The Book of Emblems takes its title from the devotional genre, popular throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, whose allegorical illustrations were meant to focus the mind on the divine.
Using a variety of narrative voices, a taut lyricism, and an array of images culled from the author’s travels in the United States and abroad, this volume celebrates the mind’s aspiration to a deeper understanding of its own mysteries: the literary and visual arts, sexuality, familial love, and the dark, connective wonder of death.
The collection was recently awarded the fifth annual Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize (2009).
Matthew Ladd was born in Los Angeles and raised in Texas. After completing his undergraduate work in West Texas, he read for the MPhil in Divinity at Cambridge, submitting a Master’s thesis on Kierkegaard and German Idealism. In 2006 he received an MFA in Poetry from the University of Florida. His poems have appeared in such journals as the Paris Review, Yale Review, Virginia Quarterly and Antioch Review. He has also written criticism for the American Scholar, The Humanist and the Threepenny Review, among other publications, and he writes an annual poetry review for West Branch, the literary journal of Bucknell University. He currently lives in New York.