 1966, Hazo has directed the International Poetry Forum, a non-profit arts organization that sponsors internationally and nationally known poets to read their works to Pittsburgh audiences. Hazo says, "Suffice to say that I regard poetry as the best form of conversation with largely known readers or hearers whose answer is hopefully their attention and assent." Dr. Hazo is the author of seventeen books of poetry. He has also written three novels. His other works include translations from Arabic and French together with a book-length study of Hart Crane, a book of essays, a prose memoir about Pittsburgh and a play entitled Until I’m Not Here Anymore. In 1973, Hazo’s Once For the Last Bandit was a National Book Award finalist. A former captain in the Marine Corps, he has represented the United States on State Department tours in Greece, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Jamaica and has recited his poetry throughout the United States as well as in England, Ireland and France. He was named Pittsburgh’s Man-of-the-Year in the Arts in 1977 and 1984. He is an honorary Phi Beta Kappa member and a recipient of five honorary degrees. Hazy and his wife, Mary Anne, have one son, Samuel Robert.
Thank a Bored Angel: Selected Poems by Samuel Hazo brings together the poetry of twenty-two years, drawn from eight previous volumes. Assembled here are selections from Discovery (1959), The Quiet Wars (1962), Listen with the Eye (1964), My Sons in God (1965), Blood Rights (1968), Once for the Last Bandit (1972), Quartered (1974), and To Paris (New Directions, 1981). In his preface, Hazo affirms that "each of these poems touches on themes that are still alive in me–-alive in that they seem inexhaustible"; all are rendered in the poet’s own voice, not "in what is irritatingly called a ’persona,’" and none, he says, either when originally composed or now, could be expressed differently. Casting back to the adventures and attachments of half a century, Thank a Bored Angel presents varied, colorful portraits from the poet’s life––as father, son, brother, husband, traveler, army lieutenant, university professor, writer. It is emotion, fancy, speculation––the reflections cast in his mind by events and "accidents of place"––that give them weight. Likewise, Hazo’s considerable passion and stylistic range are not flaunted but, measured by conscience and intent, constitute the poems’ inimitable, penetrating lyricism.
Available: June 01 1983
Reading To Paris, Samuel Hazo’s newest book of poems, is an act of exploration, a search for an American-ness that can be felt in one’s self only while abroad. And what is discovered is not the alienation born of internal exile but a widening sense of humanity defined by tensions between time and place: now and then, here and now. "The Paris in this book," Hazo explains, "is not merely a matter of geography, it is also what Paris means in history and, above all, what it can be imagined to mean. Call it the Paris of the mind or even the Paris in the blood—a certain freedom for the arts, for poetry, for life itself regardless of contradiction or even of consequence. In this sense To Paris for me is both a directional signal and a toast." Here then are honest and courageous poems whose straightforward cadences are attuned to the familiar modulations of American speech. Hazo’s voice, in the words of Archibald MacLeish, "has found the ease to speak the ’You’ who is both ’He’ and ’I’"––reminding us of what we always knew about ourselves but had forgotten to remember.