Music is used in this book of poetry as more than subject matter but as a metaphor for the examined life. In the collection, a man’s transformations are measured by the concerts he has witnessed, the depth of a woman’s life is revealed by an unfinished painting her son attempts to complete, and a composer is gauged by his silences. With a compression rare in contemporary poetry and a leavening wit, the author draws the reader toward a subject’s interior through its beguiling surface and springs secrets from uninspected common places.
“In his first collection of poems, Bruce Berger faces the music with keen ears and sharp eyes. Insightful and resonant, these poems vibrate with feeling and understanding not only of music but of life, love, and the pursuit of meaning. The voice rings true, the cadences and rhymes are nuanced and subtle, the subjects are at once unique and universal. Facing the Music is filled with poems that speak to the head and to the heart. They leave a lasting resonance.”
—Eugenia Zukerman, flutist
Bruce Berger is a pianist who has played professionally in the U.S. and Spain and has given benefit concerts in Mexico. He has also given poetry readings in New Delhi and Mumbai and was sent to represent the U.S. at the Mussoorie International Writers' Festival in Northern India. He is the author of Almost an Island, The Telling Distance, and There Was a River. He lives in Aspen, Colorado.