Pale Bird, Spouting Fire


by Susan Yuzna

Pages: 57; Size: 6″ x 9″
Series: Akron Series in Poetry — series

SKU: 978-1-884836-63-3 Category: Tags: ,


Susan Yuzna’s new collection of poetry builds on the success of her 1995 Akron Poetry Prize winner, Her Slender Dress, which won the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award. The new poems speak in a voice recognizably Yuzna’s, though now deepened and darkened with a quickening twist of mordant humor.

Feisty or contemplative, in Eden or on the mean streets, these poems look at the long tradition of women struggling towards fulfillment. Using figures mythical and real, from Venus to Billie Holiday, Yuzna explores the links that exist between the physical transformations unique to female experience and their spiritual and emotional epiphanies.

Encompassing these themes is the paradox of poetry: though a small thing, a “pale bird,” it is also a source of passion and power, “spouting fire,” strong enough to lift us beyond the commonplace, to change daily experience into moments when we recognize the presence of the extraordinary.

Susan Yuzna’s poems have attitude, they refuse to look away from the exigencies of contemporary womanhood: ‘This is a mother speaking’, she tells us, straight out, or ‘I’m getting old and I’m going to play cards with Venus and cheat. Got a problem with that?’ Her voice is honest, direct, passionate, forged by the need to break into utterance. Poems like ‘Golden Gate,’ ‘The Telephonist,’ and ‘Her Name Was Becky’ are among the finely wrought poems here, her delicate tracery of image joined to a fiery vision, like Blake’s, of savage intensity.
—Dorianne Laux

About the author

Susan Yuzna

Susan Yuzna, a native of Minnesota, teaches writing at the University of North Dakota. She has a BA in English from the University of Iowa and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Montana. Her first book, Her Slender Dress, won the Akron Poetry Prize and the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. She has held a Bush Artist Fellowship and the Richard Hugo Memorial Poetry Scholarship, and has been resident at several artist colonies, including Yaddo and MacDowell.

Other books by Susan Yuzna

Additional information




University of Akron Press


Akron Series in Poetry


Susan Yuzna

Pub Date