Susan Thomas

Susan Thomas has published stories, poems, and translations in many literary journals and anthologies. State of Blessed Gluttony (Red Hen 2004) was the winner of the 2002 Benjamin Saltman Prize for Poetry, in early 2004. Her chapbook, The Hand Waves Goodbye, was published by Main Street Rag in 2002. She is this year’s winner of the Iowa Poetry Award from the Iowa Review and the Ann Stanford Prize from University of Southern California. She lives in Marshfield, Vermont, and New York City.

All Books

Last Voyage

Richard Jackson, Deborah Brown, Susan Thomas

Publication Date: October 1, 2010

$22.95 Tradepaper

ISBN: 978-1-59709-487-0


This first appearance of Pascoli’s poems in English translation provides an introduction to his work for the English-speaking reader. The first section of the book includes some of Pascoli’s brief lyric poems, many of them displaying his innovative use of image narrative. We see scenes of country life in his village near Barga, Italy, in the Apuan Alps, at the end of the 19th century. We see the aurora borealis, chickens, donkeys, women hanging laundry, the new railway and men crushing wheat.

The second part of the book consists of three somewhat formal narrative poems set in classical Rome and Greece.

The book ends with a long narrative sequence, an exciting and poignant re-imagining of Odysseus’ famous tale told from the perspective of an old man. The aging hero falls asleep by the fire with Penelope and dreams a final voyage, in which he reassembles his old crew and visits the scenes of his earlier adventures: Circe, the Sirens, the Cyclops, Lotus Eaters and Calypso.

—As this is the first time Pascoli has been translated into English, Last Voyage will be of great importance to all those interested in Italian poetry and modern poetry, as well as students of classical literature.

—Pascoli’s influence on Pavese and Montale is well known by students of Italian literature. He continues to be considered an important Italian poet, but has never been available to English readers.

—The reimagined voyage of Odysseus that comprises the book’s third part will also be of great interest to those who read classic literature and those interested in the workings of a modern imagination on classical narratives and forms.

State of Blessed Gluttony

Susan Thomas

Publication Date: March 1, 2004

$12.95 Tradepaper

ISBN: 978-1-888996-81-4


“This is an impressive first book full of meaty poems and wry surprises. Even the so called literary poems—‘Circe,’ ‘To Anna Karenina,’ ‘Note’—are substantive and fresh. Thomas’s reach is broad and daring, from the shtetls of her forebears to the abuses of today’s petrochemical industry. Mourning the murdered Lithuanian Jews of the Holocaust and celebrating the cholesterol-rich menu of the River Run café intercut with local scandals are made to seem appropriate apposites in this lively collection.”—Maxine Kumin

“This delightful—and long overdue—collection of poems shows Susan Thomas at her delicious best: ‘So many ways / to eat chicken: / fricasseed and boiled / sautéed with herbs and shallots / roasted, stuffed with mushrooms . . .’ Hard not to make a culinary comparison about the range and variety of these poems—poems about history, family history, landscape, myth, fairy tale; the whole world is here to be savored and enjoyed. A state of blessed gluttony—that’s how I felt after reading this debut collection. Now I’m greedy for more.”—Jane Shore

“Perhaps it is, as she says, ‘necessity fueled by / the impossible,’ that makes State of Blessed Gluttony such a superb experience of a ravenous imagination. Here, after all, we find art, fairy tales, history, a murdered girl, King Kong, Penelope, mad plumbers, ghosts, even objects themselves in a dialogue that tells us they exist now, in the fabulous world created by Susan Thomas’s terrific vision. Which is to say that this is a book that redefines our own world, and so ourselves, enrichng us with its particulars, broadening us its vision, so that, like her, we find a way to ‘refuse to be a blur / on desire’s muffled horizion.’”—Richard Jackson