Luck: Poems by Marc Elihu Hofstadter

Praise for Luck

In Luck, Marc Hofstadter reveals a thorough mastery of craft and passion. The candor startles. Poignancy dominates. Fire in the remembered detail. Hofstadter is becoming the American Constantine Cavafy. We see the Alexandrian in Hofstadter's verbal skills and irony, his historic humor, the intrusion of rapture and the memory of rapture and, above all, the constant heartbeat of pathos.—Willis Barnstone, author of Algebra of Night and Life Watch

With the clarity, simplicity, intimacy and authority of an ancient Chinese master, Marc Hofstadter turns his tender gaze to ordinary moments that resonate with lived feeling. How refreshing it is to find such a true and honest book of poems as Luck — Stephen Kessler, author of Tell It to the Rabbis and After Modigliani

Luck delivers a whole life in snapshots taken at moments of bell-like clarity in late afternoon just before half-light descends. Accessible, highly compressed phrases and luminous language. Complete awareness of life's transience and of thought's transience at the same time. Full range of feeling. These poems are flowers that breathe in my soul and reflect back utterly resonant pictures.—Clive Matson, author of Let the Crazy Child Write and Squish Boots

Marc Hofstadter's poems are, at once, challenged by the impenetrable nature of the mystery and grateful for what is given; for love, its delicate radar, its most humble acts.—Daniel Marlin


Some days nothing is yours.
Not the bed you sleep in,
your favorite Paisley shirt,
or even the sky,
speckled with cold white.
Your partner’s tone carefully reminds you
he’s his own man,
and your friends maintain
an adult distance.
You’re not even master of yourself:
your moods run off in zigzag rivulets,
like spilled milk.
Nothing to do but wait it out,
try to sit emptied of thought
until the world in its own sweet time
floods back—
for your life wasn’t given to you,
only lent,
and one day you’re going to have to give it back.