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Poets of the Monterey Bay

cover Strong-Armed Angels

Poems by
David Allen Sullivan

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 invisible—we 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, ‘It’s 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 hoofprint’s 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 love—and love of life—fill David Sullivan’s 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 It’s 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 Vienna—where 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

Read five poems from Strong-Armed Angels


Copyright 2008