Patricia Traxler

Nominated for the Paterson Poetry Prize & the Poetry Society of America's William Carlos Williams Award

Photo: Stephen Hébert, Newsweek

Poetry reading at Midleton Library, County Cork, Ireland, 2012. Photo by Fergus McCarthy.

Working with teens at Opportunity Now, 2014. Photo by Ann Marie Morris

Naming the Fires

About Naming the Fires:

Patricia Traxler's fourth poetry collection takes its shape from her Pablo Neruda Award-winning sequence, "War: a Memoir," the eleven sections of which span the book and create a compelling narrative arc. The poems of Naming the Fires examine intimacy, faith and doubt, family, and the passage of time in a world riven by war, unrest, and violence, and driven by sexual, material, and spiritual craving, a hunger for meaning.

"The world has changed at a startling pace since I began publishing poems in my twenties," Traxler says, "and yet there has never been a time I can remember since earliest childhood when it was at peace. At some point I needed to settle in and think about what those years had really meant. I chose the quiet of the American prairie--birthplace of my father and his father--for my coming to terms with life and time, reflecting on our torn world and the fragility of belief in such a world, on trust and broken trust, love, pleasure, friendship, isolation, and loss, as well as a reckoning with my own mistakes, my serious missteps. I realize everyone has regrets to contend with, but that doesn't lessen the sense of gravity and sadness at one's own failings. These poems took me through all of that, in the process examining the desires, fears, and vulnerabilities that are inevitably part of being alive in our world."

Naming the Fires is a nominee for the Paterson Poetry Prize and the Poetry Society of America's William Carlos Williams Award.

"Patricia Traxler holds us in the devastating thrill of freefall, half-past naming and this close to combustion. Her skill at balancing the tempting fixity of nouns and the reckless commotion of verbs is no less heart-rending than a principal ballerina's sustained pirouette; she leaves us spinning. It would seem that few poets move so beautifully between short pulsating thoughts and longer narrative ideas. In Traxler's hands we bloom, float, row, thaw, wake, pray, and burn. Somehow more held than holding. What a gift to rest in such a poet's practiced embrace."
--Joseph Braun, The Lune Literary Journal,



Praise for Patricia Traxler's Poetry:

“These poems strike a thrilling balance between personal disclosure and the rigors of writing.”
Publishers Weekly

“Gorgeous writing, and devastating... Patricia Traxler has done crucial work here: rigorous, faithful, tragic, hopeful, true.”
–Marie Howe, The Boston Review


Forbidden Words is an outstanding and enviable performance."
–Ted Kooser, The Laurel Review


Forbidden Words is an intelligent, careful work by a gifted and generous poet.”
–Karen Volkman, The Harvard Review

Selected Works

Poetry
"Traxler holds us in the devastating thrill of freefall, half-past naming and this close to combustion. Her skill at balancing the tempting fixity of nouns and the reckless commotion of verbs is no less heart-rending than a principal ballerina's sustained pirouette; she leaves us spinning..." --Joseph Braun, The Lune, March 2016 issue
“These poems strike a thrilling balance between personal disclosure and the rigors of writing.”
Publishers Weekly
"Brings to mind Walt Whitman at his best, for Traxler has written an absorbing, haunting, feminine 'Song of Myself,'" --Victor Contoski, Abraxas
"A fierce and passionate collection!" --Publishers Weekly
Novel
From the Toronto Sun: “Bloody good—a compelling and beautifully written novel." ...and from Margot Livesey, author of The Missing World and The House on Fortune Street: “With her stunning first novel, Blood, Patricia Traxler plunges the reader into a world both familiar and eerie. Seldom have the twin obsessions of love and art been more vividly or intelligently portrayed...More than almost any other novel I've read, Blood captures the relationship between an artist and her work, a relationship that is also susceptible to jealousy and revision and love...What an elegant, suspenseful debut.”
Selected Short Stories
Now available on Amazon's Kindle as singles, these award-winning short stories are from Traxler's collection in process, which looks with an ironic and darkly humorous eye at romantic love, fidelity and infidelity, the politics of sex, the single life and marriage, and the question of when, if ever, it all begins to make sense.
Author interviews
Traxler talks about dividing her writing life between poetry and fiction; about the challenges a writer faces when living in a region so far "outside the glittering current"; and about the literary influences and life experiences that have shaped her perspective as a woman and a writer.

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