Tag Archives: Sarah Suzor

National Poetry Month Spotlight: Sarah Suzor

From The Human Condition

…so the dream ends with my friend shaking my shoulders,
telling me what she’s told me a thousand times:
“Pay attention to what people tell you about themselves.”

I still tell people the same things about myself.

I mean, I say the same things I used to say to you.

Anyway, someone suggested I re-read The Great Gatsby,
You know, while I’m here.
So I did.

At one point Nick looks at Gatsby and says,
“You can’t repeat the past.”
Then Gatsby looks at Nick and says,
“Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can.”

I’m not sure who is more right or more wrong,
but in the end, you know,
Gatsby’s the one that ends up dead.

Some nights I open my window and I can still hear the ocean.
As if it was in plain site, right out my door,
it’s remarkable, really, because it’s not there.
People have started telling me,
“You’ll know what to do when you have to do it.”
I don’t blame them.
I’d say the same thing.
Especially in this scenario.
It just makes it harder, you know,
harder to tell who’s more right or more wrong.

Anyway, I’ve developed an earache,
but I met some woman from Italy at the market.
We talked for a while.
Laughed at the city, laughed at how quickly
time comes and goes here.
Like we’re all just ghosts, we agreed,
all just ghosts.
In parting she said,
“Well, my money’s on you,”
which is the same as saying,
“You’ll know what to do when you have to do it.”

Anyway, I walked home,
put my things in the fridge
and listened to the same song 14 times.

I’m fine. I mean,
the ear is a little concerning.
Oh, and the dreams, I guess. And
the phantom ocean sounds, and
how often I remind myself of what Gatsby said, you know,

he waited his whole life for one person.
Those parties, they were all for her.
He built his entire world around the hope
that one day she’d walk through his door


Anyway, that stuff’s all made up and
spring really is beautiful here;
it’s nothing like winter.
You should see the flowers that are starting to line my street.
They sure make a difference, really.
You should see.


Q: What is your writing process?

A: I listen to everything. Then I write it down.

Q: Is there an exciting poet (emerging or established) whose work you just discovered this year?

A: Yes. A million. Ish Klein is fantastic and a brilliant reader, and Elizabeth Robinson’s book Three Novels was one of my 2011 favorites.

Q: If you could go on a one-week writing retreat anywhere in the world, where would you travel?

A: I teach at the Left Bank Writers Retreat in Paris every summer. I write more in that one week than I write all year; it’s such an inspirational environment. But if I could pick one more get-away, I’d choose some secluded area in Argentina, pack two dresses, a candle and thirty journals. I’d go seeking a porch swing.

Sarah Suzor’s recent book The Principle Agent was the winner of the 2010 Hudson Prize and released from Black Lawrence Press in 2011. Her poetry, interviews and reviews have been published in numerous online and print journals. She is a co-editor of Highway 101 Press and a guest lecturer at the Left Bank Writers Retreat in Paris.  

National Poetry Month Spotlight: Sarah Suzor

from After the Fox
(a collaboration between Travis Cebula and Sarah Suzor)

Nocturnal, I guess
we should talk.
I’ve fallen for someone,
some thing, else.
No one you know.
No one I know, either.
It was you, but different.
You, but only the way I saw you
in my mind.

The jukebox is gone.
I looked last night.
I watched the moon cut itself in half.
I danced to silence,
swept the dust off the floor
with my feet.

People thought I was crazy, Nocturnal.
Do you think I’m crazy?

Whatever questions we answer out here
will have to be answered honestly.
I can’t replenish what hour after hour takes away,
what the ears hear when they’ve spent too much time
listening to each other every day.

Do you know, Nocturnal?
Do you know, the gulls are loudest right before dawn?
They get nervous.
They get scared they will be stuck staring
at the same stagnant moon

When you arrive,
I will have already slept with
the sea.
And, no, I won’t have extra.
Extra or enough.

The way I see it:
play the game,
or leave the table.
Make your bed,
lie in it.
There’s no use pretending there’s any other way.
Reap what you sow.
If you can’t
handle the heat,
slip into lead shoes
and let go.
Let go.

The way I see it,
it’s all one big game,
the ol’ “over-under” strategy.
60/40, 80/20.
In other words, Nocturnal,
when I leave, I’ll leave loaded.

In other words,
the way I see it,
you’ll have to find it in your heart
to forgive me.
Does it still work that way?
Does it still work?

Q: Where is your favorite place to write?

A: On the Pacific Coast Highway, watching the ocean.

Q: Do you remember the first poem you read that really blew your mind?

A: George Oppen’s, Of Being Numerous.

Q: What is the most interesting thing that has happened to you in the last 12 months?

A: Winning the Hudson Prize!!!!!

Sarah Suzor’s poetry, reviews and interviews have appeared in various online and print journals including Hotel Amerika, Tarpaulin Sky and Rain Taxi.  She lives in Los Angeles, where she is an editor for Highway 101 Press and a guest lecturer for the Left Bank Writers Retreat in Paris. Her collection The Principle Agent is the winner of the 2010 Hudson Prize and is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press.

Hudson Prize Winner Sarah Suzor to Read in NYC on 11/6

Sarah Suzor, who won this year’s Hudson Prize with her manuscript The Principle Agent, will read in New York City on November 11. She will read from Isle of Dogs, which was recently published by Toadlily Press. Sarah will be joined by Elizabeth Austen, Andrea Bates and Carol Stevens Kner.

Here are the details:

Hudson Prize Winner on The Nervous Breakdown

In case you missed it, 2010 Hudson Prize winner Sarah Suzor was featured on The Nervous Breakdown last weekend. To see the feature and read her poem “In Seclusion”, follow this link. Happy reading!

Hudson Prize Winner Announced

Congratulations to Sarah Suzor for winning the 2010 Hudson Prize with her manuscript The Principle Agent.

Suzor’s poetry, reviews and interviews have appeared in various online and print journals including Hotel Amerika, Tarpaulin Sky and Rain Taxi. Her first chapbook, It was the season, then. was published by EtherDome Press, and the Isle of Dogs section from this manuscript was selected for Toadlily Press’ chapbook Quartet Series. She lives  in Los Angeles, where she co-curates the national reading series 3+3 Poetry and co-edits Highway 101 Press.

The Principle Agent will be published by Black Lawrence Press in late 2011.

Congratulations again, Sarah!