Mother Desert (Paperback)


By Jo Sarzotti

Graywolf Press, 9781555976156, 72pp.

Publication Date: June 5, 2012

List Price: 15.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Winner of the 2011 Bakeless Prize for Poetry, the debut collection by Jo Sarzotti
I have learned three things in the north:
The sea has a lung,
The dead do not eat grass, nor
Do they return.
--from "The Origin of Salt"

In these poems, Jo Sarzotti portrays a personal geography ranging from the desert of the title to the far north, from the mother to the father. In between are found ocean floor, mountain peak, jungle, beach, ancient and modern cities, as well as animal and human companions, including the famous or notorious. With emotional clarity and beauty, Sarzotti's debut is uncompromising in its craft and evocative in its imagistic power.

About the Author

Jo Sarzotti teaches literature at the Juilliard School. Her poetry has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Denver Quarterly, North American Review, and elsewhere. She lives in New York City.

Praise For Mother Desert: Poems

“I am changed by Sarzotti's poems, my sense of the world is changed--for that, I am grateful. Bewildered, also--'My map is in pieces.' How else can the journey of surprise begin? Mother Desert is an arresting debut.” —Carl Phillips, Bakeless Prize Judge

Mother Desert is a gathering of purely solid poems. Every line is steady--a unit of sense and clarification--and each word feels necessary. Reading them, I was steadied as well as surprised both at how good they are and how well they trade in crafted revelations.” —Billy Collins