Books

Poetry

Order Apocalypse Mix

Autumn House Poetry Prize Prize

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“From her brilliant debut collection, Shepherdess With an Automatic, to this remarkable new collection, Apocalypse Mix, Jane Satterfield has offered her readers some of the most lyrically graceful and historically reflective collections in American poetry. Always illuminated by intellectually provocative perspectives, these poems balance their raw psychological undercurrents with a calm and masterful stylistic authority.

Jane Satterfield’s work weaves the reader into its fabric of individual and historical circumstance, as well within the dense foliation of personal experience. This is a powerful poetry of great clarity, urgency, and superb accomplishment.”—David St. John 

 

“Jane Satterfield’s challenging new collection bristles with history. It is rich with unearthed, recalled, and juxtaposed relics, whether of pop music, yoga poses, or implements of former wars turned vintage memorabilia. Satterfield’s poetry enacts what one of the powerful prose poems here calls “this angel’s transmission across time and space”—and we readers are the beneficiaries.”—Rachel Hadas 

 

Order Her Familiars 

Finalist for the Julie Suk Prize

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“Jane Satterfield brings an astonishing range of subjects to Her Familiars, handling them with keen intelligence, musical intricacy, and tonal dexterity.  Here, she tells of a child’s encounter of tragedy through a poetry recitation, or the life of an exemplary (and little known) woman ceramic artist, or the collapse of human communities through history (concluding, disconcertingly, with the vanishing of bees today).  Jane Satterfield’s poems are intimate, graceful, and brilliant, composed around issues of social and political importance.  Reading them, I feel I have made a friend whose company I enjoy and whose insight, wit and commitment I greatly admire.  These are terrific poems.” —Kevin Prufer

 

“Fascinating and revelatory, Her Familiars explores the culture of war and female experience through a varied and lively mix of forms.  Here we find epistles, refrains, litanies, elegies, and even a poem inspired by the iTunes party shuffle function.  Though her topics are necessary and her intent sincere, Satterfield’s voice is invigorated with humor, a sense of play, and an appreciation for the beauty of this world.   Often, historical concerns (17th century witchcraft crusades) and contemporary concerns (high school cliques) intersect and illuminate each other in fascinating ways.  This tension runs throughout–even when we are brought to a street in Baghdad to witness the explosion of  “two bombs, homemade, hidden / in a bird box,” we are also brought a world away to a speaker in a coffee shop where “There’s grief in the mute loop of CNN flashing on/ the flat screen TV.  Soft chatter, / the barista’s contrail of steam.  There’s grief, there’s cupcakes.”  What a terrible, difficult, contradictory world we’re living in.  Thank God we have Jane Satterfield’s beautifully conceived, beautifully executed book to guide us.” —Beth Ann Fennelly

 

“Ever since I read Shepherdess with an Automatic about a decade ago, I’ve been a great fan of Jane Satterfield’s poetry and prose. Her Familiars (a title glossed from the OED to reach as widely and deeply as possible) is anchored by two superb and ambitious historical sequences –  “Collapse,” dealing with the American side of Satterfield’s background, and “Clarice Cliff Considers Leaving Edwards Street,” dealing with the British side.  Before and between these poems appear shorter lyrics on a range of subjects, sometimes domestic and sometimes glosses on life’s weird curiosities, written both in form and free verse, fully achieved in both cases.  Satterfield has a quirky and original angle on the world of her experience.  Our shepherdess still carries an automatic.”—John Matthias

 

Order Assignation at Vanishing Point

Elixir Press Book Award

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“Jane Satterfield’s poems are fierce in their intelligence, capacious in their ardor, tuned to the mutable dictions and sedimented histories–the gorgeous, harrowing embeddedness of life on Earth. The vanishing point? Perspective requires it. This beautiful book redeems it.”—Linda Gregerson

 

