Whether writing about land and earth “forgotten/like a rusted key” or love that arrives as “a kind of completion/of arrival”, Sagan’s poems speak to the essence of every corner they touch. They ask the rare daring questionand what’s left unsaid adds reverberating power to her lines. The personal echoes the world’s concerns in surprising, stunning ways—and the earth holds all of it in its imaginary borders. Her poems yield secrets we all need to hear. Indeed, Sagan’s poems are gifts, “hidden within the ordinary/…a flicker/of the ineffable.” —Renée Gregorio, author of Snow Falling on Snow
Beasts is a book about time—time passing, time cycling, time fossilizing, time writing itself on the human imagination. Such a scope might crumble in a lesser poet’s hands, but Sagan’s touch is dependably deft and fresh. Here are poems woven of high and low, shadow and light, visible and invisible, human and other-than. Tuned to the resonant universe, they touch us deeply.
—Anne Valley-Fox, author of Nightfall
Literary Nonfiction. Memoir. Poetry. “‘I did love my father for many years,’ Miriam Sagan writes on the first page of BLUEBEARD’S CASTLE, an engaging and probing account of her relationship to her father, a man she calls ‘an eccentric misanthrope,’ whose ‘tantrums were notorious.’ Sagan examines her father’s impact on her in prose as balanced and amusing as the ‘two equal length lists’ she made of everything she hated and everything she loved about him, and in lyrical, mystical poems. The ‘cache of memory’ she draws from includes learning young to converse with a father who disdained small talk in favor of anthropology and Freudian psychology, and the gangsterish family culture centered on the garment business her father inherited and then left in mid-life (and where, as a girl she selected a new coat each season). The sections that consider her own close call with death in her early 20s, from what may have been swine flu, and the fact that her father’s intervention probably saved her life, as well as her descriptions of his disintegration the two years before he died, delve deep. If, as Sagan posits, their relationship was a ‘koan,’ that she could never solve, her depiction of it is nuanced and riveting.”—Carol Moldaw