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Law professor's 'Poetry of the Law' earns high review

February 01, 2011

An anthology, Poetry of the Law: From Chaucer to the Present, compiled by College of Law Professor David Kader and Michael Stanford, an attorney in the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office in Phoenix, was recently reviewed by New York Times Sunday Book Review columnist David Orr in Poetry Magazine’s February edition.

Orr is a lawyer and a major poet critic.

The anthology is an assembly of law poems and was described as the first serious anthology of law-related poetry ever published in the United States.

The anthology came about after Kader, a poetry enthusiast, began to compile a list of all the law-focused poems he came across.

“Set in the courtrooms, lawyers’ offices, law-school classrooms and judges’ chamber; peopled with attorneys, the imprisoned (both innocent and guilty), judges, jurors, witness and law-enforcement officers; based on real events or exploring the complexity of abstract legal ideas; the poems celebrate justice or decry the lack of it, range in tone from witty to wry, sad to celebratory, funny to infuriating,” according to the publisher’s description.

Kader, an affiliate faculty member of the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and the Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies, was an English major in college with an emphasis in poetry. He edited his college poetry magazine, in which he published some poems, and considered pursuing a master of fine arts degree before deciding on law school.

Stanford, who has a doctorate in English, also edited his college literary magazine and won the Academy of American Poets literary prize for a collection he wrote as a student. He has published poetry and literary criticism, and has taught at the University of Virginia and Stanford University, as well as ASU's Barrett, The Honors College.

Staci McCabe,
Office of Communications, College of Law