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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: July, 2015
Whitman felt his ribs and found the fat holy.
Poor mad Smart found Geoffrey the cat holy.
Growing up on Yankee turf I found
a Mickey Mantle Louisville Slugger bat holy.
A grown man now, I do confess to finding
one pose you strike on your new blue yoga mat holy.
I have not one objection to your calling
the old man in the robe and pointy hat holy.
No reason, if it helps you stalk the tiger,
not to call its trim and pungent scat holy.
Would you please shut that squalling monster up
(although in theory I find the little brat holy)?
I still recall how Allen lightened up
the crowd at the reading by saying, “It’s not all that holy.”
Can we agree to stop calling every last thing
that makes our little hearts go pitter-pat holy?
Perhaps someday I’ll take the begging bowl
and call each last flea, tick and gnat holy.
Don’t be so pleased with that so-called self of yours, Eric,
till you call the fires of the Benares ghat holy.
(first appeared in New Letters )
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 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.