Thursday, June 02, 2016

New anthology

I'm excited that some of my poetry is included in this new anthology recently published by the Academy of American Poets. Pick up a copy today. Featuring over 200 new, previously unpublished poems this book has heft (and includes poems by John Ashbery, Rita Dove, United States Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, and many others.)

Friday, October 16, 2015

"Pool Chatter" now available.

I'm proud of this latest book, Pool Chatter, which includes some of my writing on poetry and poetics and musings on being a poet in a big-shouldered city. (ISBN: 9781329143937)

"Astute and convincing... A quick-witted take on recent events in American poetry. I thoroughly enjoyed this (and wished it were longer). A contemplative page-turner."   -Jenny Macallister via

Sunday, December 07, 2014


Thank you to Alex Dimitrov and The Academy of American Poets for publishing my poem "Sundial." 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The only LIVE poetry radio in America.... Other Voices: Poetry & Politics with Larry Sawyer

So, I've started broadcasting via AM radio and couldn't be more excited about the show.

Here's the details:

WHAT IS IT? ...OTHER VOICES: poetry and politics with Larry Sawyer, streaming live at Q4 Radio.

Program 1 (click here to listen)
Program 2 (click here to listen)
Program 3 (click here to listen)

Guest poets and writers include Andrei Codrescu, Tyler Mills, Robert Archambeau, Amy King, Nick Twemlow, Mike Hauser, Michael Stephens, Barbara Barg, Kenyatta Rogers, Laura Goldstein, Brendan Lorber, Chris McCreary, David Trinidad, Jen McCreary, Roger Reeves, Francesco Levato, Tony Trigilio, and more!
WHEN IS IT? OTHER VOICES will return this Fall. Look for announcements via Facebook/Twitter.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Bestiary fun

Speaking of Bestiaries: "This abundance of animal images was not to the liking of some; St. Bernard of Clairvoux, writing in his Apology around 1127, says: "'What profit is there in those ridiculous monsters, in that marvelous and deformed comeliness, that comely deformity? To what purpose are those unclean apes, those fierce lions, those monstrous centaurs, those half men, those striped tigers, those fighting knights, those hunters winding their horns? Many bodies are seen under one head, or again many heads to one body. Here is a four-footed beast with a serpent’s tail; there a fish with a beast’s head. Here again the fore-part of a horse trails half a goat behind it, or a horned beast bears the hind quarters of a horse. In short, so many and marvelous are the varieties of shapes on every hand that we are tempted to read in the marble than in our books, and to spend the whole day wondering at these things rather than meditating the law of God. For God’s sake, if men are not ashamed of these follies, why at least do they not shrink from the expense?'" I'm now working on my own and enjoying rhyme. It feels pretty good to write slowly and go where the rhyme takes me. Looking up I realize I spent the whole day "wondering at these things."

When a chameleon calls, honey is near.
A question mark graces his derriere.
Mists move silently atop the roof of the world.
Chameleon is a glowing green flag unfurled.
Lounging relaxed, he has seen it all before.
Sans labyrinth, this tree-sized minotaur
kvetches to the Amazonian breeze.
This bluesman is due back royalties.
The day can be strange, depending on his mood;
once green, this freak's now vermilion hued.
One eye front and one rear-view
don't invite him to your next fondue.
Leave him be, this lord of fly.
It's witchy to watch him transmogrify.

The bali mynah is an iceberg of white;
This sucker is alone, hidden from sight.
Through labyrinthine leaves, soft eyes beam
in some jungle chili, a dab of sour cream.
When it comes to reconnaissance this bird's an old hand
those legs, involuntary music stands.
The most fetching wings, let the world behold
what nature can do when it aspires to more than slime mold.
Thank you for the serendipitous tête-à-tête;
We should have shared a cigarette.
You could pass for a slumming billionaire.
Quand est-ce que votre libération conditionnelle, mon cher?
You were a "star at dawn, a bubble in a stream
a flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream."

Monday, September 16, 2013 lives!

Yes, may be the most esoteric of all the milk magazines online but we were the first. Since 1999, milk magazine has published a wide variety of poetry, fiction, and visual art. In 1999, there was no other milk magazine online or in print but now there are milk magazines in France, Japan, and Australia but we are still going strong. You may notice the format has changed a bit. Using Word Press allows readers to like, forward, or Tweet a page, and we plan to publish content on politics, music, film, and whatever else our contributors feel like writing about, in addition to poetry. Thanks for checking in to have a look.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My new book is now available: Vertigo Diary

Click here if you'd like to order my  second book VERTIGO DIARY, which is available now.

