New poems by Eleanor Lerman
Eleanor's bookpage at Sarabande
Eleanor's Observers, And Other Stories is featured at Artemis Press
Interview with Nickole Brown of Sarabande Books and Eleanor Lerman.
Mystery of Meteors appears courtesy of Sarabande Books.
After a brilliant debut with Armed Love (Wesleyan, 1973) and Come the Sweet By and By, which won the inaugural Juniper Prize from the University of Massachusetts Press in 1975, Eleanor Lerman has kept silent for twenty-five years. Her new book breaks this silence with work every bit as inventive, audacious, and passionate as her first award-winning volumes.
Cosmology, physics, ancient Egypt, alien abduction, the Internet, memory, archaeology, love: these are some of the subjects that find unlikely and original conflation in Lerman's new collection of poems. The intervening years have deepened and widened her vision. In The Mystery of Meteors there is an encompassing perspective that grants large-hearted (yet undeluded) regard to both past and future, to the selves we have been and the selves we are still becoming. "These are the mysteries I could not approach when I was younger," Lerman writes, "the boulevards, the meteors, the deep desires that split the sky." ("The Mystery of Meteors")
Lerman lights up mysteries as diverse as the whims of an eleventh-century queen, a night flight from New York to L.A., cyber and millennial overload, a Russian exile in Paris, and the moon in the window of a 7-Eleven ("wearing a big, white, shimmering, beaming, happy-go-lucky 1940s kind of face"). She treats all places and things with an odd and endearing equanimity.
Lerman's new poems are like terminals where trains from many distant provinces of both the inner and outer worlds—thought, history, imagination, science, etc.—find meeting with weird and affable grace. They are intelligent but accessible. They are buoyant with a self-regarding wry humor. They bravely and unpretentiously grab hold of whatever is at hand as they approach and enter "the deep desires that split the sky."
Praise for Mystery of Meteors:
“Eleanor Lerman is back, a different poet, quieter, older, 'wiser,' more earthly yet still brilliant, a coruscating daughter of the poet of the Seventies. What luck for American literature."
"Eleanor Lerman's poems in The Mystery of Meteors, as passionately questing as her brilliant early work, inhabit a vastly larger literal and emotional landscape. The momentum of Lerman's long cadences, the sureness and fluency of her syntax, the pithiness of her unmistakably American speech, are pleasures in themselves. They serve a vision steeped in paradox, as certain of the joy of "life, life, life going on" as of the unresolvable ancient questions these poems articulate with intelligence and authority. I'm moved to hear this poet's voice again. Eleanor Lerman is a great and gifted original."
Eleanor Lerman was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1952. She is the author of two previous books of poetry, Armed Love, and Come the Sweet By and By. She has been nominated for a National Book Award, received the inaugural Juniper Prize from the University of Massachusetts Press, and was the recipient of a fiction grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts. She lives and works in New York City.