We Have Been Lucky in the Midst of Misfortune explores what is to be human in a world that is so often fraught with fracture and dissonance. The title of the collection is taken directly from a letter the author’s grandfather wrote from the front lines as a Jewish soldier fighting for the Germans in World War I. Stern’s inventive, wise, and sensuous collection goes to far-off places. Deep too—even underwater—as in “Pool Visits,” where the “dead stay with us through their guest appearances.”
“Sarah Stern’s poems combine praise and laments odes and elegies, and compress complex feelings into love poems to the reader. She harnesses the ‘strange muscle-beast’ of the tongue into songs that taste like edible blossoms of joy and loss––more joy than sorrow. ‘Absence has its own color,’ Stern tells us––demonstrates––in magical, inventive lines. These lyrics teach us about letting go without drama. Sometimes poetry does the work of therapy; sometimes, the work of painting and song. It’s all treasure, packed inside this volume, and now inside the reader’s imagination.”
—Marilyn Kallet, author of 18 books, including How Our Bodies Learned, poetry from Black Widow Press.
“Few writers develop the clarity of spirit, much less the skill, to let people and things dear to them arrive and reveal themselves. Sarah Stern, in her best poems, is such a writer. Breathtaking. And many of the poems in this collection are her best.”
—Brooks Haxton, author of They Lift Their Wings to Cry, Fading Hearts on the River, and My Blue Piano.
“With her crystalline poetics, surprisingly clear-cut and full-throated at the same time, Sarah Stern offers her readers the piercing force of sage, tender, and impassioned utterance. Her artfully understated voice rouses us to grasp what it is to be human and to live vehemently and wholeheartedly. ‘Sometimes a sentence / Makes you love a stranger,’ Stern insightfully writes in words that propel us to experience this poet’s formidable talents and compassion.”
—Yerra Sugarman is the author of two poetry collections, Forms of Gone and The Bag of Broken Glass. She is the recipient of numerous awards and holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston.
We Have Been Lucky in the Midst of Misfortune is available from Kelsay Books and Amazon.
In But Today Is Different, Sarah Stern’s first full-length collection of poems, she explores the themes of loss, desire, the erotic, getting older in a youth-obsessed culture, and finding the mystical in the ordinary. Several poems are shaped by conversations between an enduring voice and a mortal one that asks questions. The answers are in the shared spaces of wonder about the knowable and unknowable. With wisdom, humor, and humility, Stern brings the reader to a new place of deep feeling.
“Sarah Stern has written an utterly frank, headlong, passionate, and deeply engendered book of a woman in mid-life. She writes out of her own longings, her devotions as a daughter and a mother, her fiery supplications. But Today Is Different may be printed with ink, but it was written with fire.”
—Edward Hirsch, author of A Poet’s Glossary and Gabriel
“Sarah Stern’s first collection of poems, But Today Is Different, is a marvel. Wise, compassionate, erotic, plain-spoken, studded with wonderful moments—a black goat with blue eyes, an aging mother’s clavicle ‘like a Calder mobile,’ an iconic lipstick stain on a coffee cup—Stern’s vision puts a shine on the ordinary (a trip to Macy’s, a scraped knee) and gives it back to us as something wondrous and new. A new voice, in which readers will hear echoes of Philip Levine and Grace Paley . . . and a real achievement.”
—Cynthia Zarin, author of The Ada Poems and An Enlarged Heart: A Personal History.
But Today Is Different is available from Wipf and Stock Publishers and Amazon.
Sarah Stern’s Another Word For Love is part of Finishing Line’s critically acclaimed Chapbook Series. Stern explores love, loss, death, and desire in the family one is born into as well as in the family that one creates. It asks, among other questions, how one lives and finds beauty in a broken world.
“In Another Word for Love, Sarah Stern searches for meaning in a broken world. She delights in things around her, whether the El in New York or trees in New Hampshire, finding in them keys to her inner life. I read this book in the light of her clarity, exactitude, and fine intelligence.”
—Grace Schulman, author of Without A Claim
“Sarah Stern is a serious poet whose subject is knowledge: how do we know what we know, about love, snowstorms, shooting stars, the zoo, appetite? In these lucid, disarming poems, full of gravitas, even the elm tells her its secrets, under its ‘cathedral of dappled light.’”
—Cynthia Zarin, author of The Ada Poems and An Enlarged Heart: A Personal History
“Vivid and opaque, innocent and sophisticated, Sarah Stern’s poems in Another Word for Love are so full of life, never more than when they hint at death, that they refuse to sit still on the page. It’s us she’s catching in these glimmering nets.”
—Karen Durbin, Elle
Another Word for Love is available from Finishing Line Press.