A Hundred Lovers: Poems (Hardcover)
On Our Shelves Now.
An erotic journal in poems, from a rising star in the American poetry scene, author of the highly acclaimed collection Second Empire.
“A book of love poems that consciously and subversively hearken back to Shakespeare’s sonnets, marking Hofmann’s position as one of our necessary poets of erotic desire.” —Jericho Brown, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Tradition
A Hundred Lovers is a catalog of encounters, sublime, steamy, and frank. Inspired by French autofiction, the poems feel both sharp and diaristic; their lyrical, intimate world brings us everyday scenes imbued with sex. "Eros enters, where shame had lived," the speaker observes, as the poems explore risk and appetite, promiscuity and violence, and, in the wake of his marriage, questions about monogamy and desire.
Bringing us both the carefully knotted silk ties of the wedding pair and their undress in a series of Hockney-like interiors where passion colors every object, Hofmann speaks plainly of the saliva, tears, and guts of the carnal, just as he does of the sublime in works of art. A Hundred Lovers invites us to consider our own memories of pleasure and pain, which fill the generous white space the poet leaves open to us between his ravishing lines.
About the Author
RICHIE HOFMANN is the author of Second Empire (2015), and his poetry has appeared recently in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and The Yale Review. He teaches at Stanford University and lives in Chicago and San Francisco.
“[In A Hundred Lovers] the grit and sacrifice required to understand the sense of beauty and sorrow are deftly captured in the book, and his poetry is an endeavor of commitment to the rendering and refinement of form. It's a work that encapsulates, touching environment, carnal, psychic, and deeply erotic worlds.” —Mark William Norby, Bay Area Reporter
“A Hundred Lovers, [Hofmann's] second collection, is ostensibly an inventory of erotic encounters, but these billets-doux are marbled with another form of love as well, one less carnal, though no less cardinal: the aesthete’s passion for art and beauty . . . Hofmann’s immense love of art, like his more carnal erotic entanglements, engorges his poetic imagery, deepening the mood and meaning.” —Tyler Malone, Poetry Foundation
“Lyrical and steamy, unflinching and diaristic, Richie Hofmann’s book of love poems catalog everyday experiences and encounters imbued with sex. In A Hundred Lovers, Hofmann explores erotic desire and the complicated relationship between pleasure and pain.” —New England Review
“Richie Hofmann’s second poetry collection, A Hundred Lovers, and the experience of reading it, can be best described as a reverie, a state of pleasantly sinking in one’s thoughts as a daydream . . . Hofmann does not only explore the nature of (queer) desire but also imparts an approximation of desire to the reader by always leaving something to be carnally wanted, a backstory to the encounter, more sequential details, a clearer resolution. At a time when contemporary poetry often seeks affective responses that are limited to major emotions such as anger, sadness, happiness, and hope, Hofmann’s poetry expands the repertoire.” —Christos Kalli, The Hopkins Review
“Richie Hofmann writes about erotic love as the ancient Greeks envisioned it: an all-possessing force, a hammer that knocks you flat, simultaneously sweet and bitter, impossible to fight off, but also an organizing principle, a way of seeing and embracing the world . . . Thrillingly, deliciously frank . . . He constructs a temple to desire’s shifting moods and meditates on the complications of loving and being loved.” —Steven Tagle, BOMB
“Richie Hofmann is a modern-day troubadour, singing songs of the erotic gay body and singing them well. The love poems in A Hundred Lovers, inspired by French autofiction, are often candid in tone and formal in shape, each modality lending the other both heat and restraint, in the way that denim or cashmere, standing in the way of a date’s roving hands, only serve to quicken the pulse of desire. Put simply: this is a fucking hot book.” —Matt Ortile, Esquire
“Hofmann presents love—that whirlpool, whirlwind, and wandering emotion that makes life worth living and also ensures future anguish—in its many shades from Eros to Agape. His explorations—like the mythologies—aren’t cherubic, instead embracing both darkness and light. These poems are earthy and multisensory.” —Mandana Chaffa, Chicago Review of Books
“Consciously audacious, wonderfully deliberate . . . Hofmann tactfully welcomes a new, dynamic inelegance, a kind of sideways rhetorical turn toward authenticity, makes the nouns somehow inexact, offhanded, or even lax, if I didn’t know better.” —Spencer Hupp, The Cortland Reveiw
“Expertly wrought . . . Hofmann’s poetry attempts to bring together resonant history and what that history has sought to keep apart: namely, the male lovers who populate his every poem . . . To read A Hundred Lovers, then, is to read not just an account of a body in the various stages of love (or, as in one poem: 'the stages of life') but also of a body as it revels in the world around it.” —Will Brewbaker, Los Angeles Review of Books
“Sensuous . . . Catalogs the tastes, textures, scents, and sounds of queer love, sex, and heartache . . . These are corporeal poems that find their players yearning, yawning, aroused under a chestnut tree, dressed in linens, fed on cheese and apples, mourning, smelling of ferns . . . An entrancing testament to the pleasures and pains of human connection.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“This is a book you take in with your feeling body; it’s full of textures and scents, redolent with music and art. The speaker of these poems, hungry for beauty and brutality, seeks out connection while haunted by the inviolable singleness of the self. One finds an almost lost tradition channeled in these brilliant poems, and also a sensibility that makes tradition startlingly new.” —Garth Greenwell
“Richie Hofmann chisels the excess away, brings to light splendid language. His formal intelligence is ravishing, restless. Crackling with vows and disavowals, studded with keen and elegant imagery, simultaneously raw and curated, his poems remind us the flesh is as curious as the mind. A Hundred Lovers is an unflinching and radiant book.” —Eduardo C. Corral