"Writer, perf-po (performing poet), and founding member of the 1960s poets' rock group the Fugs, Sanders has now created his own genre, the perf-po verse biography. First subject: the great Russian playwright and story writer Anton Chekhov. It's a highly readable work, beautiful as poetry, accessible as prose, that succeeds brilliantly in telling Chekhov's complex, fascinating life story: childhood in Taganrog, double career as hack journalist and respected physician, rise to a place of honor among Russian writers, and tragic early death from tuberculosis. Structured as a series of short, self-contained poems, many only a few lines long, the intelligent, well-researched work includes considerable discussion of nineteenth-century European history and provides some surprisingly detailed information about the social, political, and intellectual phenomena of Chekhov's Russia: Czar Alexander II's attempts to liberalize (which foundered after his assassination), his son Nicholas I's subsequent reactionary and repressive regime, and the myriad Russian secret societies, all pushing for revolution of some kind."Booklist
Edward Sanders wrote his first poem on jail-cell toilet paper after being arrested for protesting the launch of nuclear submarines in 1961. Political protest remains an intrinsic part of his poetic vision to this day. In 1976, Sanders founded Investigative Poetry; the principles of this movement appear most prominently in his History in Verse series.
Sander's signature is an imaginative compression of historical fact into poetic myth; his mode of "compacted history." Angry, wistful, defiant and extremely funny, Sanders' reinventions of historical worlds offer a moving masque of time constructed out of multiple narrative aspects and tones, skillfully and variously implemented by rhetorical techniques of chronicle, anecdote, document, reportage, paean and polemic. "Poetry should again assume responsibility for the description of history", Ed Sanders proclaimed in his momentous 1976 manifesto on Investigative Poetics. Dedicated since then to a "relentless pursuit of data", Sanders has distinguished himself as the historically engaged poet of his generation, the one poet of imagination whose work also brings us an important vision of a world existing outside itself.
"Chekhov" brings the art of poetic biography to its full, booklength expression -- Sanders' practice of investigative poetry unlaying both the life of one of the greatest writers and the turbulent history of pre-Revolutionary Russia, ever on the edge of Europe, the bloody wave of pogroms and anti-Semitic persecutions which marked the times of the great Russian master playwright, story writer and physician Anton Chekhov.
In a unique style of biographical poetry, Edward Sanders recounts the short life and revolutionary times of Anton Chekov. "It's a highly readable work, beautiful as poetry, accessible as prose, that succeeds brilliantly in telling Chekhov's complex, fascinating life story."Booklist