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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: May, 2015
Snow returns and snow
imperfect as memory of dreams
but our only memory of wind,
of feet that circle the house
at night as we sleep.
You were still asleep
when the first of the first snow
fell, renewing the memory
of winter; I forgot my dreams
and ran in the snow, right out in the wind,
not afraid of leaving the house.
That night, in the house
again, refusing sleep,
I mocked the snow
and vaunted my own poor memory.
“The one who never dreams
will die in wind,”
you said. “His house
will be no refuge, nor will sleep;
snow on snow
will erase his memory
and even the landscape of dreams
will no longer hold his dreams;
we know that when wind dies wind
will rise again, but no house,
fallen, rises. Sleep
if you can but the snow
will return when we are just memory.”
“Let the sum of all memory
equal the sum of all dream,”
I said. “All the world’s wind
weighs less than the poorest house.”
Though dream-winds trouble every hour’s sleep,
the snow is only snow is only snow.
Even in tropics we keep the memory of snow;
in dreams, night after night, we’re torn from sleep
as our separate houses yield to the single wind.
--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.
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.