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Eric Torgersen has published six books and chapbooks of poetry, two of fiction, and a full-length study of Rainer Maria Rilke and Paula Modersohn-Becker. He also translates German poetry, especially that of Rainer Maria Rilke and Nicolas Born. He was born in Huntington, New York. He has a BA in German Literature from Cornell University; after two years in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, he earned an MFA in poetry from the University of Iowa. He retired in the spring of 2008 after 38 years of teaching writing at Central Michigan University. He lives in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan with his wife, the quilt artist Ann Kowaleski. He’s available for workshops and readings. (photo by Peggy Brisbane)
This is Eric Torgersen's latest collection of poems, Heart. Wood. , Word Press, 2012.
For a long time now Eric Torgersen has been searching for what James Wright called ‘the pure, clear word’ that might crystallize the the poem and its truths. This memorable collection charts Torgersen’s search—through old poems and new, through free forms and more structured rhythms—and shows just how close he has come. There are poems that show this poet’s typically humorous self-deprecation, and others that capture small but important narratives or telling images. But, best of all, there are also poems that stand unashamed before their tentative wisdom.
Torgersen's poems comfort us when we feel small, prod us when we feel adventurous, and urge us to look into ourselves to discover our own "mad poets of [our] youth" in the "pathless wood."
--Foster Neill in The Michigan Poet. Read the whole review and the rest of the September 2012 issue here.
Heart. Wood. can be purchased off the shelf at The Book Shelf in Mt. Pleasant, Horizon Books in Traverse City, and Brilliant Books in Traverse City . It can be ordered by most other local bookstores. Buy from your local bookstore first. If you can't:
Order from Barnes and Noble
Order from Amazon. Com
A Ritual to Read Together: Poems in Conversation with William Stafford.
Poem of the Month: August, 2015
Keep the tale, it’s free, just bring the book back.
Eat the fish, but bring the line and hook back.
No one out here lives by bread alone;
relish the coq au vin, but send the cook back.
Don’t let a warning chill your lovely days,
just lock the door, please. Don’t invite the crook back.
Accept this praise for a game well played, my friend--
and checkmate. Much too late to move that rook back.
What makes you so sure your puny dam
could hold even this innocuous little brook back?
Sure, you were young, and clueless, and unnerved.
Too late to win the dear one you forsook back.
A day will come when you’ll be held to account
for every gift you gave and then took back.
Get that look of stunned surprise off your face.
You tried to shake the world. The world shook back.
How do you know she’s still there, Eric? The Beloved,
that slut. She’s ditched you before. Go on, look back.
(first appeared in New Madrid, Summer 2011)
Click here for the Poem of the Month Archive: past Poems of the Month.
Click What's New for a list of recent, current and forthcoming publications.
Eric's essay "Writing the American Ghazal" appears in Able Muse, Summer 2015.
Eric's translation of Rilke's "Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes." appears online at Hermes Poetry.
"I Will Die in Lake Superior" is reprinted at Flyover Country Review, a new site featuring Midwest writing.
A brief essay, "Reading for Otherness," appeared on the North American Review blog November 10, 2014.
Eric's review of Diane Radycki's Paula Modersohn-Becker: The First Modern Woman Artist appeared in Open Letters Monthly , September 2013. The link is below; to reach the review, enter "Eric Torgersen" in the search box in the upper right corner of the home page. www.openlettersmonthly.com .
An interview with Eric appears on the Columbia Poetry Review blog in connection with publication of his ghazal "Broken" in CPR 26.
A short poem, "A Death," appears in The Diagram 12.6.
Eric's short essay "In Passing" is online at bioStories. Scroll down to read it.
Eric's ghazal "Not Literature" appears in Pleiades 31.1 and on the Pleiades website at http://www.ucmo.edu/pleiades/current_issue/documents/EricTorgersen.pdf.
Full publication information on all of Eric Torgersen's books, with cover images and sample readings, can be found under Books.
All poems and translations on this site copyright © Eric Torgersen.