Biography of Jonathan Galassi
Jonathan Galassi was born in Seattle, Washington, is the President and Publisher of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, one of the eight major publishers in New York. He began his publishing career at Houghton Mifflin in Boston, moved to Random House in New York, and finally, to Farrar, Straus & Giroux. He joined FSG as executive editor in 1985, after being fired from Random House. Two years later, he was named editor-in-chief, and is now President and Publisher.
Galassi is also a translator of poetry and a poet himself. He has translated and published the poetic works of the Italian poets Giacomo Leopardi and Eugenio Montale. His honors as a poet include a 1989 Guggenheim Fellowship, and his activities include having been poetry editor for The Paris Review for ten years, and being an honorary chairman of the Academy of American Poets. He has published poems in literary journals and magazines including Threepenny Review, The New Yorker, The Nation and the Poetry Foundation website.
Galassi graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy where he became interested in poetry, writing and literature, and from Harvard College in 1971. He was a Marshall Scholar at Christ's College, Cambridge. He realized while attending Christ’s College that he wanted a career in book publishing. Galassi was born in Seattle (his father worked as an attorney for the Justice Department), but he grew up in Plympton, Massachusetts. He lives in Brooklyn and is married to Susan Grace, and they have two daughters.
Jonathan Galassi's Works:
Full-Length Poetry Collections
North Street: Poems (HarperCollins Publishers, 2000)
Morning Run: Poems (Paris Review Editions/British American Pub., 1988)
Selected Poems of Eugenio Montale (translated by Jonathan Galassi, Charles Wright, and David Young; edited with an introduction by David Young; Oberlin College Press, 2004)
A Boy Named Giotto by Paolo Guarnieri (pictures by Bimba Landmann; Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999)
Collected poems, 1920-1954: Eugenio Montale (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 1998)
Otherwise: Last and First Poems of Eugenio Montale (Vintage Books, 1984)
The Second Life of Art: Selected Essays of Eugenio Montale (Ecco Press, 1982)
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Jonathan Galassi Poems
He was middle-aged which means that the mixture of death and life in him was still undetermined. And
I tried, and each attempt was a fiasco. I yearned, but every love of mine was wrong. I needed, and the shame was overwhelming. I failed, and so I hated being young.
You were in bed. You heard your mother working in the kitchen. It was still light, the birds were bickering, the waterfall behind the house was falling.
If your bearded friend helps you catch the trout barehanded in the pool of the dream
The barroom mirror lit up with our wives has faded to a loaded-to-the-gills Japanese subcompact, little lives asleep behind us, heading for the hills
Heartworn happiness, fine line that winds among the tapestry’s old blacks and blues, bright hair blazing in the theater, red hair raving in the bar—as now
North Of Childhood
Somewhere ahead I see you watching something out your window, what I don’t know. You’re tall, not on your tiptoes, green,
The backyard apple tree gets sad so soon, takes on a used-up, feather-duster look within a week.
Lunch Poem For F.S.
The dirty sunlight in the clerestory windows of our faux-Parisian lair lends a streaky, half-forgiving glow to yet another summit with no purpose:
Now that the ticket to eternity has your name on it, we are here to pay the awkward tribute post-modernity allows to those who think they think your way
A fool for love, an inner refugee, sees a peacock strutting in the birdhouse high on a branch and fanning the broadest, most articulated fan tail
Down the path between the apples through the maple grove of suicides then left at the old wall along the wire fence to the brook-
Now that the ticket to eternity
has your name on it, we are here to pay
the awkward tribute post-modernity
allows to those who think they think your way
but hear you only faintly, filtered through
a gauze of echoes, sounding in a voice
that could be counterfeit; and yet the noise
seems to expand our notion of the true.