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)
Robert J. Bixby, 1953-2012
Gifts magazine, died October 26, 2012. Rob published three of my books, and a very large number of books by other writers. I first met Rob when he appeared in my Introduction to Creative Writing course at Central Michigan, writing hilarious stories in the manner of early Thomas Pynchon. He went on to earn an MSW at Western Michigan University and an MFA at UNC Greensboro. Rob was a fine writer, but sacrificed any chance of recognition for his work by devoting all his time and energy to the press. His papers will be housed at Western Michigan University.
Rob's widow, Kathy Bixby, has generously endowed a creative writing prize at CMU, and at Western Michigan as well. To honor Rob and his contributions to literature, as well as to raise additional funds in support of these awards, readings well be held at both CMU and WMU by Michigan writers whose books he published. The reading at CMU will be held on Saturday September 14, 2013, from 2-4 pm in the Baber Room of the Charles V. Park Library. The date and time of the reading at Western will be announced soon. Look here for future updates about this event, with names of scheduled readers.
My two books from March Street of which copies are still available can be ordered from me by mail. See Books. Online booksellers may still have copies as well.
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.
Order from Barnes and Noble
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Poem of the Month: April, 2013
Hang him from a tree he hasn’t hung from yet.
Fling him off a bridge no one’s been flung from yet.
Send succor, in whatever dark disguise:
a hornet’s nest he’s not gone running, stung, from yet.
Early fall, and not one branch the wind
has not stripped every leaf that clung from yet.
Recess. Winter. Second or third grade.
A frozen pipe he hasn’t freed his tongue from yet.
The drought seems endless. Spring. No drop of rain.
Just parched soil no shoot has sprung from yet.
Find it in some corner of the workshop,
some damp rag no last drop has been wrung from yet?
Probe the dank recesses of the cellar--
not one cask he hasn’t yanked the bung from yet.
He’d have it be a tower, not a steeple--
the height in him no bell has rung from yet.
Not by wit or rhetoric alone
will Eric find a voice he hasn’t sung from yet.
(first appeared in New Ohio Review #6, Fall 2009)
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.