Tom Mandel (poet)

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Thomas Poeller Mandel (born 1942 in Chicago, Illinois) is a contemporary American poet whose work is often associated with the Language poets.


Born Thomas Oskar Poeller to Rose Kassner and Thaddeus Poeller, Austrian Jews who had just escaped Europe - first leaving Vienna and then escaping France. Thaddeus Poeller had been imprisoned in the French concentration camp Vernet and died in America in 1946 of a liver disease he contracted at the camp. Rose Poeller then married Paul Mandel, who adopted Tom and gave him his name. Mandel attended school in Chicago, including the University of Chicago where he studied with Hannah Arendt, Saul Bellow, the classicist and translator David Grene, and the art critic Harold Rosenberg among others. A first marriage in Chicago produced two daughters, Jessica and Sarah. He is currently married to the writer Beth Joselow and lives in Lewes, Delaware.


After sojourns in New York and Paris, Mandel moved to San Francisco and became involved with the new poetry that was arising there, later known as the Language School. He co-curated a reading series with Ron Silliman at the Grand Piano, a coffee house in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, continuing a series originally founded by Barrett Watten. In 1978-79, he was Director of the Poetry Center at San Francisco State University.


  • Ency, 1978, Tuumba (Berkeley, CA)
  • Erat, 1980, Burning Deck (Providence, RI)
  • 'Ready to Go, 1982, Ithaca House (Ithaca, NY)
  • Central Europe, 1986, Coincidences Press (Oakland, CA)
  • Some Appearances, 1987, Jimmy's House of Knowledge (Oakland,CA)
  • Four Strange Books, 1990, Baz (New York, NY)
  • Realism, 1991, Burning Deck (Providence, RI)
  • Letters of the Law, 1994
  • Prospect of Release, 1996, Chax Press (Tucson, AZ)
  • Absence Sensorium, with Daniel Davidson, 1997, Potes & Poets Press (Elmwood, CT)
  • Ancestral Cave, SPD, 1997.
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