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Patty Seyburn

Patty Seyburn

Patty Seyburn's third book of poems, Hilarity, won the Green Rose Prize given by New Issues Poetry & Prose. She has published two books of poems: Mechanical Cluster (Ohio State University Press, 2002) and Diasporadic (Helicon Nine Editions, 1998) which won the 1997 Marianne Moore Poetry Prize and the American Library Association's Notable Book Award for 2000. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including The Paris Review, New England Review, Field, Slate, Crazyhorse, Cutbank, Quarterly West, Bellingham Review, Connecticut Review, Cimarron Review, Third Coast and Western Humanities Review. Seyburn grew up in Detroit, earned a BS and an MS in Journalism from Northwestern University, an MFA in Poetry from University of California, Irvine, and a Ph.D. in Poetry and Literature from the University of Houston. She is an Assistant Professor at California State University, Long Beach and co-editor of POOL: A Journal of Poetry, based in Los Angeles. She lives with her husband, Eric Little, and their two children, Sydney and Will.

Also by Noah Eli Gordon

  • Diasporadic (1998)
  • Mechanical Cluster (2002)



$15.00 paper | 75 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-930974-83-8
Publication Date: April 6, 2009
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Winner of the 2008 Green Rose Prize

"In a time when there’s little to laugh about, Patty Seyburn’s Hilarity is an epic punch line: sparkling and smart. I rely on her ‘sort of music eliding joy and pain’ —and the echoes in the great church of disbelief to keep us all sane and savvy. Read Hilarity and weep, and laugh. And get better because of it."
         ––Carol Muske-Dukes

“Patty Seyburn’s Hilarity is a skeptic’s playground, in which we learn that Dante ‘layered Hell like a taco salad,’ that God created the ocean with waves ‘in tiers’ instead of vertical, and an escaping butterfly triggers the rhyme of ‘reason’ with ‘treason.’ Seyburn is also mistress of nocturnal phantasmagoria, in a series of insomnia and dream and nightmare poems that dredge ‘the silt and mud of memory.’ Is she also, however, a closet romantic? You will have to read the seven poker-faced ‘chapters’ of the title poem to find out."
         ––Alicia Ostriker

Praise for Diasporadic:

“What distinguishes Patty Seyburn’s first volume of poetry, Diasporadic, is her magic habit of managing disparate but simultaneous perspectives. Almost yoga-like, she seems able to train her focus at once on big subjects and small details, as if she had a different capacity for perspective than the rest of us."
         ––Molly Peacock

" . . . this impressive debut volume introduces a poet of remarkable versatility and intelligence: Seyburn’s gentle wit and winning persona find inspiration in family history; her narratives and lyrics, with their varying lines, draw on her sense of Jewish identity and difference, whether as an assimilated Midwestern girl, or in the voices of some lost women from the Bible."
         ––Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Mechanical Cluster:

“The poems of Patty Seyburn are filled with a strange, ambitious, and compelling music made of the mythic, momentous, and mundane days of our lives. The poems arise fro the gold sun and the surf of California, the skies filled with western birds, but the poet finds illumination also in the ‘grid of lights and land / known as Detroit.’ This is a remarkable book."
         ––David Citino


There is No Escaping the Inedible

There will always be a dish
that can’t be choked down:
the giant lima bean, or,
the slimiest of oysters.

Uruguayan mystics, the most
profound, say: each utterance
proffers purpose and accident.
So if a syllable or two

bellies up to the bar, boisterous
for shots of Patrón
and emerges in a blur,
forgetting its noun, all the better

to eat you with, my dear
says the tricky wolf of language:
what’s meant to be
will happen, anyway, with/

out the crutch of cliché.