Find SHEEP MEADOW PRESS, our books, and our authors at AWP!
Friday, 11 a.m.
Friday, 3 p.m.
Find SHEEP MEADOW PRESS, our books, and our authors at AWP!
Friday, 11 a.m.
Friday, 3 p.m.
Emily Fragos, a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, was recently named a Witter Bynner Fellow for 2015 by the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress. Follow the above link for details. And order her book Hostage at upne.com.
“Poets, all readers, will find Alan Jenkins’s White Nights useful, beautiful, mysteriously humble.”
Alan Jenkins’s White Nights gathers together the translations, “imitations” and versions—mostly from French poets—that he has worked on intermittently for 25 years, with a handful of longer poems, previously unpublished or published underground. Jenkins speaks of difficult passions, loneliness, lovers and friends lost to time and death; he pays homage, with gratitude and a profound sympathy if not always with reverence, to those poets from the past who have been his truest companions.
Praise for Alan Jenkins:
“These beautifully rhymed and metered verses provide an image of the ‘accelerated grimace’ of our day—indeed, this is a composite portrait, like one of Hockney’s Polaroid assemblages, of a lonely, bitter dandy, the Spare Man, a black rosebud in his silk lapel. I love these poems.” —Edmund White
ALAN JENKINS was born in Surrey in 1955 and brought up in London. He is deputy editor of the Times Literary Supplement and has won a Forward Prize and an Eric Gregory Award for his poetry.
Tory Dent is an unparalleled voice in American writing. She takes the Whitmanian line… to heights and depths of extremity. Speaking from the interior of a consciousness immutably transformed by AIDS, our millennial plague, she enunciates… all human despair, in a language elegant and extravagant enough to be, itself, a kind of redemption.— Marilyn Hacker
Here’s a map where ideas and experiences collide, and what rises out of the landscape underneath is poetry that is painful and truthful, beautiful and terrifying, lyrical and narrative, always engaging the intellect and body politic.—Yusef Komunyakaa
Tory Dent has gone to a place where we are afraid to go, and come back with a vision, and she sings it. Her dazzling and valiant poems are the psalms of our present moment.— Sharon Olds
TORY DENT’S (1958–2005) Selected Poems draws from her three books. Among her awards, she was the winner of the 1999 James Laughlin Award of The Academy of American Poets.
“An indispensable poet for those who would understand the twentieth century.” —George Steiner
Here are the long overdue translations of Paul Celan’s Romanian poems (one poem dated 1947) by a great poet, Nina Cassian: they contain the buds, bloom, and deathly flowering of the obsessions found in all of Celan’s work—death, drowning, deportation, love, pride, loneliness, the magic of language. The book also includes important essays by Nina Cassian on Celan’s early life and work, and post-WWII Bucharest and Paris.
Letter from Paul Celan to Nina Cassian, 1947
“Ingrate!…Seeing yourself simultaneously in the double posture of sleeping bird and fountain pen…the foul mouths of Prosperity will never be able to say we did not love each other. Let the sea come over us and let our brother-sharks gobble us up!
[signed] Paul (more African than ever).”
“Eavesdropping on this conversation between two brilliant women feels deliciously indecent. The elder, famous on two continents for her poetry and her dazzling life, plays and spars with the younger, but no less knowing, poet, in a fiery exchange on politics, love, letters, languages, and beliefs. Tolerant of each other’s differences, and deeply empathic for one another’s feelings, they create a lasting Figure of Friendship.”—Andrei Codrescu
Also included in this nothing-like-it book is an anthology of each poet’s favorite poems by the other poet, many previously unpublished.
Natania Rosenfeld’s poems are inquiries of the self that are inseparable from the strange meanderings of history. Whether she takes in the paintings of Soutine, the English countryside, an Assyrian relief, or zones of central Europe, her poems embody a resonant cosmopolitanism and a grace and wit that will compel any reader to follow her journey.—Peter Balakian
Wild Domestic: Such contraries, deftly held in balance, lie at the heart of Natania Rosenfeld’s debut collection in which poems are energized as much by the poet’s life- affirming, lush, appetitive drives as they are reined in by her sober-eyed vision of caged birds of prey and flayed rabbits; I am thinking in particular of the remarkable sequence inspired by Soutine: “The torso stretched / like pulled meat, / a skull, vacant bloody / mouth at the point / of the genitals.” Rosenfeld knows how to write to the tight, serrated measures of duress—war-ravaged Europe haunts her imagination—but in the end it is the robust, androgynous body and its runaway anima that gain the high ground: “In her teeth / now a rose, now a dagger, / she slashes her world.”—Gabriel Levin
Natania Rosenfeld grew up in Oberlin, Ohio and spent periods of time in Germany and Israel. Her poems, essays, and fiction have appeared in many journals including The American Poetry Review, Raritan, Southwest Review and The Fairy Tale Review. She is the author of Outsiders Together: Virginia and Leonard Woolf (Princeton University Press, 2000), and lives in Chicago and Galesburg, Illinois where she is a Professor of English at Knox College.
