Sarah Ann Winn (Hybrid, Poetry) | Manassas, VA
Sarah Ann Winn’s first full length poetry collection, Alma Almanac (Barrow Street, 2017), was selected by Elaine Equi as winner of the Barrow Street Book Prize. She is the author of five chapbooks, the most recent of which is Exhibition Catalog Pamphlet to the Grimm Forest Open Air Museum (Yellow Flag, 2018). Her writing has appeared in Five Points, Kenyon Review Online, Massachusetts Review, Smartish Pace and Tupelo Quarterly, among others. In 2016, six of her poems won Radar Poetry’s Coniston Prize, judged by Gabrielle Calvocoressi. She has been the grateful recipient of residencies and fellowships, most recently from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Inner Loop’s Arcadia Residency at Woodlawn Plantation and Frank Lloyd Wright Pope Leihey House. She’s taught creative writing to students ages five through eighty-five in a variety of settings, from traditional classrooms to a Montgomery Mall pop-up workshop, sponsored by the Shakespeare Theater. She serves as reviews editor for Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and teaches writing workshops online and in person all over the country, and at Northern Virginia Community College.
- Exhibition Catalog Pamphlet to the Grimm Forest Open Air Museum (Yellow Flag Press, 2018). Poetry.
- Field Guide to Alma Avenue and Frew Drive (Essay Press, 2017). Poetry.
- Haunting the Last House on Holland Island, Fallen into the Bay (Porkbelly Press, 2016). Poetry.
- Portage (Sundress Publications, 2014). Poetry.
Blurbs, Press, & Reviews
“Alma Almanac is a stunningly original collection of poems about landscape, place, and memory. It is a lyrical scrapbook of skies, weather, stars, myths, recipes, rituals, and spells. From it, one can learn “How to Haunt,” how “To Preserve November,” and even find “Instructions for Assembling a Bento Box Memorial.” In addition to the more traditional poems, the book is “illustrated” with a series of short descriptions of objects, photos, and remembered sounds. These stark fragments, labeled and numbered like catalogue items, give a sense of the poet as curator, arranging, displaying, and creating her own museum of personal effects. Rather than narrating what they’re supposed to mean, I admire the restraint of simply letting these powerful details speak for themselves. I can guarantee this book is very pleasurable to read, as sensual as “the spectrum of apple colors” and as insistent as an audio cassette of a woman’s voice that “whispers the same five words again and again. Promise me you won’t forget.””
“Sarah Ann Winn knows ‘darkness dilates,/never swallows us whole’ and that the weight of memory is not its only force. Alma Almanac is a guidebook for the conditions of its dark dilations; its instructions are accompanied by notes, beatitudes, mix tapes, imaginary figures, and lost wonders. These poems offer orientation by reaching into our desires and our imaginations. These beautiful lyrics slow and expand time, their layered rhythms ‘unstung/by speed,’ and initiate us not into miracle fantasies but into the visionary possible.”
“In Sarah Ann Winn’s Alma Almanac, I am struck by the absolute radiance of these poems. They are at once a documentary and a reverie, with amazing knowledge of, and reverence for, the world they offer the reader. It is a rich world, what Guy Davenport calls ‘the geography of imagination,’ where each thing rhymes with another, where each burden’s echo is a blessing, a surprise, and a delight. Winn has found in the almanac a perfect form for the hybridity of her ambitious, intimate, and moving project.”
“Alma Almanac is a book you’ll want to share with everyone, reading out your favorite passages at breakfast and only barely suppressing the urge to point out images to strangers on the subway. Sarah Ann Winn’s sparkling and melancholy, tender and tough-minded, wistful and generous first full poetry collection is full to bursting with ode and elegy, music and objects-lakes, loons, nebulae, Easter baskets and x-rays, ghosts and government cheese, a moth mistaken for a mother and a mother for a moth, who ‘will not fly again once you touch her.’ That last item may remind you of Elizabeth Bishop’s enigmatic Man-Moth. Now and again, you may sense Bishop’s presence-that rich self- forgetful imagination-in Winn’s ‘awful but cheerful’ glimpses of immensity. But don’t get me wrong! Sarah Winn’s is a new exciting voice, unmistakably her own. I can’t wait to see what she’ll do next!”