Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  David Lazar  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Poetry

Audience: Adult;


-- Website --
-- David Lazar on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Lazar is a professor at Columbia College Chicago, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

David Lazar's writings have appeared widely in various anthologies, poetry magazines,and has had five of his essays named "Notable Essays of the Year" according to Best American Essays. He created the undergrad and Ph.D. programs in Nonfiction writing at Ohio University, as well as directed the creation of similar study programs at Columbia College in Chicago. He is the founding editor of the literary magazine ''Hotel Amerika''.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Powder Town
ISBN: 1931247528

Pecan Grove Pr. 2008

"Powder Town burns with wit, richness of language and idiom, and a droll but invigorating intelligence and humor. Lazar's various speakers place us in mid-century America, and earlier, the film noir subjects and textures resonating in glorious black & white and preserving our smudged collective soul, the everyman/ woman lost in the lost city. At every turn, Lazar risks clarity, and his use of by-gone jargon is resonant, playful and serious, existential and lyric. These prose poems cast a look back at our history, with hope and hopelessness combined." -Christopher Buckley

The Body of Brooklyn (Sightline Books)
ISBN: 1587293838

University Of Iowa Press. 2011

In the body of Brooklyn David Lazar, an acclaimed essayist and prose stylist, offers a vividly detailed, hilarious, and touching recollection of his Brooklyn upbringing in the 1960s and 70s. His immigrant Jewish heritage and his bodily history--from the travails of childhood obesity to the sexual triumphs of post-adolescent leanness--form the core of this series of essays, all of which will win the interest and admiration of readers. Moreover, this film-flavored confection is so infused with Lazar's fascinating turn of mind and memory, forever digressing and reflecting upon his digressions, without ever losing the thread of his story, that his essays will give the reader the distinctive pleasure of witnessing an extraordinary mental performance. Lazar's essays vary in their focus as much as each meanders within itself: he recalls, for example, the ''melon man'' of his childhood, grottoes in Brooklyn, his extensive wardrobe, and his father's ''pragmatically crafty alter ego.'' Constantly expanding the boundaries of his writing style, Lazar also includes a unique photo-essay that provides a series of brilliant verbal riffs on old family photographs. The voice found within The Body of Brooklyn--unrepentantly literary, funny, digressive, and centered on Brooklyn--is quite unlike any other in contemporary literature. It will fascinate and intrigue all who listen.

Occasional Desire: Essays
ISBN: 0803246382

University of Nebraska Press. 2013

In his new collection of essays, Occasional Desire, David Lazar meditates on random violence and vanished phone booths, on the excessive relationship to jewelry that links Kobe Bryant and Elizabeth Taylor, on Hitchcock, Francis Bacon, and M. F. K. Fisher. He explores, in his concentrically self-aware, amused, and ironic voice, what it means to be occasionally aware that we are surviving by our wits, and that our desires, ulterior or obvious, are what keep us alive. Lazar also turns his attention on the essay itself, affording us a three-dimensional look at the craft and the art of reading and writing a literary form that maps the world as it charts the peregrinations of the mind.

Lazar is especially interested in the trappings of memory, the trapdoors of memory, the way we gild or codify, select, soften, and self-delude ourselves based on our understanding of the past. His own process of selection and reflection reminds us of how far this literary form can take us, bound only by the limits of desire and imagination.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (No)