Sandra Simonds is the author of six books of poetry: Orlando, (Wave Books, 2018), Further Problems with Pleasure, winner of the 2015 Akron Poetry Prize (University of Akron, 2017), Steal It Back (Saturnalia Books, 2015), The Sonnets (Bloof Books, 2014), Mother Was a Tragic Girl (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2012), and Warsaw Bikini (Bloof Books, 2009). Her poems have been included in the Best American Poetry 2015 and 2014 and have appeared in the New York Times, Poetry, the American Poetry Review, the Chicago Review, Granta, Boston Review, Ploughshares, Fence, Court Green, and Lana Turner. She lives in Tallahassee, Florida and is an Associate professor of English and Humanities at Thomas University in Thomasville, Georgia.
(Photo credit: Kira Derryberry)
Simonds’s sonnets are uncaged, snarling, rooting creatures, ferreting about the mind like it’s a shoebox of memorabilia. These sonnets execute that mysterious task which only poems can: expose the connective roots of memories, objects, and beings, despite how dissonant the universe can feel.
How do you write poems while caring for children, teaching composition, and trying to make rent? How do you think about—for example—domestic violence, Bikram Yoga, and being in love, all at once? The world is an exhausting place full of unsustainable contradictions; the sonnet holds some parts of it uncomfortably, energetically, together.
Steal It Back will not let us forget our own complicity in building a soulless society. The juxtaposition of priceless works of art with our shoddy, big-box store culture generates an anger that is the book’s main power. Simonds’s style is direct, her sentences both sharp-edged and fragile in their rawness.
In her writing, she lets her “self” be split into multiple personas that are totally and not totally her at the same time. And alongside that “self” are hosts of strange societal bedfellows, unwitting perpetrators of their own oppression or momentary motions of freedom. So there’s a ton of bardic ghosting going on that’s not yet discursively explainable, but that feels essential to a re-tooling of political volition.
Reviews of books by Sandra Simonds
- University of Arizona Poetry Center, with Jon Riccio
- Reading from On Time and discussion with Tony Trigilio on Radio Free Albion
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