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Crude Angel, BkMk Press, © 2018

In Suzanne Cleary’s moving new book of poems, Crude Angel, the imagination enters into a tender dialogue with the world. Now the world has the last word, as wish gives way to fact, and now the imagination steps forward to fill the landscape with what is missing. The poems seem so homely and open in the particulars used to ground their shifting perspectives that the reader can’t help but be drawn in. — Carl Dennis

In these headlong, often hilarious, intensely pleasurable poems, Suzanne Cleary offers us Degas’ brother “twisted on [his] back in the wet grass of morning,” serving day after day as the model for a fallen jockey, and the theremin “played by waving one’s hands // in the air surrounding [it]… / …a song made entirely/of the world’s poor materials // somehow charged.” The poet’s work is humble, the poems seem to say, but she goes at it with a passion worthy of her many awkward characters. She’s faithful to the world as it is, its “poor materials,” charging them with her humor and quixotic imagination. — Dana Roeser

Suzanne Cleary’s witty, meditative lines interrogate nostalgias of personal and collective memory; luminaries as divergent as Gertude Stein, Leon Theremin, and Lawrence Welk offer compelling reminders of the zeal and labor involved in making art. From the sublime vistas of natural landscapes to the gleaming interiors of Woolworth’s “buttery air” to dubbing rooms to handwritten letters exchanged between lovers that provide “practice for loving/first the world, then ourselves,” Crude Angel tracks the heart’s urgent aspirations in poems of high ambition and rich reward. — Jane Satterfield, Apocalypse Mix and Her Familiars

Beauty Mark, BkMk Press, © 2013

Suzanne Cleary's Beauty Mark is a lucid, ambitious work that reflects a keen and sensitive mind, her ideas and images gleaned from the sensual, tangible world. She writes, "nothing lasts forever / except our desire for things to last forever"; but it is this poet's determination to deeply probe her subjects and her ability to sustain the elegant, energetic line that keeps us tied to what shines in each poem's humble discovery. -- Dorianne Laux

"The imperfect is our paradise," Wallace Stevens reminds us, but how lucky we are to have in these poems of Suzanne Cleary another reminder. Here is a world where "dancing the polka is like walking / on a ship's deck / during a storm . . . . / Each time the ship / tilts, you take two hop-like / steps in one direction . . . ." Against the odds, against the elements, the dance. "Beauty bedevils," she tells us, "but the beauty mark bedevils beauty," and this is exactly what Cleary's lyric voice does in a book that bewitches and stuns. -- Ilya Kaminsky

Suzanne Cleary's Beauty Mark is gorgeously audacious, tender, vulnerable, and open. Her distinctive poems celebrate the quotidian life, the victories and mistakes, the historical and the anecdote. To paraphrase an old Panteen commercial: Don't hate her because she writes beautiful poems. Suzanne Cleary is the real deal. -- Denise Duhamel

Trick Pear, Carnegie Mellon UP, © 2007

Suzanne Cleary writes about the American sublime, the ways in which our commonplace lives achieve glamour and transcendence in an Airstream trailer or dinner conversation with friends, in an encounter with a famous jazz singer or in the durable habits of a grandparent's immigrant speech. We are constantly intersecting with history in small but important ways, unforgettable ways, as they are recorded by this poet. One poem here, one of the best, is titled "True." True could be the title of every poem in this book. Cleary's is a genuine lyric gift as rich as it is rare. --Mark Jarman

With a wild and steady hand and a wild and steady voice, Cleary lures us into her world of tender anachronism. Here is a book where keen observation of the everyday opens into illuminated arguments. --Anne Marie Macari

Keeping Time, Carnegie Mellon UP, © 2002

I have long been anticipating this first book and the chance to express how highly I value Suzanne Cleary's poetry. Her poems have a vigorous forward roll to them and are strung together by daring chains of association. It is refreshing to read a poet who wants to hide nothing, to turn over all the cards at once. High time she had a book, a place for her original voice to echo. --Billy Collins



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