Praise for Strong-Armed Angels:
David Sullivan is a poet of awakening, of learning how to read the signatures of
the invisible. If life is miraculous, and it is, then we are surrounded with its signatures.
But for many of us they are invisiblewe are too busy swimming in the quotidian to see them.
Sometimes it takes a poem to wake us to the miraculous, that they may be received.
David Sullivan is a master of that kind of poem. Over and over in Strong-Armed Angels he demonstrates
for us, Its not the world / we must shrink from, but our fear of it.
Joseph Stroud, author of Signatures,
Below Cold Mountain, and Country of Light
In these powerful, deeply-rooted, witness-bearing poems, David Sullivan writes
with equal fluency of grief and joy. Instructions for Grieving is a lament Thomas McGrath would
be proud of, while the long poem No Place Like anchors its domestic paradise in sharply-etched
images of natural beauty and political struggle. Strong-Armed Angels is a long-overdue debut
from a poet of earthly nourishment and transcendental hunger.
Campbell McGrath, author of Spring Comes to Chicago,
Road Atlas, and Pax Atomica
Sullivan writes poems of extraordinary tenderness about his son and his daughter,
but these poems are tempered by others that explore the grief for a lost child and a dead friend.
For Sullivan, the dead are a part of the natural order, and take their place among the precious
incidentals of the world: Each hoofprints smothered / my stillborn daughter. In This Close,
a long series of interconnected lyrics that investigate consciousness, identity, and the dreamy
realms of human affection, Sullivan recognizes the world for what it is: a holy place.
Gary Young, author of No Other Life and Pleasure
Clear, deeply felt poems that make a gesture of loveand love of lifefill
David Sullivans book of grief and joy, darkness and light. The poems tell us to haul out a
tub for stars to drown in, pinch the moon between thumb and forefinger, follow the
acrobat of glee, and mourn those who are lost and those who lose their way. Let us celebrate this welcome book.
Reginald Gibbons, author of Its Time,
Creatures of a Day and former Editor of TriQuarterly
David Allen Sullivan was born in Illinois, and grew up in Vermont, with one year spent in
Viennawhere his teacher, the novelist Jonathan Carroll, inspired him to write poetry (mostly bad
Whitman knock-offs). He received a B.A. from the University of Chicago, where he edited
The Chicago Literary Review, and went to graduate school at the University of California, Irvine.
His dissertation was on the ethics of address in the poems of Emily Dickinson and Killarney Clary.
He teaches English, Film, and Screenwriting at Cabrillo Community College, where he also edits the
Porter Gulch Review with his students. He lives in Santa Cruz, California, with Cherie Barkey, and
their two children, Jules and Amina Barivan.
Strong-Armed Angels by David Allen Sullivan. February 2008.
104 pages, paperback, $15, ISBN 978-0-9792567-3-8, 0-9792567-3-9