Gene Frumkin


The Old Man
Who Swam Away
and Left Only
His Wet Feet


120 pages

8 x 8 inches

ISBN: 1-888809-08-6




This book brings together two previously released chapbooks of Gene Frumkin’s, A Lover’s Quarrel with America and Dostoevsky & Other Nature Poems, along with new poems from the last decade—thirty years of writing. Collected here is the work built of longer lines and open field, and as always his signature stoic humor. “These poems have emanated from nature and meant to be a tribute to nature: the nature of the four elements, human nature, art and artists as facts of nature, and the nature of language itself.” Described as an “unlineal descendent of Dostoevsky”, Frumkin’s philosophical equations and remarkable language describe hopeful endurance within the modern condition, life strategies “where green disengages / from truth / and emerges armed with wily music.”
Saying is, indeed, believing.

Gene Frumkin brilliantly and genuinely conceives work that invites repeated reading and deepens with each new exposure. This collection spans three decades of published work. First appearing in 1972, DOSTOEVSKY & OTHER NATURE POEMS finds economy in the long line; blends humor with a pensive lyricism, and philosophy with clarifying imagery. Introduced in 1985, A LOVER’S QUARREL WITH AMERICA progesees toward greater realism and a sharpening focus while blurring the lines between politics, narrative, and lyric. The new poems are intimate, humorous, wistful, and decidedly personla while engaging with the philosophical preoccupation present throughout Frumkin’s work: “ I look like myself / only when somebody quotes me.” To read Gene Frumkin is to remnew faith in the power of language to crystallize experience in a transformative way. This work is suprememly satisfying, integrating genius and humility in writing and living.”

— Sheila E. Murphy

Molested by the very compensations of his own existence, Gene Frumkin offers us, planetary mollusk that he is, the awesome panorama of an oceanic mind. America has a super abundance of pseudo-poets disturbing the waters; this is one of the true poets of our time, sounding the depths.

— Alvaro Cardona-Hine

Born in New York City, Gene Frumkin has spent by far the majority of his life in the West, first in Los Angeles and since 1966 in Albuquerque. After matriculating at UCLA, he became a journalist for 14 years before moving to New Mexico to take a position at the University of New Mexico. He is now Professor Emeritus of English at that institution. Frumkin has published 11 books of poems, including three chapbooks. Frumkin has served as an editor of Coastlines Literary Magazine, The California Quarterly, The San Marcos Review, The Blue Mesa Review, New Mexico Quarterly, and The Indian Rio Grande: Recent Poems from 3 Cultures (anthology). He has accepted numerous literary awards that were never offered to him.