Sean Singer’s second book of poems uses a range of hybrid forms including lyric poetry, long lines, nonfiction non-poetry, and lyrical essay to address the ghosts of history: historical figures, the lives of other writers, jazz music, and writing itself. The poems show humor, intimacy, and a range of voices; language and music of obsession; the meaning of creative energy.
Sean Singer was born in Mexico in 1974. His first book Discography won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, selected by W.S. Merwin, and the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. He has published two chap-books with Beard of Bees Press, Passport and Keep Right on Playing Through the Mirror Over the Water. He is the recipient of a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has a Ph.D. in American Studies from Rutgers-Newark. He lives in New York City.
In the exquisite Honey & Smoke, Sean Singer makes poetry inside of histories, like those bees who build honeycombs in the skull of a lion. Boundaries in this Wunderkammer Commedia shift and thrill as readers encounter Freud, Hedy Lamar, Larry Fine, Italo Svevo, Coppola’s The Conversation, Newark’s difficult history, jazz, and so much more. What a fitting title: the book’s smoky articulations fill the air as sweet architecture, as elegant shapes, piercing and blazing. — Amy Newman
SAMPLE POEM - 'MOUNTAINOUS BLACK GARDEN'
"What good is intelligence if you cannot discover a useful melancholy?"
Reading grapefruit, prey, and fake grief.
Put on “Fleurette Africaine” and her arm
Drapes onto steel fibers along nerves.
Her love fills the zinc bottle of its own body.
Peel me a woody bass, wick the piano away
From the sweet peak of Duke’s pomade.
Black can be quiet and contain the whole thing.
What is apart and not hard and hard and not apart?