Eric is now on Facebook.
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, Ukazoo Books in Southgate, Schuler Books (28th St.) in Grand Rapids, Horizon Books in Traverse City, and Brilliant Books in Traverse City and Sutton's Bay, Michigan. It can be ordered by most other local bookstores. Buy from your local bookstore first. If you can't:
Order from Barnes and Noble
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Poem of the Month: December, 2013
I was just an average Joe back then.
I had no plans or dough back then.
Family gone, no friends to speak of--
I was feeling pretty low back then.
I started hanging out too much.
I had no place to go back then.
I don’t remember making choices;
you just went with the flow back then.
It wasn’t that strange to move in with people
you didn’t really know back then.
I think I might have been okay--
some things were touch-and-go back then--
but I started getting into stuff.
I never could say no back then.
To feel like you were keeping up
you did a lot for show back then.
What little I had going for me,
I lost it in the snow back then.
America, it wasn’t you.
I did it. Long ago. Back then.
(first appeared in 32 Poems)
Click here for the Poem of the Month Archive: the last year of Poems of the Month.
Click What's New for a list of recent, current and forthcoming publications.
An interview with Eric appears on the Columbia Poetry Review blog in connection with publication of his ghazal "Broken" in CPR 26.
Eric's ghazal "Back Then" appears in Old Flame: From the First Ten Years of 32 Poems Magazine, Word Farm Press. A fine anthology from an excellent journal. Eric read along with many other contributors at an off-site reading at the AWP convention in Boston.
A short poem, "A Death," appears in The Diagram 12.6.
Eric's short essay "In Passing" is online at bioStories.
Eric's interview with Aaron Stander on Michigan Writers on the Air on Interlochen Public Radio (91.5 FM) was aired Wednesday, October 24, and repeated Sunday, October 28, 2012. The entire program can be played online at the Interlochen Public Radio website; Eric's part begins approximately halfway through the hour.
Eric's poem "In the Garden," from Heart. Wood., now appears in the Oaken Transformations Sculpture & Poetry Walk in Brighton, Michigan. On Sunday, August 12 he read poems along with Billy Reynolds and Z.G. Tomaszewski, whose works also appear in the park. Dr. Bill Rose, CEO and President of the Kalamazoo Nature Center, spoke as well.
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.
The Michigan Poet has published an online "mini-chapbook" of short poems by Eric, Six Short Poems About Loss. Click here, and then on Eric's picture. While there, click on the pictures of other Michigan poets in this innovative series edited by Foster Neill.
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.