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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, Schuler Books (28th St.) in Grand Rapids, 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: October, 2014
IN PRAISE OF PUBLIC RADIO
The Estudiantina, a waltz of Waldteufel,
court pianist, it says, to the Empress Eugènie,
was played for me today on public radio,
and oh my God it was the Rheingold Beer song:
My beer is Rheingold, the dry beer,
Think of Rheingold whenever you buy beer. . .
It could have been Rheingold beer my father drank
at J & J's, down by the station,
nights when he didn't come home,
but to his kids it meant the Miss Rheingold contest:
once a year, the dingy store on the corner
was hung with black-and-white glossies
of six or eight beautiful blondes and brunettes
and we took our solemn pick,
as I suppose our father was taking his,
though I don't recall seeing much of their bodies
in even the modest swimsuits of the day,
just those beautiful mild faces
in which we invested so much of our new selves,
happy not yet knowing there are demons
that run with the wolves and giants in that forest
the souls of children wander and grow old in.
Rheingold has gone on to the heaven or hell
reserved for commercially unsuccessful beers,
and with it the Estudiantina of Waldteufel
has vanished perhaps forever from the AM airwaves,
but thanks to the support of listeners like you
the Rheingold song and the old world it suffuses
have come back, welcome, not to be lost, for a time.
from Heart. Wood.
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.
Three poems recently appeared in Hanging Loose #103.
An essay, "Rilke for Seeekers," appeared recently in Michigan Quarterly Review. A translation from Rilke, "The Widow's Song," appeared recently in Measure.
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.