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Claire Bateman

Claire Bateman

Claire Bateman's books are The Bicycle Slow Race, Friction, At the Funeral of the Ether, Clumsy, Leap, and Coronology (Etruscan Press, forthcoming). The title poem from Coronology is also an e-chapbook of the same name produced by World Voices. She has won the Louisiana Literature Poetry Prize, the New Millennium Writing Poetry Prize, a Tennessee Arts Commission Literary Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship, a Robert Frost Fellowship, a Writing Teacher Portfolio Award from Scholastic Arts, and a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Greenville, South Carolina.

Also by Claire Bateman

  • The Bicycle Slow Race (1991)
  • Friction (1998)
  • At the Funeral of the Ether (1998)
  • Clumsy (2003)
  • Leap (2005)
  • Coronology



$14.00 paper | 69 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-930974-24-1
Publication Date: March 2003
Buy: Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | ShopWMU | UPNE

"Claire Bateman’s speakers are experts in failure, and they often know how silly they look from a cautious pragmatic perspective. They know they look like misfits, bumbling around in a world of rationally explicable restraints—clumsy, whacked, but undaunted and weirdly cheerful. Like other transcendentalist poets, Bateman is most powerful and moving where she gives pain and folly their due, sustaining her readiness for marvelous breakthrough amid folly and pain. Indeed, her central intuition is that the interaction between two realities, rather than either reality in itself, is what makes life, as well as poetry, terrific."
         —Mark Halliday, from the foreword

Praise for Friction:

"A tremendous intelligence and wit is at work here, in lines and images so intricately delicious, so full in the mouth like grapes, so billowing and palpable at the same time, so expansively particular one feels restored to each ripe, riveting cranny of this phantasmagoric life."
         —Naomi Shihab Nye

Praise for The Bicycle Slow Race:

"Claire Bateman is a poet who savors the real world as well as the world we sense moving under it. She writes with clarity and power, and in these poems accomplishes what only the best poets can attempt. Poem after poem, with grace and imagination, she asks the right questions, identifies and explores the everyday mysteries that most of us don’t even notice."
        —David Bottoms


Postmaster Letter # 1

Dear Postmaster:
I saw in the newspaper
how you are planning
to assign zip codes to ships.
This is not right.
The entire reason for a zip code
is that it stands still.
The entire reason for a ship
is that it is moving.
Not everything should be treated
as though it stands still,
because in my opinion
there are certain things that do not,
for example, history
& also marriage.
Even though what you are inside of
moves so slowly it cannot be felt,
this does not mean
it is not moving at all.
In fact,
you can turn it around
so it goes back in the direction
it came from
but not always
in time to save someone
who has fallen overboard
or maybe jumped.