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Famous Hermits

Published by Archway Editions
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

In Famous Hermits, Stacy Szymaszek departs from the annual journal form of her past three books yet still adheres to the belief that the potential for revelatory and revolutionary transformation exists in the power we have, when we claim autonomy, to organize the fabric of our day to day lives.

The latest work from poet STACY SZYMASZEK, author of A YEAR FROM TODAY.

In Famous Hermits, her sixth full-length poetry collection, Stacy Szymaszek departs from the annual journal form of her past three books yet still adheres to the belief that the potential for revelatory and revolutionary transformation exists in the power we have, when we claim autonomy, to organize the fabric of our day to day lives. Her New York City is present as a memory that interjects its expectations onto new Western and Southwestern landscapes that don't recognize its logic. The concept of the famous hermit is born out of a desire to experience integrity, to not go forgotten, yet with a fierce need to separate from liberal ideas of what poetry should publicly perform. She invokes other kindred artists such as Dante, Bob Kaufman, Tina Modotti, and Jean Seberg as guides as she writes her own statements of renunciation and ultimately of middle-aged self-love.

The poems in Famous Hermits take surface narrative and give it deep glide, that deeper dive that happens when you approach the world as your confidante. Within a few lines, Stacy Szymaszek interlaces eons worth of intricate history to galvanize a poet's hangout — "I writhe / I am a human I think.There is tenderness in the assimilation of being human, to write the savage heart with a poet's restraint. In these pages, Basho meets the collective aporia — "my body takes me on a ride / I effloresce" — to enter a synesthetic space, where each allegory is its own parsed quench. Szymaszek shows her mastery of line and form by encapsulating cinematic propulsions that glint, in a flash, to then come back to our daily dialogue. Infiltrating cohesion with density, and a razor sharp wit, the poet's "elite city" appears as a temporal embrace in the heat of a desert, an emodiment of our migratory needs. What do we hold back, that may emote us, to enter, with simultaneity, our understanding of each other—of people, of poem—where all entrances are lived, all recollected stanzas othered? This richly focused collection explores our diurnal awakenings as cognitive planes, where each grouping of text is a radial entity, a hermetic investigation of a poet's walk. —Edwin Torres, The Body In Language: An Anthology (ed)

Stacy Szymaszek is the author of five books of poetry, most recently A Year From Today (2018). Szymaszek was the director of the Poetry Project from 2007 to 2018. Last year she was the Hugo Visiting Writer at the University of Montana and Poet-in-Resident at Brown University. She is the recipient of a 2019 grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. She is the recipient of a 2014 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, a 2019 Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant in poetry and she serves on the board of directors for Wendy's Subway and Committee on Poetry. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, on the ancestral lands of the Tohono O’odham and the Pascua Yaqui peoples, with her partner, the poet Kimberly Alidio.