Poet of the Month: Sarah Gorham
Gorham is a poet and publisher who currently resides in
Four Way Books published her third collection of poetry The Cure in 2003. The others include, The Tension Zone (1996), which won the
Gorhams poems and essays have been published widely in Best American Poetry 2006, Poetry, The Nation, Antaeus, American Poetry Review, The Gettysburg Review, Grand Street, DoubleTake, The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, Ohio Review, Georgia Review, Southern Review, Missouri Review, Ploughshares, Poets and Writers, Fourth Genre, and Poetry Northwest, where in 1990 she won the Carolyn Kizer Award. In 2002 she and poet Jeffrey Skinner served as poets-in-residence at the James Merrill House in
In March 1994, Gorham founded Sarabande Books, Inc. a small press devoted to the publication of poetry, short fiction, and literary nonfiction. Gorham serves as President and Editor-in-Chief. She is the wife of poet Jeffrey Skinner and the mother of Laura and Bonnie Skinner.
Three decades ago I was a student at
Im interested in poems that have a authoritative, accomplished surface, and a wounded or amorous interior. All the smarts in the world cant do a thing if there isnt a body lurking somewhere.
In reading, my current pleasures are Kathleen Pierce for her sensuality and sudden shifts in direction, the Eastern Europeans (particularly Z. Herbert), Anne Carson, Susan Stewart, Dickinson, Frost, Les Murray, Matthea Harvey. I have read and re-read Emerson, C.S. Lewis, and Emmett Fox. Lorrie Moore, Alistair McCleod, Nabokov. Cheever and Fitzgerald
I like to think my poems are sometimes leggy, interdisciplinary, and hard to pin down. I move between sonnets, and long loose lines with a seemingly random tack. Its rather like drinking gin and coffee, one in each hand. To shake myself up, I write homophonic translations of Swedish poems, or negative inversions of shorter poems with simple, declarative sentences. I hit the random button on Wikipedia and see what comes up. All in the effort to avoid well-worn paths to finishing a poem.
At the same time, Ive begun to work in prosethe slow, humiliating process of writing my first lyric essays. Edges have always interested me, thus the title of my second book, The Tension Zone, which is an ecological term for the territory of overlap between two contrasting biomes. These days, were given permission to range freely across genres so the foray into prose is naturally informing my poetry. Im interested in how seemingly random components are knitted together. This includes bits of etymology, advice from Martha Stewarts Living, outright confessions of longing and terror, dialogue, story, slang, the Behera Brothers, and the vagus nerve. Its not enough though to slap them all down and call it collage, gaps glaring. I favor an art that reveals the artist fiddling, that discovers connections between unlike things, a buried order, not disorder.
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