Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

Michael C. Blumenthal

(1949-    )

[Photograph used with permission of Michael Blumenthal]

Michael Blumenthal was born March 8, 1949 in Vineland, New Jersey. He attended State University of New York at Binghamton where he studied philosophy. After graduating from college, he taught German at a school for emotionally disturbed adolescents. He received his law degree from Cornell in 1974 and joined the Federal Trade Commission as a lawyer (1974-75). He left the FTC to become an arts administrator with the National Endowment for the Arts (1975-1976) and then editor at Time-Life Books (1977-80). He returned to the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1980 as assistant to the chairman, a position he held until 1981. Blumenthal was a lecturer in poetry at Harvard University and director of Creative Writing at Harvard. From 1992-1996, he was Senior Fulbright Lecturer in American Literature in Budapest, as well as an editor at the Central European University Press. From 1996 to 1997, he taught at the University of Haifa in Israel. His poetry has received various awards and fellowships. Blumenthal's work is anthologized in Helen Vendler (ed.), The Harvard Book of Contemporary American Poetry 392-94 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985).

Blumenthal has lived in, and taught at universities in Hungary, Israel, Germany and France, mostly as a Fulbright Fellow. In 2004-2005, he held the Acuff Chair of Excellence in the Creative Arts at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee. He spends his summers in a small village near the shores of Lake Balaton in Hungary.

Michael Blumenthal
personal website

Michael Blumenthal
Poetry Porch: Poets

Blumenthal--literary lawyer
The Record (West Virginia)

Michael Blumenthal
Poetry Foundation

What is the Value of Art?
Interview by a West Virginia philosophy professor

Photo by West Virginia University Photography

Lecture, "The Road Not Taken--Twice," presented at the College of Law,
West Virginia University, November 8, 2006 [online text of the lecture]


[Bleibtreustrasse] [For I Have Lived Like a Dusty Angel] [And I Have Known the Tedium of Playgrounds] [Light at Age Thirty-two] [What I Believe] [Two Arts] [Two Poems: First Snow Cambridge Mass. & The Mouth] [A Marriage] [The Hearts of Men]

Poetry Reading :: University of Chicago, February 1, 2007

Blumenthal Reading at West Virginia University
April 9, 2009

Readings of Michael Blumenthal's Poems by Garrison Keillor
on The Writer's Almanac


"And the Wages of Goodness Are Not Assured"
September 21, 1997

"Days We Would Rather Know"
July 26, 2006

"Light, at Thirty-Two"
July 30, 2006 :: March 20, 2007

July 15, 2006

"What I Believe"
February 28, 2009

"And Here You Are"
September 4, 2009

"And the Cantilevered Inference Shall Hold the Day"
September 14, 2009
[another reading of the poem]

"In a Time of Economic Downturn, I Gaze Up at The Sky"
February 8, 2010

November 13, 2012

"Be Kind"
August 28, 2014

"For My Son, Reading Harry Potter"
October 13, 2014

"Six Cheerful Couplets on Death"
October 17 , 2014

"I Think Constantly of Those Who Were Truly Great"
October 21, 2014

November 13, 2014

"Days We Would Rather Know"
March 16, 2015


Michael Blumenthal, No Hurry: Poems 2000--2012 (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania: Etruscan Press, 2012)

_______________, And (Rochester, New York: BOA Editions, 2009)

_______________, Dusty Angel: Poems (Rochester, New York: BOA Editions, 1999)

_______________, The Wages of Goodness: Poems (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1992)

_______________, Against Romance: Poems (New York: Viking, 1987)(New York: Penguin, 1988) (New York: Pleasure Boat Studio, 2005)

_______________, Days We Would Rather Know: Poems (New York: Viking, 1984)(East Rutherford, New Jersey: Penguin, 1984) (New York: Pleasure Boat Studios, 2005)

_______________, Laps: A Poem (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1984)

_______________, Sympathetic Magic (Huntington, New York: Water Mark Press, 1980)


Michael Blumenthal, All My Mothers and Fathers: A Memoir (New York: HarperCollins, 2002)


Michael Blumenthal, Just Three Minutes, Please: Thinking Out Loud on Public Radio (Morgantown, West Virginia: Vandalia Press, 2014)

_______________, The Greatest Jewish-American Lover in Hungarian History (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania: Etruscan Press, 2014) [stories]

_______________, When History Enters the House: Essays from Central Europe (Bainbridge Island, Washington: Pleasure Boat Studio, 1997)

_______________, Weinstock Among the Dying: A Novel (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Zoland Books, 1993) (New York: Pleasure Boat Studio, 2008)

_______________ (ed.), To Woo and To Wed: Contemporary Poets on Love and Marriage (New York: Poseido Press, 1992)

[Small Press Distribution: Poetry, Fiction and Cultural Writing, Fall, 2008, p.52]

Sonja James, Montserrat Review
a review of Michael Blumenthal's And

John Stoehr review of Blumenthal's And
Jewish Daily Forward

Poems Appearing in Poetry Magazine

"The Flirtation," Vol. 136, May 1980, pg. 74
"Life Goes On," Vol. 136, May 1980, pg. 74
"Days We Would Rather Know,"Vol. 138, July 1981, pg. 203
"Cheers," Vol. 142, June 1983, pg. 149
"What a Time!," Vol. 144, April 1984, pg. 22
"The Disappointments of Childhood," Vol. 144, April 1984, pg. 22
"Back from the Word Processing Course, I Say to My Old Typewriter,"
         Vol. 144, April 1984, pg. 22
"Advice to My Students: How To Write a Poem," Vol. 145,
         February 1985, pg. 274
"First Snow: Cambridge, Mass.," Vol. 151, October 1987, pg. 16
"The Pleasures of Old Age," Vol. 151, February 1988, pg. 413
"And the Wages of Goodness Are Not Assured," Vol. 159, Nov. 1991,
         pg. 95
"Ordinary Heartbreaks," Vol. 159, November 1991, pg. 95
"The Forces," Vol. 164, June 1994, pg. 150
"Never To Have Loved a Child," Vol. 164, June 1994, pg. 150
"The Accountant," Vol. 164, June 1994, pg. 150
"I Think Constantly of Those Who Were Truly Great," Vol. 181, October  2002, pg. 9                  

[Source: Historical Index, Poetry]