56 pages • 5.5” x 8.5”
The Man Who Lived Among the Cannibals is a sequence of thirty-seven persona poems written by Laurie Robertson-Lorant. Fusing fact and fiction, reality and imagination, seriousness and humor, the biographer-poet creates a vivid poetic memoir of the adventurous sailor-author of Typee, Moby-Dick, Benito Cereno, Billy Budd and many other works of prose and poetry. In separate poems, for example, she imagines Melville talking with Frederick Douglass in New Bedford, Massachusetts in December, 1840, whaling and savoring sex in the South Seas, responding to what Berkshire gossips say about him, facing writer’s block and family tragedies, and comparing notes on history and politics with George Orwell in the belly of a whale. In one poem, Melville's wife Elizabeth has her say, too. This provocative and accessible poetic portrait is bound to draw new readers to Melville’s writings as well to Laurie Robertson-Lorant’s eminently readable Melville: A Biography (paperback, UMass Press), a "vivid portrait" that “brings to life the Melville who wrote like an angel one day and a madman the next" (David Kirby, The New York Times Book Review)—"a biography that lives, breathes, and speaks--a biography that will endure" (Carolyn Karcher, The New England Quarterly).
Laurie Robertson-Lorant is the author of the Melville: A Biography, the only up-to-date, full-length, fully annotated, complete, one-volume biography of Melville. After teaching at Berkshire Community College, St. Mark's School, Southborough, School Year Abroad, France, and MIT, Dr. Lorant is currently a Full-Time Visiting Lecturer at UMass Dartmouth. Her poems have appeared in the Atlanta Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Black Buzzard Review, Earth’s Daughters, Igitur, Intuitions, Leviathan, Oxalis, Radcliffe Quarterly, Rockhurst Review, Sandscript, Scripsit, Sing, Heavenly Muse, Southcoast Poetry Journal, The American Voice, The North American Review, and The Worcester Review, and in several anthologies: October Mountain: An Anthology of Berkshire Writers, edited by Paul Metcalf, Sad Little Breathings and Other Ventriloquisms, edited by Heather McHugh, and We Speak for Peace, edited by Ruth Jacobs.