Carnegie Mellon University Press
Reviews & Commentary
Jeff Friedman is at it again. Marksman reinvents myths and Biblical allegories, addresses the political chaos of our day, journeys through landscapes of salt and dust. Friedman’s latest collection tackles futility and failure, old grudges and new regrets, with a dry wit and searing honesty. God eats a sandwich. The scattered ashes of loved ones become seeds. Read this book and you will laugh and cry, agonize and celebrate. Marksman is a book about surviving our time.
—Jennifer Militello, author of A Camouflage of Specimens and Garments
Jeff Friedman is an Old Testament prophet who wandered out of the desert to find himself in a contemporary America ravaged by its broken promises. He loves and eviscerates with the tools of both standup comedians and philosophers, in a voice markedly his. The collection entrances with its Biblical cadences, dire warnings couched in humor, abiding grievances and, above all, forgiveness, the latter startling “like a siren on a crowded street / or the crack before the ceiling gives.” In the gashes of the earth, seeds are about to burst just as the marksman, tongue sheathed in chocolate, is about to please the beloved. Such moments of resplendent sensuality glisten among ashscapes shaken by the “sonic boom” of crashing bodies and rising greed. Friedman’s Marksman, crafty and memorably crafted, aches so we may laugh.
—Mihaela Moscaliuc, author of Immigrant Model
In his moving and necessary new book, Friedman, working in his various modes—prophetic, comic, fabulist, absurd, goofball—laments the devastated and devastating world, trying to make some sense of the senseless. This is a book of mourning, and a book of laughter. A book of sorrow and a book of silliness. A book of ghosts and a book of dreaming.