On 16 April 2022, I’ll be reading from Dear Traveler and the updated edition of Sacred Sites: The Secret History of Southern California with the award-winning poet, Tom Laichas.
WHERE: The Book Jewel Bookshop, 6259 W. 87th St., Westchester CA 90045
WHEN: Saturday, April 16, 6PM
The bookstore will have books ready for signing and enjoying! There is ample easy parking. What a joy to read in person!
The poems in my new collection address a traveler navigating our ordinary world, now grown precarious. Dear Traveler wends its way through the cycles of a year and of a life-time from garden figs and squirrels to freeways, fires, war, and more. Perhaps you, too, are on the traveler’s path?
I’d love it if you could be there!
Praise for Dear Traveler
Susan Suntree powerfully adds her work to the travel poem traditions of her Classical Japanese predecessors, Saigyō and Basho. Dear Traveler is a Postmodern travel diary taking us on a journey through “a fevered civilization.” These poems shine with moments of quiet astonishment as they guide us into the interior of the self during these turbulent times. Her poems remind us “Your wild life is listening.”—Alan Soldofsky, author of In the Buddha Factory andDirector of the MFA Program in Creative Writing, San Jose State University
Dear Traveler is a gorgeous poem-cycle as well as a journey we all must make. —Marsha de la O, author of Every Ravening Thing
This book is a series of poems addressed to Traveler. Immediately one wonders, who is this Traveler? which is a mystery throughout Susan Suntree’s brilliant book, a lyrical tracking of dancing mind in the “oracular present.” “Time is opening its map” Susan tells us at the beginning of the book.
By addressing the Traveler, Suntree reveals our everyday experiences as the mystical inner journeys that they really are. The poems take us through the daily life of figs and squirrels, take us on journeys through the seasons, through fire, all the way through death and disintegration, letting the body go and then, desiring a return, to its reforming, “awakening love’s beloved body.” These are everyday journeys, celestial journeys:
journey of soul, journey of body, journey of mind
Who is the Traveler?
It is us — revealed in these dazzling, dancing poems. —Phoebe MacAdams, author of The Large Economy of the Beautiful
There is a silence at the heart of all things. It is part of the miracle of this world in all its wondrous detail and sometimes frightening potential as each of us travels the landscape of what the zen tradition refers to as the great matter of birth-and-death. The poems in Susan Suntree’s Dear Traveler are true and gifted companions of this journey; they emerge from the poet’s years of deep listening as she made her way on this traceless path, and leave their echo in the reader’s heart. But there is something more here for you to discover; in some mysterious way, Suntree’s poetry itself listens. It listens without ears, and speaks without a mouth. —Peter Levitt, author of One Hundred Butterflies, Within Within, translator (with Kazuaki Tanahashi) The Complete Cold Mountain: Poems of the Legendary Hermit Hanshan
These finely crafted poems map onto the Pacific Coast a quest for balance and self-possession. “This road is a welcome,” writes Suntree, and that’s a fact: whether humorous or bleakly prophetic, they draw us in with considerable clarity and force. These poems remind us that though the journey’s stakes are high and the risks great, every step takes us closer to “awakening love’s beloved body.” —Tom Laichas, author of Empire of Eden, XXXX, and 2022 winner of the Jabberwocky Press Poetry Award
Like the music of the tall grass and dry sticks that Susan Suntree writes about, these poems sing. Her writing here is spare, her economy of language admirable; there’s not an extraneous word or piece of punctuation anywhere. Each tiny poem floods dark corners with light. Tight as a coiled spring, these pieces test the limits of compression. Each is a jewel. —Jana Harris, author of Horses Never Lie About Love (memoir) and You Haven’t Asked About My Wedding or What I Wore (poetry)