When I began writing Impersonation, I believed I would live the rest of my life as a man…. Gender transition is often thought of as either fairy-tale-like transformation, a leap from one side of the gender rainbow to the other, or as a series of impersonal medical procedures. But as these poems attest, gender transition, like other modes of becoming, is far messier, more mysterious and idiosyncratic than such simplifications allow, a life-long process combining shame with triumph, ecstasy with disappointment, the mundane humiliation of airport security screenings with the miraculous experience of incarnation and fully embodied love.—From the Author’s Note
Joy Ladin’s Impersonation completes the trilogy of gender transformation begun with her Transmigration and Coming to Life. In these poems, “an egg/ that cannot hatch” is cracked open. The bird breaks free. The book’s thrill is its long vision, the past held intimately, the future a holy liberation.—Greg Miller
Ladin draws the reader into a world of harsh truths, uncanny beauty, inspired erudition, ironic wit, and cadenced music … Imagination rules, wedding poetic forms to unflinching meditations on human suffering, terror, love, and unbearable loss. Despite the ubiquity of evil and death in her poems, there is, in Yeats’s words, “a gaiety transfiguring all that dread.”—Herbert Leibowitz
JOY LADIN’S previous books published by Sheep Meadow Press are The Definition of Joy, Coming to Life, Transmigration, The Book of Anna, and Alternatives to History. She has also published Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders. She is a professor of English at Stern College of Yeshiva University.
Marc Cohen’s Unknown Sky comes as a revelation. The poems collected here are intense, dark, with an erotic undercurrent and with the shadow of divinity looming in the near distance. “God tossed and turned / Aware that His advances / Had been spurned,” Cohen writes in “Rearrangement.” God is in the details of this powerful new book.— David Lehman
Cohen’s poetry is a kind of highly polished, metaphysical poetry (but firmly rooted in the realities of present-day urban existence). I think his is a unique voice which sounds like nobody else’s, except perhaps the quieter lyrical poems of Hart Crane–one of the high points in twentieth-century poetry and a path which, curiously, few poets have chosen to follow. Whether or not Cohen has done so, his poetry hungers after the sublime in the same way Crane’s does, without making any concessions to the ancillary graces and seductions of poetic language, yet achieving them almost fortuitously, through his intense concentration on the task at hand: the making of the poem.— John Ashbery
These are poems that sparkle, and their inventive, adventurous spirit makes them an adventure also for the reader. All of them are full of a truthful, warm humanity; all are completely free of affectation and pomposity. They’re full of mystery and curiosity. Unpredictable details, and insights you could never find for yourself, are set side by side in such a way that one brings out the brilliance of the other. The effect of this is constantly surprising.—Anne Porter, on Mecox Road
MARC COHEN was born in Brooklyn and raised in Long Island. He is the author of Opening the Window and Mecox Road. He runs a liquor store in Sag Harbor, New York
In this long-awaited and masterful debut, Fiona Wilson gives us astonishing and uncommon poems that may have emerged from the Scottish and American traditions but can be found somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic, while her readers come ‘to the edge of a question’ by either shore. Wilson’s formal brilliance is all worked through with chagrin, wit, and modesty. The mind at play in these poems is thrilled, distracted, enchanted by the feeling of words in the mouth—the mustardy ‘sonsy,’ the gray wet velvet of ‘mizzle,’ the scandal of ‘cramasie’—and by slips and turns of phrase, which she turns over like stones, like coins, as they become talismanic—to console, perhaps, as if the secret to transformation were to be found in language itself.—Saskia Hamilton
Fiona Wilson is the terrifyingly real thing, the real McCoy/McKay, as the Caledonian muse would have it. Hers is a vibrant, sexy, swerving poetry, lyrics that lash equally the ear, the heart, and the mind. Channeling birdsong, the hum of rivers, “the mad shush/of sound” from the Highlands to the Hudson River, Wilson’s poems are gorgeous and perfected distillations. Completely contemporary yet alive to the enchantment of auld sang, careering through Scotland and London as well as New York City, Wilson’s A Clearance is instantly authoritative, gripping. These are wily and wild poems, witty, mercurial, melancholy, ebullient. They sing of Victorian Scotland and the 21st-century city, of sharp sounds and smells and subtle attenuations; they sing most of a mind made in sound, on the wing, yet tautly bound. Ferocity, romance, wit: the poems arise from a musical, ingenious “ziggety-zagging” mind that charts its own course and traces its own seductions. The poet concludes “Grace”:
Oh, if I had a speck
of the wit I once had,
I’d have known how to speak,
I’d be fluent at last.
