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Common Sense
Ted Greenwald

Wesleyan Poetry Series

2016 • 202 pp. 6 x 9 1/4"
Poetry / Poetry - American

$17.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-7642-2
$14.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7643-9

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“No poet has taken the idea that poetry should be at least as good as overheard conversation as seriously as Ted Greenwald.”Publishers Weekly

Reissue of a seminal Greenwald collection

First published in 1979, Common Sense evinces a spare street-wise style rooted in the vernacular of the city. Now something of a cult classic, the book is recognized as an understated masterpiece, pushing at the edges of spoken word. This is the language of everyday, brought onto the page in such a way that we never lose the flow of speech and at the same time we become attuned to its many registers—musical, emotional, ironic. Ted Greenwald’s work has been associated with several major veins of American poetry, including the Language movement and the New York School, but it remains unclassifiable. An online reader’s companion will be available at

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Greenwald’s poems, from the start, were so much their own method and approach, that he seemed to have sprouted like some hybrid from the grey dense concrete of Manhattan streets.” —The Compass Rose

“The poems are quick, fervent outbursts of song... Greenwald’s Common Sense celebrates the beauty of ordinary language. These are poems unique in their attitude toward language and humanity, and they provide us with an absolutely vital reading experience. The poems are strong words from an even stronger mind unafraid to endow the words with flesh and bone. Greenwald is the ultimate poet’s poet.”—Sonja James, The Journal

“Ted Greenwald knows what real American talk sounds like, understands the rhythm and pulse of the language, and knows how to write poems that are built around that knowledge. He is one of America’s most ambitious and provocative poets.”—Terence Winch, Jacket 19, October 2002, reviewing Jumping the Line

“Ted Greenwald’s poems ‘give voice’ to a variety of New York idioms, and with that, a distinct attitude toward both language and experience. His hard and insistent surfaces admit to an extraordinary range of feeling, humor, observation and often ironic commentary. His ultimate strength as a poet is his basic humanity, something that can be claimed for very few.”Bill Berkson

“Craftsmanship of line breaks. Motored by mind. Stark insight. Truncated adventitiousisms. Balls. The Age of Reasons, poems from half a lifetime ago, demonstrates why Ted Greenwald has inspired so many poets ever since. When it ships, it should be packed in laurels.”John Godfrey

From the Book:


The long and the short
Of it is
I have to keep pushing
I feel myself
Pushing against the 
Lead-in to beauty
And take a hunch through
With me
Into the halls
Where the everyday
Seems like eternity
There’s no fooling around
About something
As serious
As it is beautiful
There’s no match
For the feeling
That gets there
When I get there
And absolutely no sense
Of duration
And no telling
How everything turns out

TED GREENWALD has published extensively for over fifty years. He is the author of over thirty books, including Licorice Chronicles, Word of Mouth, Jumping the Line, In Your Dreams, 3, and Clearview/LIE. He lives in New York City.

Click here for author's website.

Tue, 15 May 2018 13:35:01 -0500