“Bill Kushner’s streetwise joie de vivre observations charm the hardest of macho hearts. Frank O’Hara would surely approve. These energetic “songs of a goof” are sheer gravy heaven.” – Anne Waldman
Kushner has long been packing them in for his readings in New York’s poetry underground — places such as the KGB Bar and the Cornelia Street Café. Now, In The Hairy Arms of Whitman shows off for the rest of the country how the Bronx-born son of impoverished Russian immigrants has twisted together the strands of New York’s greatest poetry movements to come up with a style that is uniquely his own — as offbeat and relentless as Alan Ginsberg and the Village Beatniks, as funny and intellectually sharp as the New York School’s John Ashbery and Frank O’Hara, and as spiritually searching and inspiring as New York’s first bard, Walt Whitman.
In The Hairy Arms of Whitman puts on full display the talents that have long made Kushner a downtown favorite in New York — the linguistic lushness and quirkiness, the conversational wit and personal narrative forms, and the warming quality of compassion and scrappy perseverance. In The Hairy Arms of Whitman is an affirming tour de force by an important poet.