Coming Back to the Body: Poems

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Holy Cow! Press, 2000 - Poetry - 109 pages
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"Scenes of the family farm, Paris, London, a dying marriage, stories of plain exaltation and ordinary weariness, seen with a clear and compassionate eye-it eases your heart to read Joyce Sutphen."-Garrisonn Keillor

"Keenly attentive, quietly ruthless-Coming Back to the Body is a work of hard groundings, rocky losses, cherished recoveries. This deeply rooted American book homesteads memories, harvests the present, and radiates a rare heart knowledge."-Edward Hirsch

"Joyce Sutphen is a modern metaphysical poet. The elegance and originality of her wit recall Marvell, Donne, Shakespeare, through her subjects-memory, love, family, death-are timeless. Her poems are like still lifes that refuse to be still. One is charmed. One is hypnotized. The poems in Coming Back to the Body are so various that whatever we seek we will find: consolation, enlightenment, undiluted delight."-Connie Wanek


Morning falls out of its orbit
and swims up through the blue.
Last night, when I heard the news,
I forgot my human hunger.

Now I am making calculations
with a row of ivy and old hibiscus.
I am silent as a shadow in the ferns,
I am frond green and curled.

It may be necessary to drink through
the roots; I could eat sunlight and air,
start a green factory in each finger;
I could make each arm a branch.

Let me begin as stem and leaf.
I'll make something you can breathe.

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About the author (2000)

Joyce Sutphen grew up on a farm near St. Joseph, Minnesota, and currently lives in Chaska, Minnesota. She has degrees from the University of Minnesota, including a Ph. D. in Renaissance Drama. Her first book, STRAIGHT OUT OF VIEW, won the Barnard New Women's Poets Prize (Beacon Press, 1995, republished by Holy Cow! Press in 2001). COMING BACK TO THE BODY (Holy Cow! Press, 2000) was a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award, and NAMING THE STARS (Holy Cow! Press 2004), won a Minnesota Book Award in Poetry. In 2005, Red Dragonfly Press published Fourteen Sonnets in a letterpress edition, and in 2006 she co-edited To Sing Along the Way, an award-winning anthology of Minnesota Women Poets from the Territorial Days to the Present (New Rivers Press). Her most recent book is FIRST WORDS (Red Dragonfly Press, 2010). Her poems have appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, Minnesota Monthly, North Dakota Review, and many other journals, and she has been a guest on A Prairie Home Companion, hosted by Garrison Keillor.

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