The Work of a Genius (NEW)

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The Man I Was Supposed to Be: Poems (ebook)

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“Home” (Poem) Video

John reads his poem, “Home,” in memory of his mother on the first Mother’s Day since she passed.


Finalist for the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry
Finalist for the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize
Finalist for the Colorado Prize for Poetry
Finalist for the Idaho Prize for Poetry
Finalist for the Catamaran Poetry Prize
Stegner Fellow
NEA Literature Fellow
Sozopol Fiction Fellow
“These poems are beautifully shaped, and written with such verve that they finally become a dark, unswerving music of self-discovery. The subjects are varied – from a night time constellation to a salmon run. What is constant is the level of craft and care, and the eloquence of feeling which shines out of this distinguished debut collection.”

-- Eavan Boland, author of Domestic Violence

“John Struloeff’s poems bear witness with unsentimental tenderness and sober respect to the community of loggers and fishermen of the Northwest, men making difficult lives out of a natural world whose spiritual power they contact only as they destroy it.”

-- Donald G. Marshall, The Poetry Foundation

“John Struloeff writes solid, sonorous lines. He knows work and has respect for work. He doesn’t need to mystify you with fancy footwork. He locks into the struggle it is to be a man. I put him in the great tradition of Philip Levine and Richard Hugo.”

-- Howard Junker, ZYZZYVA

The Work of a Genius, a poetic journey through the life of Albert Einstein, is nothing less than an act of reclamation. In this age when intellect and empathy are seen as weakness, when the name “Einstein” has become a term of derision and populist bullies lead by fear and the threat of fire, John Struloeff takes back the narrative of what it means to be a person of the mind and of the soul in a post-industrial world that threatens to grind away both. In language that raises the plainspoken to the lyrical, that does not lean on poetic primping or pyrotechnics, Struloeff shows the beauty of a mind trying to reach wider than the sky, of an ear tilted toward the hum of the universe. We see a man with almost divine vision and yet very human flaws in the pursuit of his art, of his physics, who knows in the end what he has known all along: that his “math isn’t enough”, that the numbers only add up relative to love, and that it is likely that it is both God and gravity that hold the universe together.

–Matt W. Miller, author of Tender the River and The Wounded for the Water


JOHN STRULOEFF is Professor and Director of Creative Writing at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA. He recently served as the third Malibu Poet Laureate and is the author of The Work of a Genius and The Man I Was Supposed to Be. His poetry and fiction have appeared in The Atlantic, Verse Daily, The Sun, PN Review (UK), The Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, The Literary Review, Vagabond (Bulgaria), Poet Lore, Rattle, Open Spaces Magazine, Willow Springs, Harpur Palate, The American Journal of Poetry, ZYZZYVA, and many other journals and magazines. A former Stegner and NEA Fellow, he now lives in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains.