(Marcos Roda, based on photo)

Today on Tablet, Thomas Beller takes a look at David Berman, an elegant poet and the front man of the group The Silver Jews. We think Beller does him justice.

There is a genius to defying expectations. David Berman is that kind of genius. Even the most famously manic reinventors tend to morph within their chosen medium. But Berman is a mixed-medium guy. He gets in bed with a medium—music, or poetry, or Judaism, or muckraking journalism. (This list feels like an IQ test question: Which one does not belong? Is Judaism a medium? Like acrylic paint or clay? Like the Internet? Something that a creator gives shape to? Or is it a medium in that other sense of communicating with the unseen and unknown? With the dead?) He does something magical in the dark, produces a record, or a book of poems, and the next morning he’s gone.

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