Biography of Eric Torgersen
Eric Torgersen has published poetry, fiction, essays and a full-length study of Rainer Maria Rilke and Paula Modersohn-Becker. He also translates German poetry, especially that of Rainer Maria Rilke and Nicolas Born. He was born in Huntington, New York. He has a BA in German Literature from Cornell University; after two years in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, he earned an MFA in poetry from the University of Iowa. He retired in the spring of 2008 after 38 years of teaching writing at Central Michigan University. He lives in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan with his wife, the quilt artist Ann Kowaleski. His next book of poems, Heart. Wood., will be published in 2012 by Word Press.
Eric Torgersen's Works:
The Man Who Loved Rilke, a novella from March Street Press, 2008
Inside Unity House: The John-Paul Story
Dear Friend: Rainer Maria and Paula Modersohn-Becker
Good True Stories, Lynx House Press, is the most recent full-length collection of poems
The Door to the Moon, March Street Press, is a chapbook of short poems
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Eric Torgersen Poems
In the kitchen window the coleus I cut down to stumps to make cuttings for friends is spreading new leaves to the sun.
The Story Of White Man Leading Viet Cong...
The Story of White Man Leading Viet Cong Patrol -AP Dispatch, Des Moines Register, August 4, 1968 The slain enemy resembled
That was no language that was your life. That was a punning linguist. That was the headline Author Gets Off. That was an offer of amnesty and amnesia,
Open Stage Poetry Reading
After the one that sings, and after the one that can make up poems of a kind right on the spot; after a girl who didn't . . . walk very well, took five minutes to get from her seat to the stage
Once I woke up in the dark and thought I was blind. There was no light at all. There's always some light. Blind, I was calm in that perfect dark. Friends would come, and I'd tell them what they had to do. It would be all right.
Keep the tale, it's free, just bring the book back. Eat the fish, but bring the line and hook back. No one out here lives by bread alone; relish the coq au vin, but send the cook back.
Had enough of the old lonesome-and-blue scenario? Up for a shot at the old I-love-you scenario? Man enough to leave your comfort zone in the good old get-drunk-and-screw scenario?
On the streets of Mérida, beggars and vendors of shirts and hammocks and panama hats. We perfect our no. But there's always something we can't help saying yes to: I want to join
When They Draw Us
When they draw us, the children, as great beaming sun-faces balanced on sticks, waving sticks, can it be that they see us so soon
Children tattooed, pierced and studded, dreadlocked; parents panicked, indecisive, deadlocked. Mother to daughter: live as you must, if you must; for just a bit longer, keep the door to your bed locked.
No Dancer / Still Walking
In one of the open-air restaurants along the beach at Progreso three shy pretty Indian girls danced for us with trays bottles glasses balanced on their heads
Whitman felt his ribs and found the fat holy. Poor mad Smart found Geoffrey the cat holy. Growing up on Yankee turf I found a Mickey Mantle Louisville Slugger bat holy.
An Apple From Walt Whitman
There's never been a poet where I live, but I grew up in the shade of Whitman's name: born in West Hills—our hills—he would have walked our paths along the crest. I walked Whitman Road,
A crackpot gringo in Guatemala told me: when the pilots of the suicide planes began their dives down at the ships they were already dead. Coming from him, a smug didactic metaphor.
Hang him from a tree he hasn't hung from yet.
Fling him off a bridge no one's been flung from yet.
Send succor, in whatever dark disguise:
a hornet's nest he's not gone running, stung, from yet.
Early fall, and not one branch the wind
has not stripped every leaf that clung from yet.