Susan Kinsolving
December 2008


Susan KinsolvingThe White Eyelash, Susan Kinsolving’s third book of poems, was published by Grove Press, and praised by Poetry, The Los Angeles Times, American Poet, and Talisman.   

Her book Dailies & Rushes was a finalist for The National Book Critics Circle Award. The collection was critically acclaimed by Kirkus, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, The Library Journal, Vanity Fair, among others.

Her new collection of poems, My Glass Eye will be published in 2009.

Presently, she is a member of the Core Poetry Faculty in the Bennington Graduate Writing Seminars, Vermont.  In the past, she has taught at University of Connecticut, Chautauqua Institute, Southampton College, California Institute of the Arts, and Willard-Cybulski Correctional Institution, a men’s prison.

She has been awarded several international fellowships. As a guest lecturer and reader, she has been invited to present her work in Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, Scotland, and Switzerland. 

As a librettist, her work has been performed in New York, California, and Italy.  Her poem “Dance Steps” was presented to Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands in a televised ceremony. A recent commission for a song cycle for American soprano Christine Brewer will premiere in California, 2010.

She originated and administrated three poetry reading series for California Institute of the Arts, The New York Public Library, and The American Poets Maze.

She resides in Bridgewater, Connecticut.

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Statement of Poetics

W. H. Auden said: In poetry you have a form looking for a subject and a subject looking for a form. When they come together successfully you have a poem.

Most of my poems are in free verse with embedded rhyme. A lot of my subject matter tends to be dark, but I also write so-called light verse.  Satire interests me, though few poets write it well.

Musicality, enjambment, imagery, rhyme, and irony get my attention. Hopkins, Clare, Hardy, Roethke, Eliot, and Dickinson are favorites, among others.   

I live in a rural area.  Behind my old farmhouse are acres of forest and a brook.
The natural world has always engaged me, with pleasure and grief.  This may be apparent in another poem I chose for this site, Under House Arrest.

I’ve written three poetic sequences.  I enjoy research and finding images, facts, anecdotes, and metaphors in unexpected places.  The first sequence I wrote was based on horticulture.  Thirty poems came out of studying hybridization, floral etymology, Dutch history, Roman myth, Minoan culture, and local gardens.

My new book is My Glass Eye.  For the past two years, I’ve researched prosthetic eyes and written poems about them.
In fourth grade, I began writing poems and submitted some under a pseudonym to the local newspaper.  They were published and I remember waiting behind my father’s chair for him to read them.   Of course, he was reading the news and turned the page.  For some strange reason, I never revealed that my poems were in his newspaper.  Perhaps it was my first lesson about poetry and audience.  Or perhaps it was a way of securing my own muse.

In the decades since, I like to believe that poetry has kept me sane, but I am skeptical.
It may the opposite.

Working with my students, colleagues, and composers has taught me a lot.  

The two people most helpful to my writing, from my college years to the present, are William O. Walker and Richard Howard.  I owe them thanks.  

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