Sagan is a prolific writer, the author of over a dozen books including
novels, books for children and nonfiction as well as several books
of poetry. For a woman in mid-career, she has the wisdom and the
experience of a much older person. In her latest book, Archeology
of Desire, Red Hen Press (Los Angeles, 2001), the poems resonate
with authenticity, spirituality and the truths of living with loss.
the book she explores meaning in different ways. In the poem After
You, written for her deceased husband, she asks, Who is "you?"/The
other, the beloved/ and further on in the poem "You
some part of myself I'm speaking to,/ or you, the reader, or you,
the passage of time/that wilts the proverbial rose. In another
poem, Miriam Sagan gives us yet another perspective I've always
distrusted the letter Y/ Sometimes a vowel, sometimes not/
But you, in the end, must come to me/. This dialogue of questions
and revelations makes the book a seamless whole. It is frequently
woven with a juxtaposition of the grandiose and the miniature as
in her pairing of an ant ,the immanence/Of sky,. the New
Mexican Sangre de Christo mountains on the one hand followed by
a poem about gladiolas.
poem after poem, she reveals the many dimensions of a single experience.
In Milky Way, she leaps from a bottle of rubbing alcohol her husband
left behind, to his garden lying fallow, to the Milky Way/ separated
the mortal husband/from his star wife/, and back again to the The
wife and child/Who remain/ Left with the bookcase you made/of driftwood/
Saving your paperweight--/A red brick smoothed by waves/.
searching for what lies beyond our ordinary vision reaches cosmic
proportion in Time Dilation Experiments where she recalls suddenly
feeling the meaning of the giant Buddhas in a museum and hearing
the songs of the Algonquins Sink beneath the asphalt of Manhatten.
In Digging for Troy, Miriam Sagan is delving into the whole of human
history, events great and small, unearthing everyday objects that
yield their own stories as well as many questions and premonitions.
wisdom and understanding appear like jewels nested in the midst
of her poems. In Monoprint, she comments Things cover each other
up: faith, doubt/Occultation of the present over the past.
In fact so many of the poems in this book explore the enigmas of
our brief passage on this earth.
of the poems reflecting her circumstances as a young widow with
a new husband, are meditations on death and what it means in our
daily life. In the first poem in the book, Open The Door, she continues
standing on the threshold nights, knowing her husband will never
return but nevertheless questioning what has happened and what it
has done to her.
meditations occur within an elegantly portrayed world of wonder
and contentment for this is a book that vibrates with joy. In Rothko
she explores the luminosity of his colors and shapes, listing what
she refers to as The hum of each thing's name:
heel, sea stone, locket, amethyst--/That keeps this world/ Alive.
Having experienced such a crushing loss at a young age, the poet
has discovered that grief has given her a richer and deeper insight
into the world: her poems are also exultation, a rediscovering of
the beauty of the seemingly ordinary.
of Desire is a book about the human condition with its discoveries
and joys as well as its crushed hopes, and its sorrows. It is the
work of a mature poet whose vision brings us close to the burning
realities of life in a way that instructs rather than frightens,
a book one can turn to again and again for enlightenment and unvarnished
truth as well as for sheer enjoyment.
Miriam Sagan was
born in Manhattan and raised in New Jersey. She holds a BA from
Harvard and MA in Creative Writing from Boston University. She is
an acclaimed writing teacher and author of more than a dozen books
of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. She has held residency grants
at Yaddo and MacDowell and is the recipient of a grant from the
Barbara Deming Foundation and a Border Regional Library Association
Award. Her work has appeared nationally in over 200 magazines. She
has taught writing at Santa Fe Community College, Taos Institute
of the Arts, Aspen Writers Conference, and in workshops across the
United States. She now lives in New Mexico with her husband Richard
Feldman and her daughter.