“Michael Cantor’s poems in Furusato weave a mesmerizing story, a black-and-white film, that takes us to Japan, Manhattan, Santa Fe, and unnamed foreign cities, following a sometimes there, sometimes not urbane mystery man who is at home everywhere, and therefore nowhere. Furusato means “where my people lived, the place /that we are from; my ancestors lie here,” and Cantor explores this theme beautifully and hauntingly. He uses form, free verse, Japanese stanzas and his own invented forms masterfully to introduce characters looking for their own homes: Sushi Sue, Tina the pole dancer, Bernie Madoff, Russian spies, and a somewhat older Rick and Ilse, meeting one last time in Casablanca. And at last we are granted a glimpse into his own furusato--his youth in the Bronx and his emotional home on the fictional Plover Island. For all of us traveling through life, Cantor’s poems are a gift from a poet with the intelligence, wit, self-awareness, and insight to help us recognize our own furusato.” --Midge Goldberg

“If Michael Cantor’s Furusato (Japanese for “Home Town”) were only a dazzling display of formal verse at its most polished and expert, that in itself would make it worth owning and reading many times over. Its triolets, Asian forms, sestinas and experimental hybrids are as aesthetically satisfying as they are daring. But these poems are so much more that the reader ends by taking their miraculous skill for granted and focusing entirely on the dry, almost cruel humor with which they convey what “home” means, and how experience lived in our various homes shapes us, and then go on to create characters and narratives impossible to forget. The collection ends with a handful of masterpieces—“On Rolfe’s Lane,” “Lament,” “The Historian,” and “Clever,” among many others earlier in the book—that outdo and outweigh the craftsmanship you will have forgotten to notice by then.”   --Rhina Espaillat

“Michael Cantor's second book, Furasato, delivers what his readers have come to expect: fresh narratives, formal invention, a passion for all things Japanese, and imaginative attention to the details of his worlds. Furasato manages to be both timely and timeless.” --A.M. Juster


Life in the Second Circle

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“Michael Cantor uses words to paint and sculpt the world. .. Life in the Second Circle is a sensory kaleidoscope where the poems are more like movies. In Jump-Cut, the speaker says that film absorbs a life; you could say the same of Cantor’s poetry. And, although another poem refers to life being life, the bitch it wants to be, life for this poet is irresistibly wonderful....

“There are Cantor’s women, for instance (to mention only one category), often with attributes not necessarily attractive: a faint incipient mustache; loose and mottled flesh. There’s the wife, short and squarely built, who chewed her lip—the detail that brings her to life. My favorite, though, is the woman who has a red mouth bursting with kisses....

“Cantor’s cinematic vividness makes him a supreme master of Zeitgeist, who captures time and place in jewels of verse-drama: A poem about the movie Breathless nails the grainy black and white of Paris in the Sixties. The largely-forgotten title character in The Man Who Caught the Pass becomes a Rosencranz, a Guildenstern, whose role was simply to be there. The terzanelle Watching Reruns provides another slice of life: The weary talk, the crime scene tape, the crowd. About Genghis Khan, the title says it all: Retired, and Living in Seclusion Near Las Vegas, Khan Reflects...

“Cantor wears his intellect lightly. He is not a Poet who takes himself Seriously; he’s having too much fun. And he wears his tastes and opinions lightly, too. But his poetry is nonetheless serious business. Cantor—hip and retro-cool—flashes the world before us in Fifties Technicolor, neon, stereo, Imax, Sensurround. But he’s not only a philosopher, he’s also an urban/urbane romantic. “ --From the Foreword by Deborah Warren