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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)
Mayapple Press will publish Eric's collection of ghazals, In Which We See Our Selves: American Ghazals, in 2017.
Eric's most recent collection is 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:
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Click on the link below:
Poem of the Month: June, 2016
I said I was hunting deer. I knew the trails, the split tracks and pellets of shit; circles
where they bedded down together. I faced a buck once, for almost ten minutes I think;
I moved first and it left me. I ran home to think.
I had a bow, target arrows, a target on straw. My father said be careful, and I was, but
I sneaked my bow and arrow to the woods. I surprised a tiny rabbit near a hole. It
froze. I had an arrow on it. I moved and it ran for the hole. I never shot.
They had a blanket, in a clearing of wiry grass that sloped to the north. He had her
down, her hands all over his back. I thought I knew her. They hadn't seen me. I notched
an arrow. His head turned my way, vague, like he needed his glasses, and maybe afraid.
I got scared, I wasn't sure what it was; I shot my arrow, my first shot, wild I think, and ran.
I waited for something for weeks, for more than weeks. I couldn't answer questions. I
thought I saw her a few times, later. I never went back until I was sixteen, almost, and
nothing was there but I only stayed for a minute.
From Heart. Wood. First appeared in Poetry NOW, 1981.
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.
Translation of Nicolas Born's poem "Lüneburg Station, April 30, 1976" appears in Plume April 2016,
Four translations from German poet Nicolas Born appear at Blackbird spring 2016: click on current issue or, later, click on index/archive and search Born's name.
Eric's essay "Writing the American Ghazal" appears in Able Muse, Summer 2015, along with a ghazal, "With You."
Three of Eric's ghazals appear in the new issue of The Ghazal Page:
The ghazal "Not Literature" appears at the Pleiades website.
Eric's translation of Rilke's "Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes." appears online at Hermes Poetry. Scroll down to read it.
"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. 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.
"What Is Your Earliest Memory? What Does It Mean?" appears at the Silver Birch Press website.
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.