“In her new poetry collection, Assignation at Vanishing Point, Jane Satterfield considers the lives and thoughts of figures diverse as Anna Akhmatova, Thomas DeQuincey, Petrarch, Simone de Beauvoir, Gustav Klimt, Clare of Assisi, and others, to explore those experiential nether regions in which the personal and historical intersect. Satterfield’s finely honed intelligence, purity of tone, and seriousness of purpose distinguish her from her many contemporaries. When she writes, “I know the future—its steady tug, dark water, storms to sail through,” we believe her.—Elizabeth Spires

 

From the foreword:

“Negotiating distances, intimate or otherwise, Satterfield’s poems contain all the other trappings of travel: the snapshots, film, postcards, phone messages…these ways of keeping the traveling experience long after the experience has passes, these ways of passing the balm of pilgrimage on to others…”—Michelle Mitchell-Foust

 

Shepherdess with an Automatic

Towson University Prize for Literature

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“These poems are edgy, taut, and elegant. They are filled with the rich figurative language of a moral intelligence, rare for poets of Satterfield’s generation.” —Michael Collier

 

“The supremely articulate, assured and urbane poems of Jane Satterfield keep their poise in an untrustworthy world of “flickering lights,” “combustible matter” and “mangled music.” Anglo/American anguish at the absent green pastures of an old refuge is given voice in dazzling turns of phrases and an improvised composure, as this “shepherdess” tracks the transits of desire and restless intellect across the past-haunted, “bone-stuffed” ground.” —Eleanor Wilner

 

“Jane Satterfield’s poems display many of the best qualities of an ambitious new generation of poets. Intelligent, strictly phrased, unsentimental, Shepherdess with an Automatic convinces us that that large questions—however unanswerable—remain indispensable: What is one’s place in history? In gender? In thought? In the cosmos? Satterfield is a poet of high challenges and rewards.” —Greg Glazner

 

“Under the unusual composure of Satterfield’s first collection is a turbulence that—even though it is resisted—colors her poems. “The song heard in snatches” is the one readers will find here, a “slender glimpse,” a “reckless glance”; sounds are “viewed” as delicate enticements for change.” —Judith Hall

 

Creative Nonfiction

Purchase Daughters of Empire: A Memoir of a Year in Britain and Beyond

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“The mark of a real writer is in every sentence, and Jane Satterfield’s memoir, which speculates on paths and tracks, both physical and spiritual, discovers its own individual path with complex, erudite and poetic sentences that give pleasure all along the way. Surprising, enlightening and full of depth, this is a nuanced story of return, birth and rebirth, and the multiple echoes of home.” —Rodger Kamenetz

“Daughters of Empire reaches us on many levels as the memoir of an emerging artist, a young mother, a woman trying to locate her nationality and her place in the world. Poet Jane Satterfield writes eloquently about a period in her life when she struggled with marriage, questioned her artistic talent and came to love her child and herself. This intelligent, candid book is filled with movement, wit, tenderness and vitality. Satterfield writes in a variety of forms and voices to produce a story that is powerful and close to the bone.” —Valerie Miner

“With a finger constantly on the pulse of the artistic and culture trends of Britain in the mid-1990s, award-winning writer Satterfield explores her own attempts at reconciling motherhood with her literary legacy.” —Library Journal

 

Purchase Borderlands and Crossroads: Writing the Motherland (multigenre anthology co-edited with Laurie Kruk)

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“The reach is global in this gripping collection of poems, stories, and creative nonfiction about mothers and mothering. Here are voices wide-ranging and complex; they tell of love, loss, and renunciation…The landscape of mothering is drawn anew in this raw and haunting collection.”—Ruth Panofsky

“This anthology is a treasure chest. Borderlands and Crossroads takes us on touching, funny, heartrending journeys to Egypt, England, India, Greece, Ghana, Italy and other parts of the world with the forty-two writers exploring the topic of motherhood as parents and children. The poets, essayists, and fiction writers inquire about geography, history, citizenship, memory. Their material is fact and fable and sometimes a mixture of the two. Editors Jane Satterfield and Laurie Kruk provide lively introductions and conclusions which several general readers as well as students in literature and feminist studies classes…These stories and poems open our hearts and expand our range of compassion.” —Valerie Miner