David Rosenthal

David Rosenthal (Poetry) | Berkeley, CA

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David Rosenthal lives in Berkeley, California, and works as a teacher and instructional coach in the Oakland Unified School District. His book, The Wild Geography of Misplaced Things, was a semi-finalist for both the Richard Wilbur Poetry Award and the Donald Justice Poetry Prize. His poems and translations have appeared in print and online in Rattle, Teachers & Writers Magazine, Birmingham Poetry Review, Measure, Raintown Review, The Formalist, Modern Haiku, The Lyric, Unsplendid, Lilliput Review, Umbrella, and other venues. He has been a Pushcart Prize Nominee and a Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award finalist, and was the winner of the 2018 Soul-Making Keats Sonnet Competition.


The Wild Geography of Misplaced Things (White Violet Press, 2013). Poetry.

Blurbs, Press, & Reviews

“David Rosenthal is a very careful poet. I suppose that goes with the territory when one’s profession is teaching little children. Like little kids, poems need to be cared for, even curated. Rosenthal sets his carefully chosen words in the silver chains of his lines, and the effect is lapidary. Purchase and read this book.”
—Timothy Murphy, The Deed of Gift, Very Far North, Mortal Stakes/Faint Thunder

“David Rosenthal’s The Wild Geography of Misplaced Things takes us beyond the established borders of our ordinary lives into memory and its defiance of time, a place where things that may have been misplaced suddenly reappear and reveal their true nature, until we realize that nothing in Rosenthal’s world that truly matters is misplaced or forgotten. Just as ‘petals from a plum tree . . . / let their branches go / to take their chances on the air,’ Rosenthal lets go of safety and security to take his chances again and again on song. It helps that rhythm seems to come as naturally to him as breathing. It helps that he knows the value of laughter and the dangers of too much restriction — he must be a wonderful teacher, given that he knows how wrong it is to force children into such regimentation that we ‘have them sit in squares . . . [and] turn their searching eyes to stares.’ It helps that he has a boundless capacity for tenderness, one that is never sentimental and can be quite erotic, as in the delicately achieved ‘Braille.’ It helps that his clarity of purpose is never polemical or dogmatic, even when it is hard-hitting: in what is really an elegy, Rosenthal tells us the swings of a playground abandoned in favor of a parking lot will fall into disuse ‘unless the wind brings ghosts to play.’ And it helps that Rosenthal knows what he knows — ‘There is music in the woods tonight.’ For woods, read wild geography. Rosenthal makes the listening as instructive as it is delightful.”
—Lynne Knight, Again, The Book of Common Betrayals, The Persistence of Longing

“How lucky David Rosenthal’s students are! They have a teacher whose perception of the physical world is as fresh, genuine and immediate as their own, whose language is as bravely, unashamedly direct, and whose desire to play — with words, images, ideas, experiences and things — is apparently as inexhaustible. And they’re luckier still in the extras he brings them: the adult capacity to value all of those important and impermanent blessings, the poet’s urge to preserve them in poems, and the wisdom to know that nothing else can. Come to think of it, his readers are even luckier — all of them, at any age.”
—Rhina P. Espaillat, Where Horizons Go, Rehearsing Absence, Her Place in These Designs


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