But oh, she does, and oh, she is. Welcome to “this feckless rash,/this flaming sleeve of words.”
—Maureen N. McLane
FIONA WILSON was brought up in Scotland and lives in New York City. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies on both sides of the Atlantic. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.
“Krüger is a poet of life-loving, private grief and songs of impossibilities. He is a self-made oracle in various cultures, his poetry: magisterial potato farming. He teaches us how to walk in the night, to have a destination we reach in darkness, to give ourselves finally over to the light in which we may or may not believe. He gives us a world exploding with memories, a flood, an Ark.”
“A well-disguised mystic…a scribe who has got beyond books, to the point where the wisdom of masters begins—the absurd wisdom which writes its final word on water. It would not be entirely wrong, either, to call Krüger a master of the love poem, a first-rate painter of landscapes and climates, a reviver of the Roman Elegy, a painter’s poet. But he is all these things with a difference: there is a “remainder” which—in rational terms—should not exist, which one will only discover if one is not looking for it and which is . . . everything.”
MICHAEL KRÜGER, poet, novelist, and translator, was born in Wittgendorf, Germany in 1943. He served as editor and publisher of Hanser Verlag for 45 years until his retirement in 2013, the same year he was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award in International Publishing by the London Book Fair.
“There is a beautiful disparity in Brandon Courtney’s poems. The hard is represented by the blade of a field knife, bullets, sickles, the scorched earth of Baghdad, and the hardscrabble farming of Iowa. Soft is the mouth’s soft palate, flower petals, fruit, the flesh of the beloved, wet soil, and the body. The Fallujah/Ramadi poems are harrowing, feverish, stunning, piercing as Sky Spear and Jericho missiles. The poems offer a counterweight to the amputations of blast injuries in war. His language is his grief. His is a distinguished first book.” —Bruce Smith
BRANDON COURTNEY was born and raised in Iowa and served four years in the United States Navy (Operation Enduring Freedom). He is a graduate student at the University of Chicago.
“Betsy Rosenberg enchants and unsettles in poems that read like oracles syncopated with a variety of styles, from Persian moosiqi to Gilbert and Sullivan and jazz. Lyrical intimations, kabbalistic and biblical, classical Greek or Chinese sustain her night vigils and travels through time and space, reminding us that Jerusalem, the contentious city in which she lives, can become, like her poetry, a locus of mysterious concatenations and ever more vivid amazement.” —Gabriel Levin
BETSY ROSENBERG was born in Philadelphia in 1946. She studied at the Hebrew University and the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem where she has lived since 1967, supporting herself as a translator of Hebrew poetry and prose (including novels by David Grossman), editor, and musician.
Stephanos Papadopoulos is the 2014 recipient of the Jeannette Haien Ballard Writer’s Prize, a $25,000 annual prize given to a young writer of proven excellence in poetry or prose. Established to honor author Jeannette Haien’s interest in the work of talented young writers and her desire to benefit and further their careers by encouraging the production of literary works of high quality and aesthetic worth, the prize has previously been given to Joanna Klink (U of Montana) and Suzanne Buffam (U of Chicago).
A dear friend of Sheep Meadow and author of Kind (Post Traumatic Press 2013), Gretchen Primack announces her latest publication, Doris’ Red Spaces, out this month with Mayapple Press. Follow the link above or visit Woodstock’s independent bookstore, The Golden Notebook, to procure a copy.
Sean Singer considers poetry in response to the AIDS crisis, including Tory Dent’s HIV, Mon Amour, in the Los Angeles Review of Books. This September 2013 article slipped under our radar, we hope it ends up on yours.
Come celebrate the work of Willis Barnstone @ AWP 2014
with Yusef Komunyakaa, Robert Stewart, Sholeh Wolpé, and Sheep Meadow founder and publisher, Stanley Moss
R217 From Borges to the Gnostics: Tribute to the work of Willis Barnstone
Room 302, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 3
Thursday, February 27, 2014
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm