Talking to Stanley on the Telephone


Talking to Stanley on the Telephone rummages through the desires, frustrations and waning faculties of old age. The stories it tells add up to a vivacious celebration of life-spans and the darkening comedy of growing old.

Read a sample.

Published 1st March 2021

What Writers and Critics Think

  • Age has not diminished Michael Schmidt’s boyish wonder at the world but rather made his bemused questioning of the foibles of its fickle folk all the merrier and more poignant. These are also poems of self-questioning, with Schmidt talking not just to Stanley Moss on the phone at night but engaging with the past (himself as a boy) while addressing himself in the present (still a boy at heart). They are wry, playful monologues puzzling over what can only be unpacked, or more often left equivocal, in the poem itself. Reading this book, we find ourselves in the stimulating company of a poet-conversationalist par excellence, listening to what might feel addressed to us while eavesdropping on what is clearly not.

    Neil Astley
  • Michael Schmidt’s poetry deserves more recognition. It is both alert and sensitive to the nuances of language. In his latest collection ‘Talking to Stanley on the Telephone’ Schmidt does not disappoint. Schmidt’s writing is stunning and shows us what poetry can do.

    South Bank Poetry


Vibrant, radiant … steeped in modernist tradition (Yeats and Eliot) and questingly new … a passionate discourse that is at once earthy and numinous. – John Ashbery on Very Selected: Michael Schmidt


Michael Schmidt is the author of several books of poetry. His Selected Poems (Smith|Doorstop) was a PBS Special Commendation. He has written Lives of the Poets, The Ancient Poets and The Novel: a Biography, and he has produced notable canonical and introductory anthologies. He is Editorial Director and Publisher at Carcanet Press and General Editor of PN Review.

Additional information

Weight 0.087 kg
Dimensions 21.6 × 0.9 × 13.8 cm
Publication Year

March 2021


978-1-912196-44-9, 978-1-912196-45-6




Book, eBook (ePub)