Larry’s poetry gives me the best kind of vertigo: the kind where you’re afraid of falling, but when you do you fall into a soft, meaty, sensual, smart ravine that shakes you pretty good, but instead of killing you it turns you into a Thinking Cocktail. What a scary and fine artist Mr. Sawyer is!
Andrei Codrescu, author of So Recently Rent a World (Coffee House Press)

Larry Sawyer’s Vertigo Diary speaks from a three-fold poetics of self-consciousness, critique and humor so that we chuckle at and choke on our collective shortcomings. This book contains so many thrilling moments of high altitude lyricism that are skillfully balanced by an urbane desire to “progress beyond the / Need to fill our silences with such idiot carcasses.” In the end, Sawyer’s woozy and exquisite poems are shadow messages from the other side of ourselves, messages that unshackle language and let it loose in a dynamic field of play. When I hear these messages, I feel a rare sense of freedom; that is, “To their telegrams I respond / with a ponderous liberty.”
Nathan Hoks, author of The Narrow Circle (Penguin)

The secret love-child of Frank O'Hara and Paul Éluard, Vertigo Diary is a swirling romp into the city—through the mundane to the Pentagon to the not-so-probable. Sawyer's latest maps a world filled with beauty and longing, where the political, pop culture, and literary history meet in “our own private Pompeii.”
Megan Kaminski, author of Desiring Map (Coconut Books)

Larry Sawyer’s Vertigo Diary is a fine 21st century example of the poetry of the American Urban Sublime. More Ben Katchor’s Julius Knipl than Nelson Algren’s Frankie Machine, the author serves up a “moment salad” of incidentals in our day world and his sharp ear gets the real news down sans air quotes. Humane and wry, the book reads like the serial composition playing in my head—you just can’t tell what is awaiting you past the next period, comma or enjambment. Dialectic bebop.
Joel Lewis, author of Surrender When Leaving Coach (Hanging Loose Press)

In Vertigo Diary, Larry Sawyer gives us poems that are rich in idiosyncratic imagery and elusive, quotable metaphor (“Why was each moment such a miniature Troy?”). Sawyer’s exuberant sensibility has led him to confident lyric expression whose finest moments are beyond context.
Tony Towle, author of Winter Journey (Hanging Loose Press)

Larry Sawyer has curated the Myopic Books Poetry Reading Series in Chicago since 2005. With Lina ramona Vitkauskas he also edits milk magazine. Sawyer is also the co-director of The Chicago School of Poetics ( His poetry and literary reviews have appeared in publications including Action Yes, The Argotist (UK), The Boston Review, The Chicago Tribune, Coconut, Court Green, Esque, Exquisite Corpse, Forklift Ohio, Jacket (Australia), The Miami Sun Post, MiPoesias, The National Poetry Review, Ploughshares, The Prague Literary Review, Rain Taxi, Shampoo, Skanky Possum, Tabacaria (Portugal), Van Gogh’s Ear (France), Vanitas, Verse Daily, Vlak (Czech Republic), and elsewhere.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

2012: Not the End of the World

2012 is now kicking rocks and what a year for poetry in Chicago it was. As my year as “best” poet in Chicago ends (according to the Reader), I wish the new hopeful all the very best. Of course, there can be no “best” poet, no matter the locale, and I am just thankful that a few more readers took notice of my work. In addition, it was a huge honor to be invited to my alma mater, Wright State University, to read my poetry for Gary Pacernick and his assembled graduate students in Ohio. I traveled, read, and generally stood in awe of the number of poets in existence in Chicago and nationwide and was even able to avoid any use of the word yolo.

Poetry is in no danger. There is certainly no dearth of poetry in the United States but with so much sometimes the experience of being a poet writing in times like these is truly daunting. The Chicago School of Poetics offered its first master class in 2012, with poet Ron Silliman, who commented later “This is what a school truly should be – think of Black Mountain College – beyond all the boundaries & borders.” Stay tuned for additional announcements about upcoming master class instructors.

