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PGC Spring 2021 - New Directions

Little Elegies for Sister Satan
By (author): Michael Palmer
Michael Palmer


New Directions



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


General Trade
May 04, 2021
Print Run: 2000
$25.95 CAD


9in x 6 x 0.4 in | 180 gr

Page Count:

96 pages
New Directions Publishing
New Directions
POETRY / American / General
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?

Michael Palmer was born into an Italian-American family in Manhattan in 1943 and has lived in San Francisco since 1969. He has taught at numerous universities in the United States, Europe and Asia, and has published translations from a variety of languages, in particular French, Brazilian Portuguese and Russian. He has been involved in joint projects with many visual artists and composers in the United States and elsewhere and has also served as an artistic collaborator with the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company for close to fifty years. Palmer's honors include two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award, a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, the Shelley Memorial Prize from the Poetry Society of America, and he was awarded the 2006 Wallace Stevens Award. In 1999, he was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Magnificent: an astringent blend of surrealism and symbolism.

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

Palmer’s fresh images and experimental language will haunt readers’ minds long after they’ve stopped reading.

Palmer is among America's most elegant—and abstract—heirs to modernist poetry.

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

These are poems about confronting the end, the end of one’s own time and time in general, about repetition and the paradox of poetry, its ability to say the unsayable, to exist and yet remain unsaid, the utility of futility. - Elisa Gabbert, Best Poetry of 2021

These are profoundly beautiful and moving poems full of despair, sorrow, and humor about what can and cannot be said as we fall further into the brink. - John Yau

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