Bart Edelman was born in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1951 and spent his childhood in Teaneck.
He moved to California after earning both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Hofstra University in New York.
Currently, he is a professor of English at Glendale College where he edits Eclipse, a literary journal.
He has been awarded numerous grants and fellowships from the U. S. Department of Education and the L.B.J. School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin to conduct literary research in India, Egypt, Nigeria, and Poland.
Crossing the Hackensack, Edelman's first book of poetry, was published by Prometheus Press in 1993.
Susan Heeger, in the Los Angeles Times, wrote, "Edelman has written movingly about the cultural and emotional limbo of living abroad."
Michael Logue, of Chapman University's Steel and Ivy Poetry Series, commented, "Edelman bridges the two worlds of scholarly poetry and the oral traditions of street poetry to create a rich work of art which touches the reader on many levels. His poetry appeals not only to the intellect but also to the emotions."
Edelman's second book, Under Damaris' Dress, was published by Lightning Publications in 1996. Mike Cluff, in Inside English, wrote, "Edelman's poetry shows an artist at work. . . his poetry is poignant, metaphoric and breathtaking." Cheri Davis Langdell, author of W.S. Merwin, commented, "Bart Edelman's poetry is true art. These beautiful, knowing poems are about loneliness, love and isolation, poems which have at their center a stillness as well as a strong presence."
The Alphabet of Love, Edelman's third collection, was published by Red Hen Press in 1999. Oscar Mandel, author of Fundamentals of the Art of Poetry, wrote, "often humorous, always tender-hearted, Bart Edelman is the best kind of poet we have... This entire collection of shimmering pearls sings to a multitude of grateful readers."
Jo Ray McCuen, editor of Readings for Writers, commented, "All of the tightly woven, passionate lines in Bart Edelman's The Alphabet of Love enter your heart where they cast a hypnotic spell that leaves you with new insights about love, hate, and despair. . . . Edelman has made a significant contribution to contemporary poetry."
Edelman's fourth volume of poetry is The Gentle Man, also published by Red Hen Press, in 2001. Kate Gray, in the Clackamas Literary Review, wrote "Men's poetry has grown into a gentle art... Perhaps it was Robert Bly who called men inside themselves. Certainly it was Billy Collins and Li-Young Lee who challenged men to notice their vulnerable natures and the intimacy of their relationships. In this fine new tradition lies Bart Edelman. In his latest collection, The Gentle Man, he captures the complexity of the roles men play today. . . ."
William Heyen commented:
"Not quite like any other poetry I've read. . . Bart Edelman's complex and inexhaustible song in The Gentle Man concerns his admission that 'What I really know about love / Could never amount to much.' . . . Reading this unexpected, unusual, troubling book, I kept thinking of Emerson's ‘Up again, old heart!' And my deep anxieties were answered with poetry."
Edelman’s fifth book of poetry is The Last Mojito (Red Hen Press, 2005). Ryan Van Cleave, editor of The Longman Anthology of Poetry, wrote, “The Last Mojito weaves passionate portraits into a cohesive enthralling collection.
These poems represent an astonishing range of vision and connect to the tradition of American literature.” David L. Ulin, Book Editor of the Los Angeles Times, commented, “Bart Edelman is one of my favorite poets – spare and smart, lyrical but never sentimental about the mechanics of love. In his new collection, The Last Mojito, he invokes figures both public and private to get at the ‘long drawn out sorrow’ of our silent hearts. Edelman is an elegist, writing laments for our daily losses and capitulations, yet seeing hope where, by all rights, it should not exist. In the process, he continually exposes the difficult dynamics of what it means to be human.”
Edelman’s most recent poetry collection is The Geographer’s Wife (Red Hen Press, 2012). Amy Sage Webb, editor of the Flint Hills Review wrote, “The way magnetism draws the needle of a compass, yearning pulls the poems in this collection through the cardinal directions of a world in which time is not linear but cyclical… Bart Edelman’s The Geographer’s Wife orients the reader in the body as a map of desire, where the individual life becomes a locus of its own.
Todd James Pierce, winner of the Drue Heinz Literary Award commented, “Bart Edelman’s sixth book, The Geographer’s Wife, is chock-full of stunning, stand-out poems… In this collection, Bart Edelman is single-minded in his purpose. He takes in the popular language of America—East, North, South, and West—and creates buoyant melodies of “coolness,” a popular verbal chill that also diagnoses our deepest troubles—contemporary isolation and a profound longing for love.
And Tom Chandler, Poet Laureate of Rhode Island emeritus wrote, “Bart Edelman understands how words should taste, how sounds strung with precision can create a universe of meaning far beyond denotation… The poems in The Geographer’s Wife are etched into mirrors—transparent but with surprises built to stand up through reading after reading.”
Edelman was Poet-in-Residence at Monroe College of the State University of New York at Rochester.
Recent anthology and textbook credits include the following:
City Light Books
Simon & Schuster
The University of Iowa Press
Bart Edelman lives in Pasadena, California.