Although the apocalypse was not an option, the Myopic Poetry Series saw a full year with the poets Vyt Bakaitis, Kimberly Lyons, Elizabeth Robinson, Toby Altman, Joel Lewis, the Russian poets Dina Gatina, Lev Oborin, Alla Gorbunova, and Ksenia Marennikova, and also Christopher Hund, Jared Stanley, Catherine Theis, Debrah Morkun, Don Share, Mark Goldstein, Camille Martin, Philip Good, David Trinidad, Jen Karmin, and Bernadette Mayer to name just a few. I was also able to book Quraysh Ali Lansana and John Yau for 2013. I’m going into my eighth year as curator and I’m still as excited to host, as well as attend as a member of the audience. I was pleased to write an entry on Chicago poets and fiction writers for Ploughshares magazine and generally worked to near collapse on another manuscript that will be published by BlazeVox in 2013. (About which Andrei Codrescu writes “Larry's poetry gives me the best kind of vertigo: the kind where you're afraid of falling, but when you do you fall into a soft, meaty, sensual, smart ravine that shakes you pretty good, but instead of killing you it turns you into a Thinking Cocktail. What a scary and fine artist Mr. Sawyer is!”)

I still believe Chicago is the nexus for poetry in the U.S., and it’s a happy exhaustion I’m feeling but I must be forgetting something.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

was thinking of Marianne Moore

The Binturong: An Ode
From branch to branch to branch the binturong lurches
Between Vietnamese White Pine, even the Democracy Tree, but probably not ordinary birches. Deforestation is making his home uninhabitable.
Swinging between the lines of my poem this animal
Who calls the Pen-tailed Tree Shrew neighbor works harder than the entire U.S. Department of Labor just to survive.


Monday, June 04, 2012

I've been shopping around a new manuscript but until then the forecast calls for Werewolf Weather (click here). I really love this cover drawing by Gary Sullivan. Thanks, Gary.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Karmin, Trinidad, Mayer, Good - Tonight at Myopic Books Chicago

TONIGHT, Sunday, March 18 at Myopic Books, 7pm

JENNIFER KARMIN has published, performed, exhibited, taught, and experimented with language across the U.S., Japan, and Kenya. She curates the Red Rover Series and is co-founder of the public art group Anti Gravity Surprise. Her multidisciplinary projects have been presented at festivals, artist-run spaces, community centers, and on city streets. Her poems are widely published in anthologies and journals, like A Sing Economy, Come Together: Imagine Peace, Not A Muse, The City Visible, and in journals such as, Court Green, Everyday Genius, Fact-Simile, and The Brooklyn Rail.

Originally from Los Angeles, DAVID TRINIDAD has been called "a master of the postmodern pop-culture sublime." His work is also associated with the innovative formalism of the New York School. Alice Notley has written, "There is an unwavering light in all of Trinidad's work that turns individual words into objects, new facts." His most recent books are Dear Prudence: New and Selected Poems (2011), The Late Show (2007), and By Myself (with D.A. Powell, 2009), all published by Turtle Point Press. His poems have appeared in such periodicals as The American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Harper's, The Paris Review, and Tin House. Trinidad teaches at Columbia College Chicago and co-edits the journal Court Green.

BERNADETTE MAYER’s poetry has been praised by John Ashbery as “magnificent.” Brenda Coultas calls her a master of “devastating wit.” Mayer is the author of more than two dozen volumes of poetry, including Midwinter Day, Sonnets, The Desires of Mothers to Please Others in Letters, and Poetry State Forest. Recently published are her works Studying Hunger Journals and Ethics of Sleep. A former director of the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery and co-editor of the conceptual magazine 0 to 9 with Vito Acconci, Mayer has been a key figure on the New York poetry scene for decades.

PHILIP GOOD is the author of Untitled Writings from a Member of the Blank Generation (Trembling Pillow Press, 2011). He is a graduate of The School of Visual Arts and co-edited with Bill Denoyelles, the last of the mimeograph poetry magazines, Blue Smoke. He has given poetry readings all across America and abroad. He now lives in a former shtetl next to the Tsatsawassa and Kinderhook creeks with Bernadette Mayer.

Myopic Books Poetry Series curator: Larry Sawyer/Myopic Books/1564 N. Milwaukee Ave Chicago, IL 60622

Conveniently located near the Damen Blue Line CTA stop.