Hofmann, Richie - Second Empire CoverSecond Empire is available from Alice James Books.


“The delicate arc of these poems intimates—rather than tells—a love story: celebration, fear of loss, storm, abandonment, an opening forth. Richie Hofmann disciplines his natural elegance into the sterner recognitions that matter: “I am a little white omnivore,” the speaker of Second Empire discovers. Mastering directness and indirection, Hofmann’s poems break through their own beauty.”

—Rosanna Warren

“Even more seductive than the preternatural elegance of these poems is the fact that Richie Hofmann inhabits that elegance truly as a style, a way of perceiving the world in which clarity and ornament are the same thing. The poems of Second Empire are written as they must be written, because they are the poems of Richie Hofmann.”

—James Longenbach

“With what unerring ease Richie Hofmann’s Second Empire unfolds its complex terrains. As they explore the difficult and necessary question of how to both refuse and use the inherited ‘city of our ancestors,’ these taut poems face fear and desire unflinchingly; they are poised, supple, and unnervingly alert.”

—Mary Szybist


“Hofmann is relighting the torch that Crane extinguished when he committed suicide by leaping into the sea; he is taking the sexual longing that permeated Crane and laying it bare.”

Publishers Weekly

“[Hofmann] possesses an Old World eye, like a character out of Henry James, raised in our era…Hofmann’s language is lush in its accuracy and sensuous in its silences. Eros hums through the poems.”

The Tupelo Quarterly

“Richie Hofmann is a master architect. These poems are precise as blue prints.”

Lambda Literary Review

“…forged from a sensual and uncompromising imagination…Hofmann’s sentences are careful in the truest sense of the word—they are inhabited by care.”

Kenyon Review

“…erudite, finely stitched, drop-dead gorgeous … Second Empire is a point-counterpoint Bach Invention of excellence and excellence.”


“… a collection of poems that feels like the libretto to an opera that is at once elegant, detached, erotic, and restrained.”

The Adroit Journal

“…a deeply personal glimpse into the immediate and long-term effects of the tension Hofmann experienced growing up as a queer man in Western society: tension between security and connection, beauty and fragility, tradition and identity… beautiful, startling, arresting…”

The Iowa Review

“With these remarkable poems, Hofmann truly transcends the ‘debut’ label.”

American Literary Review

“Reading Hofmann’s debut collection is like standing before a great masterpiece—at once humbling and enthralling.”

Quarterly West

“Hofmann is a poet unafraid of silences, intimating what cannot be said or seen. The stateliness of the past and the wildness of the present commingle in Hofmann’s sensuous work.”


“There’s a ’20 under 40′ list The New Yorker has for novelists, but if there were a ’15 under 30′ list for poets, Richie Hofmann would be on it…Formal flexibility is a greater virtue than formal ease. Hofmann displays both in his rapidly growing body of work.”

32 Poems

“…an up-and-coming poetical superstar.”

The Culture Trip


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