Little Elegies for Sister Satan (Paperback)
Shaped by the poet’s long view of history, these beautiful lamenting poems take sudden bracing plunges into close-up views of our apocalypse
Little Elegies for Sister Satan presents indelibly beautiful new poems by Michael Palmer, “the foremost experimental poet of his generation, and perhaps of the last several generations” (citation for The Academy of American Poets’ Wallace Stevens Award). Grappling with our dark times and our inability to stop destroying the planet or to end our endless wars, Palmer offers a counterlight of wit (poetry was dead again / they said again), as well as the glow of wonder. In polyphonic passages, voices speak from a decentered place, yet are rooted in the whole history of culture that has gone before: “When I think of ‘possible worlds,’ I think not of philosophy, but of elegy. And impossible worlds. Resistant worlds.”
In the light of day
perhaps all of this
will make sense.
But have we come this far,
come this close to death,
just to make sense?
About the Author
Winner of the Shelley Memorial Prize, Michael Palmer (b. 1943) has written twenty-two books of poetry, been translated into dozens of languages, and himself translates from several. He has been called “exemplarily radical” (John Ashbery), “astonishing” (Paul Auster), “one of America’s most important poets: startlingly lyrical and visceral” (The Harvard Review), and “among America’s most elegant—and abstract—heirs to modernist poetry” (The Believer).
Magnificent: an astringent blend of surrealism and symbolism.
— New York Times Book Review
The most influential avant-gardist working, and perhaps the greatest poet of his generation. His genius is for making the world strange again. He sets a radical drama between the philosophical and the personal, between sense and the sensual—a tension unfolding endlessly outward from history, from the arcade of ghosts, to powerfully unsettle the living.
— Joshua Clover - Village Voice
Palmer’s fresh images and experimental language will haunt readers’ minds long after they’ve stopped reading.
— American Poet
Palmer is among America's most elegant—and abstract—heirs to modernist poetry.
— The Believer
A new book of poetry by Michael Palmer is always an important event. One of our greatest living poets — he has spent a lifetime producing a challenging, radically defamiliarizing body of work of uncanny beauty and grandeur. Little Elegies for Sister Satan is a remarkable achievement.
— Norman Finkelstein - Restless Messengers